Who is repeatedly defiling girls and women in Nyakach? Victims cry
When Harriet Achieng, 17, (not her real name) went out for a short call at their home in Koloo village in Nyakach Sub-county, she did not anticipate the horror that awaited her in the darkness.
She had accompanied two of her younger sisters; 14 and 16 respectively, out of their late grandmother’s house. Without a torch, the girls found a little comfort in the light from stars that flickered.
And as they attempted to go back to the house, a huge figure appeared from the darkness with a long knife in his hands. It was a man. He grabbed the two girls and dragged them into the house.
The man threatened to kill them and placed the knife on her neck as he defiled her repeatedly before turning his attention to her sister whom she watched helplessly as the attacker unleashed horror on them.
This came as the young girls became the latest victim of a spate of defilement and rape cases that has now brought a wave of fear to residents and left authorities baffled.
They claim one man is the one behind a series of rape incidents that have taken place since the year began with more than six cases reported to authorities.
When People Daily found the two girls who are among the latest victims, they were still struggling with emotional and psychological pain from the incident which took place on February 1.
Achieng painfully narrated how they endured several hours of torture at the hands of their attacker.
Her youngest sisters, she said, were frightened to death and could not even utter a single word for several hours after the man had left.
"We were frightened and decided to cover ourselves with blankets when the man grabbed us and showed us the knife again, “she says.
With tears in her eyes, Achieng added that the perpetrator forcefully removed her skirt and started to defile her repeatedly for more than one hour.
At around 3:30 am, he left and directed the minors to go back to sleep and threatened them not to raise any alarm, claiming that he was still hanging around their house.
Ten minutes later, they silently woke up to check if he was still around but did not see him when they raised an alarm and his father together with the neighbours came to check what had happened.
According to her father, Peter Oduor (not his real name) a casual labourer at Rae Girls, after her daughters raised the alarm and they responded, he took them to Katito Sub-county hospital immediately but unfortunately, the doctors were on strike at that time.
"We later realized that the perpetrator locked my son's house from outside so that he could not assist his sisters, “he said.
Because it was still dawn, they had to wait until morning to report the matter to police.
At the station, he says the officer he found on duty told them to go to a public hospital which he was forced to do and was promised that the perpetrator would be arrested being that her daughters recorded that they mastered his face.
Days turned into weeks and weeks to month with the perpetrator still walking freely.
Oduor says one day, one of her daughters saw the perpetrator near their home and they reported it to the station but justice has never been accorded to them.
But they are not alone, about a month later, the suspect stroke again, this time targeting a mother in a separate village, within Nyakach Sub-county just a few meters away from the home of the girls.
The widow says that at around midnight, an unknown man broke into her house through the window and immediately went to her bedroom carrying a knife.
She says she was in her pajama shorts when the man instructed her to remove them but when she refused, he slapped her and forcefully removed them and raped her for about twenty minutes.
She says that when her 8-year-old son and her 17-year-old sister heard the commotion and decided to check what was happening he slapped them and instructed them to go back to sleep.
"He then took my phone and asked me to remove my password and threatened me that he had come to kill us, “she said.
She added that the man again forcefully undressed her sister and defiled her repeatedly for about 30 minutes while she was crying.
The woman told us that after he was done, he told them to give him money stating that he had now cleared her job and needs to be paid.
When the pain became unbearable, she says her sister decided to give the man ksh3000 which she was given for her school fees the previous night.
After taking the money, she says the man left and directed them not to raise any alarm and sleep till morning.
Ten minutes later, the perpetrator whom they thought had gone came back and told them they were lucky to be alive and cautioned them against raising any alarm.
"We tried to sleep but we couldn't, at around 4am I gathered the courage to lock the door then started screaming for help from our neighbours who responded to our distress call, “she says.
Later, they rushed to a nearby health facility but could not get any treatment until morning when they moved to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) to seek treatment where they were assisted and later in the day reported the incident to the police station.
"We have been going to JOOTRH since March and it has been very expensive for me being a widow. I always feel depressed whenever I see police officers because they did not assist me and I have never gotten any justice, “she says.
In the same Agoro village, a mother is seeking for justice for her form two daughter who was also raped on March 20, by a man whose description fits the man the other victims claim assaulted them.
She told People Daily that the perpetrator who was armed with a knife broke into the house where the form two girl was sleeping and defiled her repeatedly, and that justice has never been accorded to them.
Agoro West Location area chief Elizabeth Atieno, admits that there has been an increase of gender-based violence in the area since late last year.
As a local administrator, she says she is concerned with rape and increasing defilement cases that have been happening within her locality.
"From late last year we have had several cases of rape and defilements which are mostly done at night with the survivors giving an almost description of the perpetrator," she says.
"I am happy that about 98% of the cases in the area have been reported and I think it is the National Police Service and the judiciary which are letting the people down. When an action is not taken, I also feel bad as a mother, “she said.
On his part, Director Inuka Success Organization Victone Onyango, all GBV cases are documented and follow-ups are made on the unreported ones.
In partnership with Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET), Onyango says they make sure the survivors are able to get psychosocial support and guidance and counseling.
According to Patricia Nudi, who works for KMET as the advocacy policy lead, she says they are currently implementing a project on Gender Justice that focuses on gender justice for girls and women within Nyakach and its environs in collaboration with Equality Now.