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Kenya pledges action on domestic violence

10 August 2016, 16:38

Nairobi (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government will strengthen partnership with community and faith leaders to revitalize the war against domestic violence that has escalated lately, officials said on Tuesday.

Cabinet Secretary for gender affairs and youth, Sicily Kariuki, said in a commentary published by a local daily that individuals who used violence against their spouses or offspring will be punished severely.

"There is an abhorrent rise in cases of gender based violence in Kenya and we are committed to bringing this heinous behavior to an end. We are dealing with a silent epidemic that has potential to tear this country asunder," Kariuki remarked.

Her remarks came in the wake of rising cases of gender based violence that have shocked communities and national leaders.

Early this month, a 27-year-old woman whose hands were chopped off by her enraged husband for failure to give birth to a child dominated headlines in the local dailies.

Kariuki condemned violence against women, terming it a retrogressive practice that would derail Kenya's social renewal, national cohesion and integration.

"There are horrific injuries being inflicted in this violence on men and women. Occasionally, this violence results in murder," said Kariuki, adding that law enforcement agencies and the courts have been instructed to apprehend and punish perpetrators of domestic violence severely.

Kenya is among Sub-Saharan African countries that are grappling with a pervasive culture of domestic violence despite strides in modernity.

The Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) of 2014 revealed that 40 percent of women aged 15-49 years had experienced either physical or sexual violence in the hands of a spouse.

Kariuki regretted that gender based violence undermines health, dignity and autonomy of the victims hence the need to employ legal, cultural and policy tools to root it out completely.

"Victims of violence often suffer sexual and reproductive health consequences like unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and traumatic fistula. We must create a supportive environment to hasten their recovery," Kariuki said.

She added that strategic collaboration among policymakers, community leaders and campaigners is key to hasten successful implementation of programs that seeks to eliminate gender based violence.

"We are unequivocal about the need to focus more on the root causes of gender based violence," said Kariuki, adding that the government has invested in rescue centers to offer psychosocial support to victims of domestic violence.

- Xinhua


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