Abuse comes in many different forms. Emotional, domestic, sexual and more. Cases of sexual violence have increased tremendously since Kenya recorded the first case of coronavirus and started enforcing measures such as the closure of schools to curb the spread of the virus.
According to reports by the Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC), the Director of Public Prosecution and the National Council on Administration of Justice (NCAJ), sexual offenses have overtaken other crimes as the country restricts movement.
Data showing the cases the Director of Public Prosecutions has registered in court indicate the sexual offences are disproportionately high. This suggests that there is a correlation between measures instituted by the government to curb coronavirus and the spike in sexual abuse.
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Sexual offences such as defilement and rape make up 41% of the cases recorded in court since March 16. Out of the 265 cases registered for prosecution during the last two weeks, sexual offences were 95. There have been 37 robberies and 19 murders in the same period.
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Majority of the sexual abuse cases were reported in Nairobi (13), Mombasa (11), and Uasin Gishu County (10). In March, there were 115 cases that were reported to the gender-based violence (GBV) hotline, 1195. This is compared to the 86 that were reported in February, representing an increase of 33.7%.
Comparatively, 106 women and girls reported being either physically or sexually violated while nine men and boys reported the same. Nairobi reported the highest cases of GBV. Closure of schools and the curfew has forced millions of children to stay indoors making them vulnerable to abuse.
Idleness Fueling GBV and Abuse
Furthermore, a Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC) document on the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on crime attributes the increased sexual crimes to people having too much time on their hands and children being out of school.
The GI-TOC document published last month indicates that many people who are stuck in their homes are spending a lot of time on the internet. Specifically, people are spending time on pornographic websites and thereafter try to fulfill their sexual fantasies.
“Child sexual exploitation content is being shared more. Some of the recipients of the material may want to actualize what they see and children being vulnerable easily become victims,” the policy document reads.
With restricted movement, sexual predators now prey on the people close to them. Some who depended on commercial sex workers are also cut off by the imposed curfew and social distancing practices.