REPORT: Gender based violence rife in informal settlements

A new study has revealed shocking statistics on how women living within informal settlements in Nakuru County endure violence.

Their husbands or partners are the main perpetrators.

The report says, 26 out of every 100 women have somehow been victims of some form of violence which can be described  as sexual violence.

This means at least 26% of women living in slum areas in the county have experienced  sexual based violence.

According to the report on gender based violence in two informal settlements in the county, 96% of women living within informal settlements  have been exposed to at least one other potentially traumatic experience.

The study was carried out by Midrift Human Rights Network (a Nakuru based human rights  lobby) and the Danish Institute Against Torture (DIGNITY) with financing from DANIDA.

The report indicates that a majority of women were victims of violence orchestrated and/or meted to them by their husbands or male partners.

The study was conducted in Rodha and Karagita slums.

Of the women sampled in the study, 61.8% reported at least one type of violence from their husbands.

This included being slapped, pushed or forced into having sex.

The report says that 16.3% of women in the informal settlements have endured psychological abuse from their husbands including threats, insults and intimidation.

61.5% of gender based violence victims reported that the violence  affected their physical and mental health while 47.5% reported effects on their ability to do work at home or engage in income generating activities.

According to the Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics, 39-45% of women in Kenya experience at least one form of violence in their lifetime, with their partners being the most frequent perpetrators.

In Nairobi alone, 66.2% of women living in informal settlements have experienced abuse from their husbands or partners.

In Nakuru, of the women who suffer abuse from their husbands, 43.5% prefer seeking help from religious  leaders while 35.7% prefer visiting a hospital.

25.2% will prefer going to a community leader to seek help.

40% of women who have suffered  gender based violence  in Nakuru are unaware of help services available to gender based violence (GBV ) survivors.

“85.5% of women say that they would seek help from a mental health provider for an emotional problem if one was available,” reads part of the report.

The study says that 80.8% of the GBV victims who suffered mental disturbance preferred seeking help from religious leaders.

66.8% would seek help from a community health provider.

It adds that 88% who sought help from religious  leaders said it was helpful while 80.5% who consulted hospitals said it was helpful while.

75% said help from village elders was helpful.

Population based research in Kenya has indicated that 39 to 45% of women have experienced some form of violence.

The report showed that in Kenya intimate partners are most frequent GBV perpetrators.

Globally, reports indicate that at least 30% of women have been affected by GBV in one way or the other.

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Jackson Okata is a freelance journalist with experience in both broadcast, print and online journalism. His areas of interest are Climate Change, Environment, Agribusiness, Technology, and Gender Empowerment. His contact:


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