By Treezer Michelle Atieno
The Gender-Based Violence Rescue Centre in Ndengelwa, Bungoma County, is making significant strides in ending the vice in the county.
“I felt a stronger connection to justice after meeting officials from the Gender-Based Violence Rescue Centre in Ndengelwa,” shares Roselyn Nanjala*, a survivor of an attempted rape incident in Bungoma County’s Namwela village.
Nanjala, who is 14 years old, recounts how she was sent to collect a debt on April 3rd, 2023, but was assaulted by a man who locked the door behind her. “A fellow villager who recognized me saw him close the door and raised the alarm, leading other villagers to come to my aid” she adds.
Upon receiving a call about the incident in Namwela village, Mary Nasimiyu, coordinator at the Gender-Based Violence Rescue Centre, recounts, “I swiftly headed to the scene with two police officers in our rescue vehicle. I also contacted the local assistant chief to ensure the victim’s safety and prevent the perpetrator’s escape.”
Nasimiyu further explains that the victim received appropriate medical care, including emergency contraception and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), given the nature of the near assault. The medical evidence gathered was sufficient to initiate legal proceedings, with the initial court hearing on May 8th, 2023.
Nasimiyu highlights that the Gender-Based Violence Rescue Centre has been operational for over five years, responding to gender-based emergencies and meeting victims’ medical needs. “We address cases of family conflicts, rape, female genital mutilation, and teenage pregnancies from all nine sub-counties in Bungoma County. We handle 35 to 112 cases annually, with Mount Elgon region having the highest incidences,” Nasimiyu explains.
The establishment of the safe house within the centre- despite the equipping of the safe houses still ongoing- in October 2021, funded by the National Government Affirmative Action Funds (NGAAF), was a great step to further enhance victim protection and support services. Nasimiyu envisions having counsellors available at the centre for victims.
She elaborates that the Bungoma Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Centre currently has three field officers: Chikwi Khaoya, Joseph Ochuma, and herself. They respond to reported GBV cases, accompany the police to crime scenes, and follow up on reported cases to ensure justice is achieved and victims can move forward.