Gender executive and chief officer say recovery centres are being put up in the subcounties to help victims
Likoni and Kisauni subcounties in Mombasa have been identified as hotspots of sexual and gender-based cases.
The county government has attributed the rise in such cases to insecurity, poverty, and unemployment. It says most of the culprits are idle and desperate youths.
The situation has been worsened by a lack of enough recovery centers, with the only one at the Coast General Hospital.
Gender executive Munywoki Kyalo said the county was planning to put up two recovery centres in Likoni and Kisauni. They could be launched as soon as June next year, Kyalo told a meeting of stakeholders on Thursday.
She said lack of structures for accommodating victims was hampering their recovery.
“We are putting up these structures to ensure that we are accessible and do it in a professional and a well-calculated way to ensure we give the best solution to these problems," Kyalo said.
The executive said the recovery centres will have safe spaces to ensure victims are confident in reporting such cases. She said protecting the confidentiality and recruiting accommodative health workers at the centers will make victims feel comfortable.
“As the county government, we will have safe spaces in the two subcounties to deal with issues to do with sexual exploitation," she said in reference to the centres to be put up in Likoni and Kisauni.
Cases of men being sexually exploited have also been noted, Kyalo said.
Chief officer Justina Mwikya said men were reporting violations and that is why the statistics have increased.
“Men are coming out and they are reporting when they are violated and it is a good sign,” Mwikya said.
She said tradition that placed a huge ego on the man had hindered reporting of such violations. They are now free and reporting the cases.
“Most of the time traditionally men are thought that you are a man and you have to be strong and you are not supposed to report any case of domestic violence,” she said.
Mwikya said many residents still shied away from reporting their cases, fearing that n action would be taken. She called for sensitisation.
The chief officer also cited cultural and religious practices among factors contributing to the increase in gender-based violence.
"Parents of children who fall victims tend to cover up for the perpetrators by solving the issues silently because the perpetrators are sometimes relatives," Mwikya said.
Muslims for Human Rights recorded 14 cases of sexual violence against women for the year ending in June.
Muhuri communications officer Ernest Oduor said the figures could be higher because most cases were often unreported.
"Many victims do not report for fear of victimisation," Oduor said.
edited by peter obuya