•SN, 40, is accused of defiling his 11-year-old stepdaughter. He says he just gave her pocket money. She says he threatened her with a knife.
• The daughter revealed the assault to escape beating for having money she couldn't account for.
If she had not flogged her daughter over unaccounted for money, she would not have known the 11-year-old was being defiled by her stepfather in Umoja, Nairobi.
He had given her hush money. Sometimes he threatened her with a knife he placed beside them.
Though the girl was innocent of theft, her mother, Mercy, (not her real name) doesn't regret punishing her because that made her tell the truth.
Mercy said her daughter Alice (not her real name) had been repeatedly defiled by her stepfather, identified by his initials SN, 40, while she was nursing a two-month old baby.
The woman said the abuse had been going on for a while before Alice was pushed to confess to save herself from being punished for theft she didn't commit.
Mercy told the Star she found Sh200 in her daughter’s school bag and assumed she had taken it from her without permission. It was the second time that she had found the girl with money.
“I was so angry because I thought that she was stealing from me. Since I had warned her when I first found her with money, I decided to use a rod this time,” Mercy said.
As the strokes got more painful, Alice begged her mother to stop and said she'd reveal the source of the funds.
“She told me my husband had been giving her money," Mercy said.
The father who was present admitted giving the girl money but said there was nothing wrong with a little pocket cash.
Mercy asked why he had then watched her punish the girl for stealing if indeed he had been giving her money but he accused her of being quarrelsome.
Mercy said Alice interjected and told her she had not said everything but the step-father started making threats, claiming that the girl talks too much.
“Alice said directly my husband has been taking her from her bed every night to a couch where he would sexually abuse her,” Mercy recounted.
She said SN would threaten Alice with a knife that he placed on a table next to the couch.
After defiling her, he ordered also to take a shower and help with house chores.
He sometimes gave her money to keep her from talking, her mother said.
“I had a very complicated pregnancy and I was in and out of the hospital. It was then that SN offered to sleep on the couch to allow me some comfort,” Mercy narrated.
He would lock the living room door, she reminded him not to but he feigned forgetfulness.
Mercy added, " We started screaming for help after Alice revealed the secret, but SN got violent and held my neck and mouth so tightly."
Mercy said SN then started to beat Alice who had tried to help her mother.
"I decided to call for a false truce after realising the man could harm us. He had locked all the doors and kept the keys in his pockets,” she said.
Mercy said she told him the matter was small and they would resolve it internally. She begged him to allow Alice proceed to the shop with her younger sister so they could talk privately.
“I escaped together with the children and we all started screaming to alert the neighbours," she said.
Mercy said her husband jumped through a window and fled through the back door.
Alice, a Standard 7 pupil, had been in boarding school before she was transferred to a day school in the neighbourhood. Mercy said SN had convinced her to transfer the child, citing risk of Covid-19 in boarding schools.
Mercy reported the incident at Buru buru police station after taking Alice to the hospital for medical exam.
Police are yet to arrest the suspect who is still on the run.
(Edited by V. Graham)