• She said one suspect was freed in unclear circumstances and claimed police demanded a bribe to arrest the two permanently.
• She doggedly pursues justice though she says she is stigmatised in her home village near Kisumu.
Congratulations to Elizabeth Achieng, a single mother in Nairobi, who survived and reported a gang rape and imprisonment by two men in Vihiga county. (Star, November 16, page 22 ‘Cops accused of colluding with suspects.’
That was 11 months ago.
Achieng also asserted that one suspect was freed in unclear circumstances and claimed police demanded a bribe to arrest the two permanently. Police now say three men have been arrested and one is at large.
She reported to the National Police Services Internal Affairs Unit, which ordered local police to investigate the case, including alleged demands for bribes by one of their own. Let’s see what happens.
Many rape cases get shelved, brushed under the carpet. If Elizabeth hadn’t been so determined and undeterred, would there have been any arrests? Given this misogynist blame-the-victim mindset by both men and women, all right-thinking people should honour Elizabeth for stepping forward and saying, ”Use my name.”
Most women would not be so brave. Let’s hope more survivors — they are not victims — will become braver and emulate Elizabeth, who doggedly pursues justice though she says she is stigmatised in her home village near Kisumu. Rape thrives in a culture of shame and fear, which must be overturned.
Though it’s difficult to say, ”Yes, I was raped,” women should know they are not ‘victims’. The more women who step forward, the better, the less likely it will be for beasts to prey on them and for police to ignore their cases, or worse. You’re a hero, Elizabeth Achieng.
To thousands of men and women suffering silently after being sexually assaulted in fear of being stigmatised by society. You have set an example. Thank you.