Human Rights watch accuse police of sexual violence during 2017 poll

Police officers during post-2017 poll protests. KNHCR says that police committed most of the sexual crimes during the 2017 general elections. /FILE


Police committed most of the sexual violence during the 2017 general elections according to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

Out of the 201 sexual violence cases reported in nine counties, 54 per cent were committed by police while another 45 per cent by civilians.

Gang rape accounted for about 52 per cent of reported sexual violence.

The Silhouettes of brutality 2018 report based on interviews with victims shows that women were the most affected at 96.6 per cent and 3.4 per cent men.

According to KNCHR chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori, fear of shame, repercussion or ignorance has led to under-reporting of sexual violence during the election period.

The most undocumented cases are those perpetrated against men as men hardly share their stories, according to Mbogori.

“The scale of sexual violence occurring during the general elections, is a pointer that we are yet to get to a civilized state where election are conducted peacefully,” said Mbogori

The report also noted that a majority of survivors were from the informal settlement.

Counties the report explored include Nairobi, Kisumu, Vihiga, Bungoma, Migori, Kakamega, Homa Bay, Machakos, Nandi, and Siaya.

Nairobi leads in the number of violence recorded with 90 cases brought forward followed by Kisumu with 40 cases.

The oldest victim in the documentation is a 70-year-old woman and 68-year-old man while the youngest affected documentation was at 7 years old.

“Sexual violence is a foggy matter with few people acknowledging it happens. It was there in 2007/8 post-election violence and there was a repeat in 2017,” she said.

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