If there was ever an ability that I found most powerful in all human beings, was the ability to speak. There is so much power in being able to speak. When it comes to Gender Based Violence, speech is power. It is where healing from any form of violence begins. But what of those who cannot speak for themselves? Those who cannot speak or write about all the injustice they encounter especially Gender Based Violence? Not because they wanted to be quiet about it but because of mental disability.
Kwamboka 14 years old was born 5th in a family of seven. Her parents were not well off and when her father died it became worse for them. As her siblings left for school, Kwamboka would be left with her mother at home because her mother wanted to keep a close eye on her.
When Kwamboka was born her parents knew that she would need a lot of care and so they ensured that she had their attention at all times. Once her father died her mother had to work casual jobs in order to make ends meet. Having seven children without a stable source of income was not easy for her. Nonetheless she continued to give Kwamboka her very best. Her siblings were also caring towards her and had no qualms watching over her, feeding and even bathing her.
When she turned 14, her body had developed like any other adolescent. Her siblings at the time had left home as some opted to get married due to lack of School fees among other problems. One morning Kwamboka’s mother noticed something was not right with her. She was awfully quiet and sad, not her usual self. Her mother took her to hospital and sadly Kwamboka was Pregnant. Her mother’s heart sank on getting the news. What she had all along feared came to be. Someone had defiled and impregnated her mentally disabled child.
When they got home, Kwamboka’s mother called her brother (Kwamboka’s uncle) who lived two houses away from their home. When he got home, Kwamboka’s reaction changed and even though she could not speak clearly she kept pointing at her uncle. For a moment Kwamboka’s mothered tried to ignore what her daughter was saying right in front of her face but she couldn’t. Her brother whom she had trusted had defiled her daughter and got her pregnant.
After confronting him, he admitted to having done that and claimed that he was possessed .He begged Kwamboka’s mother not to report him and paid sh.5000 to the mother. A family meeting was called and they all decided to let the case go and not ruin the family relationship. When the neighbor’s got wind of what happened they all decided to keep their noses clean and not interfere with family matters even though they all could see Kwamboka’s tummy growing.
It is unfortunate that this is the society we live in. An innocent child gets defiled and her own family on account of small pennies decide that the case can be thrown to the wind! Kwamboka is just among so many disabled children who have been abused and the family decides to through the case off because they have been paid or on account of family ties, friendships and so on. The community also decides to turn a blind eye thinking they are helping by staying out of people’s business.
Kwamboka was just an innocent girl with a condition that was not her fault. She was abused and her mother accepted to put her family relationship first, her neighbors decided to mind their own business. Everyone else was okay with this decision, everyone except Kwamboka. If she had the power to speak, maybe she would have wanted justice for that crime.
A child whether with disability or not is a child and deserves to be protected against sexual abuse. Children with disability are vulnerable and we cannot turn a blind eye when they are abused.
Let us all break the silence on Gender Violence against people living with disability.