Ever since the “Surviving R Kelly” documentary was released by Lifetime, there has been a growing outrage across the globe, Kenya included. R Kelly is a marked man, and to some, dead.
Around the same time, in Homabay county, a thirteen year old girl is gang raped and her genitals mutilated using a sharp razor blade. She is admitted at a local hospital for five days before being transferred to a Nairobi hospital where a reconstructive surgery is done.
“The girl was brought to the hospital when her clitoris was cut and this caused profuse bleeding. To avoid the rapture of the birth canal in future, the minor must undergo a medical procedure that will repair the damaged genital.” the medic added.
Media reports say the police have arrested eight suspects connected to the heinous crime. A group of female Members of Parliament have also visited the teenager, taking the chance to talk tough on sexual and gender based violence and the consequences of the crimes.
While we are condemning R Kelly and his enablers, jumping in on the #SurvivingRKelly hashtag to warn him against his impending trip to Africa, a girl at home is fighting to survive. No hashtags have been created. No outrage has been registered on the county, let alone the national scale. Yet, our own predators are shedding blood, literally, with every step they take. There is so much going on. She is just one girl.
Where does the healing begin for her?
Will she ever forget how it felt to be pinned down by these criminals, while one dangled his erect manhood on her face before thrusting the hardened rod into her with unnecessary urgency?
Who is to say if her private parts will ever heal? Ever? Will the memory of the rape ordeal come flooding back every time she needs to use the bathroom? Or everytime she showers? Or when she accidentally sees herself in the mirror? What about when she finally, willingly, has sex for the first time? This physical pain, when will it stop?
These beasts of men blindfolded her. With her sight taken, all her other senses became more alert. They say she passed out during the act, but I think her brain registered every touch, and stored it. Touch. Is that a sense she never wants to experience from anyone, ever? Does it scare her when doctors and nurses do their examinations? Warm, cold, hard, soft hands, do they all take her back to that fateful day?
Will she ever learn to speak up again, seeing as to how no one came to her aid when she screamed her lungs out? Her cries didn’t stop the men. They probably registered them as pleasure moans. Continue. She likes it.
The voices. Does it startle her everytime she hears a bass, a baritone? What is that chill she feels flowing down her spine?
What is she thinking, right this moment, lying on her back on that hospital bed? Does life even make sense? Is it worth living? Where do I go when I am discharged? Why me? Is it the dress I was wearing? Is my walking style too sexual? Why didn’t I run? What will people say? Am I damaged goods now? Men?!? Where is God? Where was God?
Does the weeping ever stop? Do the laxatives cease the nightmares she is likely to encounter in that dark pit of nothingness meant for rest?
Oh, my heart.
Can one even begin to imagine her pain? Where does the healing begin? The mind, body and spirit are probably things she doesn’t have control over. She is suspended somewhere dark, alone.
“She does not want to look anyone on the face,” said one of the nurses.
Will justice ever be her shield and defender? What does she need them for after this ordeal anyway? Can anyone do any worse?
As a society, we are infamous for our selective amnesia. A “we will revisit” attitude. Yet, we never do. The case files are dropped in the storage to gather dust. Once or twice, we blow off the dust, cough, remember and sigh. Then we say “bora uhai.” Of importance is life.
Are we all helpless? Have the vices and crimes committed by our own brothers become oh so overwhelming? Why are we so protective of them? Is it every man for himself now?
I don’t know if we see this as a failure, somehow, on our part, but I do know that we need to do better. Now.
Back in 2016, a report launched by the United Nations and the Kenyan government indicated that nearly one in three Kenyan girls experience sexual violence before the age of 18. According to the findings of this first nationwide household survey, three quarters of Kenyan children are said to experience physical, sexual or emotional violence. More than 3,000 young people aged 13 to 24 were interviewed.
One can only imagine, dreadfully, how high the stats have since risen.
We – you, need to join the 0.0000001% of the populace who are actually doing something to ensure that, girls – children, are not growing up damaged; that is if they live long enough in a society that has since stopped desiring to see them thrive.