When she was asked to live with her uncle while studying, Gladwell Wanjiru Wachira believed that life had taken a better turn since things were tough at home, but unfortunately that was never the case.
Speaking to K24 Digital, Wanjiru said that life back at her parents’ home was tough and all she wanted was to get the basic needs which include; food, shelter and clothing.
“I never wanted anything else as long as I got the basic needs, above all my uncle used to pay for my school fees and this to me was a real big favor,” she said.
A teary Wanjiru told this reporter that her uncle started sexually harassing her at the age of 16 years but she was afraid of sharing the information with anyone.
She feared she would loose sponsorship since the said uncle was paying her school fees.
“He started doing this when I joined Highschool, at the time I was 16-years-old. I could wake up at 9am and find myself in a mess every day and he never spoke about it ever,” she said.
According to her, the uncle used to use sedatives on her which made her get late for school every time they slept together.
The unusual way of getting late according to her put the minor in wrong books with her teachers but that did not stop her guardian from exploiting her.
“I really wanted the education and this saw me always keep silent and hope that one day things will be better once am through with school. I did not know I had given him a lot of time to exploit and take advantage of me,” she said.
After some time however, she decided to report the matter to her parents who quickly dismissed her asking her to focus on her studies.
This prompted her to share the ordeal with a woman who was working in their school.
They both hatched a deal that she should report the matter to her if the uncle abuse her again.
It was not long until the uncle forced himself into her again, and the woman took Wanjiru to hospital to ssource evidence that indeed she had been defiled.
With enough evidence, she gathered the courage and went back to her parents but unfortunately, they still dismissed her.
This saw her change to a bitter person who always clashed with anyone who tried to cross her path.
Wanjiru said that after High school, she joined a medical course and completely cut communications with her uncle.
Luckily, after clearing her college she landed a job in Migori county with a mission to save more girls from what she went through.
While working as a Lab Technician, Wanjiru met several girls whose stories were almost similar to hers.
They all shared how they were being defiled by relatives, strangers and even parents. It is on this effect that she started a Rescue Centre which is based in Migori County.
“I only started with 12 girls but as we talk the home has over 100 of them. The centre has been of great help to ladies who are being exploited as we do accommodate them and ensure that they follow their dreams,” she said.
The move attracted more women who have gone through the same and they joined hands heloing her build a better and bigger rescue centre.
A Human Rights Watch report released in September revealed that most victims of Gender Based Violence do not have a place to hide or go.
In a report dubbed “I had nowhere to go’: Violence against women and girls during the Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya”- documented how the Kenyan government does not fight for such victims.
It stated that the Kenyan government is unable to prevent gender-based violence and provide assistance to survivors under its Covid-19 response measures which facilitated an increase in sexual violence against women and girls.