Sunday, April 29, 2007

A mother's agony when rapists strike

“Why is my stomach aching, I am feeling so bad, why mum, why?” Jane asked as she alighted off the vehicle.

Jane is eight; she was raped at the Ngomongo village in Kiambu. On this day, she was being taken back to Kiambu district hospital for further check up.

The mother could not explain to the girl why she was in so much pain. The girl can note even tell whether the pain is in her stomach or in her private parts, it’s too much for her and she looks dazed.

To add to all the trouble, Jane is mentally challenged, after an attack of pneumonia when she was five. According to the mother, her life changed then.

Most of you may not know Ngomongo slums but its somewhere between Kiambu and Zimmerman, beyond Starehe girls centre. That place has quarries, hence the name Ngomongo.

Jane was home that day; she can not fit in normal schools because she is violent and can not concentrate. The mother had ran out of options.

Ran out of options because she has other kids to feed and is a casual laborer, she claimed that Jane had just been kicked out of school the previous week, and had been left home alone.

So, this guy came and asked who was home and Jane responded she was alone. He convinced her to go the maize plantation and the rest is history.

Incidentally it was the mother who heard the screams; she had just rushed back home to check on her. The man was caught in the act, roughed up and taken to Kiambu police station.

When I enquired much about it, she said the man was released and back in the village. She was not very familiar with the legal regime. All that she knew was that she and her daughter were tormented.

The way I met this girl was so funny because I was to meet my friend Jo at KIST, she was coming from her house near Starehe girls, she was taking so long, anyway, she is the kind who says she is around the corner, when she is not even showered, let alone start the car.

So when I started ranting and threatening to take off she said,

“Hold on, am picking up a sick girl,” I thought she was lying but I knew she can’t lie about something like that.

When I saw the girl, I insisted that all my plans could wait for the girl to get to hospital. Because she could not walk, the mother depended on lifts. On this case, she did not know how to get back home.

As Jane alighted, she was now crying aloud, and from the corner of my eye I could see Jo fighting back tears. The mother seemed to have resigned to fate.

Incidentally, Jo is a lawyer and we never thought of referring her to FIDA. But was it because she said she had explored all options? Is it because FIDA is now too elitist?

The story was moving because it would have been my daughter, sister, cousin and it could be me.