Sexual Gender Based Violence in Kenya
Gender based violence (GBV) is any harmful act, whether it is sexual, psychological or physical, that is perpetrated against a person, and is based on differences between males and females. It is a key risk factor for HIV/AIDS and a driving force of the HIV epidemic, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Women who have experienced GBV are up to three times more likely to be infected with HIV than those who have not. HIV-positive Kenyan women are twice as likely to experience gender violence as their HIV-negative counterparts.
Gender based violence is rooted in unequal power relations in society. Women are more vulnerable to infection and forced sex further increasing the risk of HIV transmission to women due to tears and lacerations, especially in adolescent girls. Addressing the vice in the fight against HIV/AIDS is particularly difficult as most intervention strategies focus on the more traditional ways of containing the epidemic, such as condom use, antiretroviral drugs, and treatment for STIs.
What we do
LVCT Health carries out research to inform government policies as well as supporting the provision of post-rape care services for survivors in government hospitals across the country. These services include clinical evaluation and documentation, treatment to prevent HIV, pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections as well as preservation of evidence so successful prosecutions of sexual offenders can occur.
LVCT Health has established survivor support groups which provide peer counseling and support for victims. It has also supported the Ministry of health in developing several policy documents including national guidelines on management of sexual violence in Kenya, training curriculum for health care providers on management of sexual violence; and Health Sector Standard operating procedures.
LVCT health has also supported National Gender and Equality Commission to strengthen multi-sectorial response to GBV through provision of technical assistance to form a multi-sectorial technical working group and GBV Monitoring and evaluation framework; supported sexual offence Act task force in the development and advocacy for adoption of SOA Medical Treatment Regulations 2012; Development and hosting a GBV/HIV knowledge hub which disseminates pertinent information on GBV and HIV linkages across the health, legal, justice and security sectors.
LVCT Health has collaborated with five county governments in Kenya (Kitui, Kisumu, Machakos, Nyeri and Nakuru) to strengthen their response to GBV. Some of the key highlights from this engagement include: support to the county governments to form active multi-sectorial GBV Committees; support to Kisumu County to develop and launch a Gender/GBV strategic plan that is now the reference document for the county GBV/PRC work planning and budgetary allocation; and support to Machakos and Nakuru counties to develop GBV county profiles.