Kenya

A survivor's tale of hope, determination after gang-rape

A survivor's tale of hope, determination after gang-rape
  • The 25-year-old was robbed and gang-raped by six unidentified men who then left her for dead.
  • She found out she was pregnant months after her ordeal, and that she had also contracted an infection.

As we wade through the meandering in-roads of Kibra slums in Nairobi, almost a quarter of which is occupied by merchandise for sale by hawkers or boda boda operators, the status quo denotes glaring social inequalities.

At Laini Saba, tucked in the heart of the slum, the stench from the waste dumped in the open drainages is suffocating.

There, I meet Mercy (not her real name), a gang-rape survivor receiving treatment at Family Health Options Kenya Centre located in Mashimoni.

The 25-year-old school drop-out relies on menial jobs to eke out a living.

LIFE-THREATENING

As we settle down for the interview, Mercy opens up about the life-threatening experience she underwent in August.

“I had just buried my father in Siaya and was to return to Mashimoni. I left for Nairobi in the afternoon and arrived some minutes to 3am.

"Town is usually abuzz with activities so I did not get scared. I boarded a bus to Kibra and alighted at the Mbagathi stage. What I did not know was that behind some grocery stalls on the dark path I took home, six men waited to pounce on and rob passers-by.

"They snatched my bag and covered my mouth before one of them carried me on his shoulders into a nearby makeshift stall. All the six raped me. I was left for dead. After what seemed like a life time, a boda boda rider came to my rescue.”

MEDICARE

"For the next two weeks, I stayed indoors surviving only on porridge. I cried day and night and did not know who to turn to. I never thought of reporting the incident to police.

"Worse still, I could not afford a medical check-up and was afraid that my peers would know of my state if I borrowed money from them.

"In October, I discovered I was pregnant. I decided to carry the baby to term because it has not committed any crime.

"My only problem now is how to get money for treatment because I contracted an infection from the ordeal."

Mercy says she decided to share her story to encourage rape survivors by showing them that no matter how bad the situation is, all is never lost.