In the Face of Violence Against Women and Girls
On June 27th, we laid to rest Jackeline Makena, a form one student at Gachanka day secondary school, which is a Catholic sponsored school under Irinda Parish which we serve. Jackeline, an orphan, was raped repeatedly and killed on Wednesday the 19th of June 2019 on her way home from school, allegedly by three young men who have since been arrested and are currently in police custody pending investigations. Many thanks to the Head teacher who made efforts to ensure that the suspects are arrested.
On Tuesday, June 24th morning I received a phone call from the head teacher of Gachanka Day Secondary School requesting me to attend the school board of Management (BOM) meeting on behalf of Fr. Ian Daquin, OMI who is on home leave, a request I accepted. The agenda of the meeting was just one: how to raise money to cater for the funeral expenses because the family is poor and could not buy even a coffin. The Board decided that the school should cater for the funeral expenses of course with some additional contributions from individual board members, teachers, students and the Church. After the meeting we set on a 9 kilometer journey with a few teachers and some students to visit the family of the deceased and to give our contribution.
I was moved to tears looking at the family situation, the terrain on which Jaki walked 18 kilometres to and from school five days a week in search for education to better her life in future but her dream was brutally cut short.
Rape cases are on the rise in the area at the moment with a few arrests being made, which do not bear any fruit for lack of evidence mostly not because there is no evidence as such but because the society tolerates the culprits for fear of perceived danger. Those who have attempted to speak against violence on women and girls have been intimidated previously and have resorted to silence for fear of going against the society.
It is shocking that no one has the courage to speak up against increased violence in the society especially against women and children, and particularly those from poor backgrounds. There are many people who would like to speak against this injustice but they do not have the courage to do so; but if someone gives the lead they will follow. It is our Christian responsibility to stand for our weak brothers and sisters in fighting for justice for all. Fr. Daquin, OMI spoke strongly on matters social justice at Mass on Sunday.
By Phelix Johya, OMI