Ripples International's John Baidoo addresses journalists. PHOTO/MPC

By Lynette Kinoti

Defilement, teenage pregnancies and domestic violence are on the rise in Meru County amid enhanced campaign to contain the vices.

Speaking during a Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) reporting seminar in partnership with Meru Press Club, Ripples international legal officer John Baidoo said there was a need for concerted effort by all stakeholders to sensitize the community.

Ripples International has been on the frontline in pushing for law reform to avert discrimination based on gender and improve access to justice for victims of SGBV.

“We recently secured a judgement requiring the government to amend the succession act to stop discrimination of widows. We are also pursuing an amendment to the children’s act that limits a man from adopting children,” Mr Baidoo said.

The one day training also sought to address ethical and professional issues and enhance capacity in reporting sensitive matters especially on defilement and rape.

Mr Baidoo noted that more than 500 children have been sheltered at the institution this year due to various violations.

“We are concerned that most of the reports by the media are not accurate. The training is meant to fix the gaps by highlighting the law,” Mr Baidoo said.

He challenged the residents of Meru to speak out when there are cases of SGBV to save victims and ensure perpetrators are brought to book.

“Ripples International exists to support victims of SGBV. Those facing any form of abuse are empowered by the law to seek protection orders,” he said.

Among the laws aimed at addressing SGBV include protection against domestic violence act, children act, and the sexual offences act.

In a recent survey, Meru County was ranked among the leading counties in SGBV cases.

Media Council Upper Eastern Region coordinator Jackson Karanja appealed to journalists to stick to ethics when reporting cases of SGBV.

He said the media in Meru can help resolve the normalisation of abuse in the community.


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