Isla*, an 11-year-old rape survivor from Kenya, spoke to us about her experience of sexual violence.
“I was only eight-years-old when my neighbor attacked me. He was 45 when it happened and I had always been very scared of him. It was 1pm, I had just got home from school and was sitting at the entrance of my home. He grabbed me and dragged me into the bush.
I was bleeding and in pain so I remained where I had been attacked and was crying. My brother found me and brought me home, and then my grandmother took me to hospital. The perpetrator said that if I told anyone he would kill me. I was very scared that the man would come back and kill me because I told my grandmother what had happened.
Sometimes I feel bad, especially when I walk near the bush or when I hear something that reminds me of what happened. I am afraid of men. I am scared that they will do the same thing that man did to me. Sometimes I still feel angry and I imagine beating him.
I have not been able to talk to my friends about it but I am able to share when I come to REEP [Rural Education and Economic Enhancement Programme]. Coming here has helped me to stop being so afraid. They have helped me feel that I have people who love me, and not everyone is an enemy.
Apart from the psychological support, I was given a children’s lawyer who assisted us through the trial. The perpetrator was jailed for life. I was happy when he was sent to prison but whenever I am reminded of the story, it brings tears to my eyes. They hurt young children. We must punish bad people who violate the law.”
*Name has been changed.