NAIROBI, KENYA – Nine-year-old Nasimiyu* was waiting patiently in an empty classroom for her aunt to pick her up after school, just like any normal afternoon.
But, on this day, a man who worked at the school as a guard saw the little girl waiting alone. He sent her to collect something from a storage closet, then followed her inside, locked the door and raped her. After the attack, he disappeared from town.
“Nowhere Else To Turn”
Nasimiyu and her family were left devastated. They reported the rape to police, but, to them, it seemed impossible that her attacker would ever be caught. The police had few resources to pursue the case or find the guard. Without help, Nasimiyu’s case could sit unresolved for years—like thousands of other Kenyan girls before her.
For large populations of girls in the developing world, school is the most common place where sexual violence occurs.
– World Health Organization
Social workers at a local hospital heard that Nasimiyu's case wasn't moving, and they referred her family to IJM Kenya for help. IJM investigators worked relentlessly with the police over the next four months to track down the guard and find where he was hiding, in a town 140 miles away. When the team moved in for the arrest, the man tried to flee, but police caught him escaping through a back door. He was brought back to Nairobi and finally put on trial for the rape.
Seeing their daughter’s attacker held accountable was more than Nasimiyu’s parents had dreamed.
One IJM investigator says, “With nowhere else to turn, the parents had begun to lose hope that their daughter’s abuser would one day face the justice system. We felt our involvement to be so worthwhile in this particular arrest.”
Justice is Possible
For more than a year, IJM attorneys stood up for Nasimiyu in court and supported the state prosecutor in the case against her attacker. IJM social workers supported her family and made sure the little girl was offered all the support she needed to heal from the abuse. They also helped her prepare to share the truth about what happened in court.
On January 16, 2014, the judge found the man who assaulted Nasimiyu guilty and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.
Nasimiyu, now 11 years old, is studying safely at a boarding school with lots of support from her parents.