NAIROBI, KENYA – Yesterday, justice was delivered in a crowded court in Nairobi. A man who betrayed a position of trust to sexually abuse a 14-year-old girl was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison – a strong message that sexual violence against children will not be tolerated and little girls like Magdalena* should not have to live in fear.
Magdalena and her brother grew up in a rural town outside Nairobi. Determined to keep their children in school, Magdalena's parents approached a trusted family friend to help them find scholarships. But the man betrayed the family – he began to sexually assault Magdalena, who became pregnant as a result of the repeated abuse.
Magdalena was terrified, afraid that if she spoke up about the abuse she would have to drop out of school. Before she could tell anyone, the man got permission from her parents to take Magdalena on a special trip to see her grandmother. He was determined to keep the abuse hidden. The trip was a ruse: He took Magdalena to an underground abortion clinic and forced her to undergo an abortion.
After she returned, her mother realized something was very wrong. She took her daughter to the police station to get help, and they referred her to the hospital for treatment. It turned out Magdalena needed emergency surgery due to injuries she sustained as a result of the forced abortion.
Silence was impossible. At the hospital Magdalena confided in her mother, who turned to IJM for assistance. Social workers provided immediate care and counseling to Magdalena and her family. IJM lawyers worked with the prosecutor to develop a case against the perpetrator.
"Our joy is complete as justice has been served,"
– IJM Kenya's Director of Aftercare, Benson Shamala.
Despite numerous challenges in the trial, the perpetrator was convicted and will remain in prison, unable to intimidate or harm Magdalena or girls like her.
"Our joy is complete as justice has been served," said IJM Kenya's Director of Aftercare, who is committed to Magdalena's complete restoration. The judgment against the perpetrator was an important step in Magdalena's healing. Today, she is studying in a boarding school near her home, and Magdalena and her family receive continued support from IJM.
*A pseudonym has been used. Real name and casework documentation on file with IJM.