Help seeking behaviour among women survivors of gender-based violence in kesses sub-county, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya
Lisa Lena Ofwona
This study investigated the barriers to help-seeking faced by women survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) with a focus on Kesses Sub-County in Kenya. Based on the study, this paper examines the help-seeking behaviour of women survivors of GBV. The study utilized a sample size of fifty women survivors of GBV who were above eighteen years of age selected through the snowball sampling technique. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews, case narratives, key informant interviews and focus group discussions. The collected data were transcribed, coded and analysed thematically in line with the specific study objectives. Findings were subsequently presented in the form of narratives and verbatim quotations to amplify the informants’ voices. The study found low reporting of GBV cases among the women survivors to the police but high preference for family members, local village elders and women groups in the local set up. Several barriers influence help seeking of women survivors of GBV, ranging from cultural believes, poor legal system and justice dispensations for the abused victims, economic deprivation of the abused, high stigma among abused women, and the frequent resort to local dispute resolution mechanisms. It is recommended that the county governments need to facilitate and provide adequate holistic assistance and support to all women survivors of GVB, promote equity in access to resources irrespective of gender and work towards addressing cultural norms and practices that encourage GBV among women, provide access to medical and psychosocial assistance to women survivors of GBV and enhance gender-sensitive structures for the reintegration of survivors as non-stigmatized members of society and to sensitize the judicial system, state agents and prosecuting agencies especially the police on appropriate handling of GBV cases among women survivors.