By Kobia Mwirichia
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has called for strong family foundations that respect the sanctity of human life, saying it will guarantee peaceful co-existence of all genders.
The First Lady said the fight against gender-based violence will not be won without strengthening the family unit.
She observed that gender-based violence is a crime that affected people of all walks of life and concrete steps must be taken to end it.
“Gender-based violence is a crime that should concern all of us; many are affected either as victims, relatives or as friends of someone who has been affected,” she said.
The First Lady spoke at Kenyatta National Hospital on Tuesday when she officially opened a Gender-Based Violence treatment ward that was renovated with support from the German Development Cooperation.
She also advocated for strong laws that will mete out stiff penalties to discourage perpetrators from engaging in the vice.
“If this is left unaddressed, these violations pose serious consequences to current and future generations and they compromise the peace and security of our nation,” she said.
The First Lady noted that countries that enacted and enforced laws on violence against women experienced less gender-based violence.
“Kenya is among 160 countries that enacted sexual offence laws to address violence against women” the First Lady said but regretted that “in too many cases, enforcement is lacking”.
The First Lady described gender-based violence as a crime that inflicts long-term pain and gives way to silent outrage, adding that it must be fought at all levels.
“We must also remember that women and children are not the only victims of violence. Kenya has witnessed cases of men who have been assaulted by close friends or wives. Social violence should be treated equally irrespective of gender,” she said.
Other speakers at the event were Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, Principle Secretary designate Dr Nicholas Muraguri, Kenyatta National Hospital Chief Executive Officer Lily Koros and German Development Cooperation Bank Dr Klaus Liebig.