Content warning: Some readers may find the following content triggering. Please read at your own discretion.
Nairobi, KENYA – A man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for sexually abusing a 5-year-old boy in his neighbourhood.
Little Vin* was always a happy child who loved school and playing with his friends. On June 15, 2018, a man spotted him playing alone. The man was not a stranger. He was someone Vin knew and trusted, his neighbour.
Deceit and betrayal
The man approached Vin and told him that he had been sent, by his mother, to give him tea and ugali (cornmeal). Vin followed him to his house, but when he asked for the tea, the man violently, sexually abused him.
Vin had just celebrated his fifth birthday.
On the day of the attack, Vin’s mother had gone to sell porridge at a construction site. When she came back, her youngest son was crying uncontrollably. She asked Vin what was making him cry, and he told her the neighbour had hurt him.
Vin’s mother confirmed the worst when she lifted Vin onto her lap and saw bloodstains on his school uniform. She rushed him to the hospital.
The family reported the attacker to the police. He was arrested and charged two days later, but things started getting even more difficult for the family. The perpetrator’s family began sending emissaries to demand they drop the accusations. However, their quest to get justice for Vin was unstoppable.
Supporting Vin and his family
A friend who saw what Vin’s family was going through introduced his mother to IJM. Dedicated IJM staff immediately began working to ensure Vin got the justice he deserved. IJM lawyers supported the state prosecutor in court while social workers counselled Vin and helped him prepare to share the truth in court.
Although Vin was of tender age, he bravely testified against the attacker. He had a learning disability — a condition that affected his communication and speech — but in front of the court his communication was clear. He was able to remember what happened to him and who did it.
He bravely faced the man who had abused him in court, raised his hand, pointed at him and said,
“it was you who hurt me, and I felt pain.”
The trial magistrate said there was no doubt he assaulted Vin and that his conviction
“should serve as a strong warning to anyone who preys on innocent children.”
Vin receives justice
On November 4, 2021, the attacker was sentenced to life imprisonment. Thanks to the quick action of his mother, prosecutors and IJM Kenya staff, today, Vin and his family can look forward to a safer future.
Esther Njuguna, the IJM Aftercare worker who supported Vin, said she was not only happy with the decision of the court but was glad it was made possible by the strong testimony given by the child.
The mission and quest for justice has never been more real than when doing so for the most vulnerable in our midst.Julius Nyaga Senior Assistant Casework Justice System Interventions, Kenya
IJM will continue to walk with and support Vin who is undergoing therapy and is doing well in school.
*Stock image by Bennett Tobias.
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