Girl Defiled by Man Who Claims Right to Resettlement
Volume 1, Issue 4-5 / March-April 2009
The 22-year old man who defiled and impregnated a 15-year old girl claims that he has a right to resettlement with her family as in-law.
On 12 January 2009, a 15-year old girl from the Somali Bajuni community was defiled by a 22-year old man. One month later, she discovered she was pregnant.
In February 2009, her family was scheduled to interview with JVA for their resettlement process to the United States. The man claimed that he should be included in the family’s resettlement process as an in-law, because their daughter was pregnant with his child.
The girl’s mother is shocked at the man’s claim: “It is unbelievable! How can such a thing be done?”
The girl’s mother says she is worried because she had not previously informed UNHCR of the man’s relation to her daughter, being unaware of the matter. (If inconsistencies in family composition arise between UNHCR and JVA interviews, it demands explanation and can jeopardize a case.)
When the family completed their JVA interview, they reported the defilement to local security and the police. Police attempted to arrest the man suspected of defiling the girl, but found only his uncle at home.
The suspect’s uncle was arrested on 2nd March on charges that he had assisted the suspect to escape. The uncle remained in police cells for two days until he informed police of the suspect’s location. The suspect was immediately arrested and his uncle released.
When police asked the man for a written statement, he responded, “It’s okay to arrest me but I need my child to rescue because this family wants to abort my child just for their resettlement claims.”
According to the man, the girl attempted to abort her pregnancy but failed. According to the girl and her family, no abortion was considered or attempted. “It is forbidden and a sin in Islam,” says the girl.
The man claims that he was secretly engaged to the girl and demands that the two families discuss and resolve the matter. According to sources, the girl was engaged to the man, but was deceived by his friends who promised her they would inform her mother. (The girl’s father was killed in Kakuma Camp by unknown gunmen in January, 2004.)
The man was released after being held for six days by police. According to a statement by the mother of the defiled girl, an agreement had been reached between both parties through negotiations by community elders. It is unclear what the agreed solution was.
When the girl’s mother was asked whether she agreed with the solution reached by community elders on the case, she replied, “Even if I agree or not, I’m still a victim. When an egg is slipped from your hand, it has to be broken.”
She worries for her daughter’s future. “She must have her own problems now—are there any other girls who have such a problem?”
The girls’ mother says of her family’s opportunity for resettlement, “This is the first miracle while I was eleven years a refugee in Kakuma.”