A story is told of a girl named ‘Wanjiku’. It is a sad story, it is a story of a failed system, it is a story of despair, but it is also a story of hope, a story of action a story of progress.
Wanjiku is currently 15 years old. She is a Kenyan girl, but unlike many girls her age who are currently waking up at wee hours to go to school or prepare for morning preps, she is fighting for her life with a severe case of kidney failure. To survive she is reliant on expensive dialysis procedures.
Wanjiku became pregnant at age 14 after an older man from her village coerced her into having sex with him. As though that was not horrible enough she got pregnant as a result. Feeling anguished and fearing rejection from her family, she decided to end the pregnancy.
Because safe abortion services weren’t available, she sought the care of unqualified individual – “quacks” as they are rightfully commonly referred to – that botched the procedure. Afterwards, she started to vomit, bleed heavily, and her body began to swell—signs that her kidneys were failing.
The worrying fact is that Wanjiku’s story is not unique. One in three Kenyan girls under 18 experience sexual violence, and two-thirds of school-aged children have sex under coercive conditions.
Kenya has a recorded maternal death rate of 3,600 per year, of these, 1, 200 are due to unsafe abortions. A number that is completely avoidable and unnecessary.
Each year, 120,000 women are treated for post-abortion complications with girls between the ages of 10 and 19 suffering the most severe of complications.
Despite these alarming figures, there is no clear way for girls who have been sexually assaulted to access safe abortion despite its legality in the constitution. The government has rolled back access to safe abortion services in cases where it is legal—making it nearly impossible for girls like Wanjiku to get the medical care they need.
There is something you as a Kenyan can do:
- Sign the online petition
- Follow the conversation on #KeepWanjikuSafe
- Contribute by sharing these posts and pages on your social media pages
- Use any of our posters below to reach more people.