The former director of a Nairobi-area orphanage and children’s home was sentenced Thursday to 100 years in prison for defiling minors, in a case that has drawn national attention in Kenya. Twenty-nine year old Stephen Nzuki Mutisya of the SCREAMS (Save the Children Reconciliation Education and Assistance Ministry) Africa Safe Child Home was convicted by Milimani Law Courts’ Senior Principal Magistrate Ms Zainab Abdul.
The evidence provided by the prosecutor showed that Mutisya had been committing these vile acts on boys from around 2010 to 2016, defiling those under his care in the children’s home as well as the boys attending associated Vijiko School. He manipulated the young boys into believing what he was doing was right by misquoting the scripture written in the Bible. Ms Abdul ruled: “The accused is a wolf in a sheep’s skin. His actions have betrayed him. He misapplied and misquoted the holy scriptures to woo the victims into believing what he was doing to them was godly,”
There were six years when the convict was free and there’s no telling how many lives he ruined during that period, and even in the time before that period. It is truly sad just thinking about the trauma his victims might have experienced. Due to these reasons, the court in sentencing Stephen Nzuki Mutisya took into consideration how the minors who are now adults have been affected by his actions. “Boys and girls of tender age need to be protected by the court with all its mighty from such unkind human beings,” ruled Ms Abdula.
The accused was convicted of four criminal counts. In the first count, the accused was sentenced to 50 years for defiling a 9-year-old boy while in the second and third count where the victims were 15 and 13 years respectively, he will serve two 20-year terms. The court also determined that the accused will also serve an additional 10 years since he was found guilty of the offence of participating in indecent acts with a minor. Mutsisya denied all claims against him and attempted to plead with the court for a non-custodial sentence. However, Senior Principal Magistrate Zainab Abdul rejected his prayers claiming that granting him such a prayer would be a mockery of justice. While passing her judgement, the magistrate stated that the accused had a moral obligation to the children under his care. The children trusted him to protect them and yet he went and did the opposite. His actions would scar them for life and thus the magistrate hoped that her judgement would deter other people like the accused from performing such crimes. “It is the responsibility of this court to impose a deterrent sentence to serve as an example to other would-be offenders,” Magistrate Zainab said.
What happened to these boys is truly tragic, and what is even more tragic is the fact that these young men are not the first boys/men to experience this. Stories of children being defiled in Kenya are not new. While girls are more prone to speak on such acts, it is rare to see a boy child speak up. It is not because they do not go through the same trauma as a girl child that they do not speak up, but due to existence of toxic masculinity they keep quiet. Society dictates that men should be the strong ones hence it is therefore frowned upon when a boy/man speaks up about such experiences. This image of what a man should be is ingrained in our boys from a young age and guides them even when they are adults. A good example is the existence of stories of men being sexually assaulted/harassed in their places of work in Kenya and yet they will never take their matter to court or even confide in anyone about it. Which brings me to the question of why? Why should we advocate for gender equality and yet when the same experiences happens to the boy child we simply look the other way? Why do people wonder how could the man let the woman sexually assault him and yet be stronger? Why laugh at a man and make light of his trauma simply because of his gender? Why is it that when it comes to gender equality, the rules that work for the female gender rarely apply to the male gender?
Do not get me wrong. I am not belittling or condemning efforts that have been undertaken in order to promote development of the girl child in society, rather I just wish to remind everyone that all genders matter, and should be treated equally. I therefore hope that with this judgement more boys/men will gain the courage to speak up about the injustices they experience and will receive support from people in the community.