Reporting Rape: Part Seven in a Global Series
KIBERA, KENYA – Laughter is in the air in Bombolulu, one of more than 10 villages in Kibera, the most populous slum in East Africa. Celebrating the new year, children scream as they chase each other, their clothes dirty from the numerous falls in the dust.
Girls are singing and skipping, and boys tease them as they dart by. They brush past clothes drying on the lines that hang along narrow corridors of houses built from corrugated iron sheets and chipped cement blocks.
Knight, 6, says she was playing near her house with the other children when her neighbor called to her. She says that David Omwoke, 46, whom she refers to as “Baba Wiki,” asked her to take some onions that he had bought to his house in exchange for some candy.
“He said that if I take them, he would give me a sweet,” says Knight, who spoke to Global Press Institute with her mother’s permission.
But Knight says that when she took the groceries to his house, Omwoke shut the door behind her and forced her to have sex with him.
“He grabbed me and told me not to tell anyone,” she says.
She hangs her head. Her eyes look glassy.
Knight says he then raped her not once, but twice.
Her mother, who asked to be referred to as Mama Knight, says she is still in shock at what happened. The 27-year-old mother had gone to the market to work and also to buy a new pair of shoes for Knight. But when she got home to bathe her daughter, she noticed something unusual about her.
“I noticed a change in my daughter,” she says, startled. “I called some neighbors to have a look at her and help me figure it out. She looked like a woman who had just given birth. Her private parts were completely open, and there was sperm.”
One neighbor, Margaret Muhonja, says the commotion drew her outside. A group of women were standing outside Knight’s home. Muhonja walked inside to see what was going on and says she was shocked when she examined Knight.
“I shouted and said someone has slept with your daughter,” she says. “And it was definitely an adult who slept with her.”
Muhonja says she instructed Knight’s mom to talk to her daughter calmly to find out what happened.
“‘If you have an open relationship with your daughter, she will tell you,’ I told Mama Knight,” Muhonja says.
After a few minutes, they emerged from the house. Muhonja says that she helped encourage Knight, who was afraid that she would be reprimanded harshly if she told her mother what had happened. Together, they finally persuaded Knight to tell them.
Knight whispered, “Baba Wiki.” Shocked, both Knight’s mother and Muhonja asked Knight to repeat herself. She whispered the same name again and told them what had happened.
Her whisper rippled out into the community, igniting