BREAKING NEWS UPDATE
Sarah’s* classmates look to her as a leader, and survivors of sexual violence see her as a mentor. Just last week a Kenyan judge described her as “courageous, truthful and strong.”
This morning, that same judge made an important ruling in Sarah’s case: After two years in court, her stepfather was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting Sarah.
The violent attack happened when she was just 13 years old, late one night while her mother was working. Her stepfather raped her at knifepoint, then threatened to hurt her mother if she told anyone. But when Sarah became pregnant as a result of the abuse, she could not keep the secret any longer and finally confided in her mother.
Despite his threats and intimidations, Sarah’s mother reported her husband to local police. One of the officers referred her to IJM, and suddenly Sarah and her mother were not alone in their fear. As our lawyers built a strong case, our social workers helped Sarah, her baby, and her mother regain their strength too.
The court’s ruling affirmed for the community what Sarah and her mother now know for themselves: what happened to Sarah was wrong, and she doesn’t have to be defined by it. I love how her IJM social worker explained that “Sarah’s past has not determined her present.”
Because of friends like you, we have been able to provide years of relentless advocacy and dedicated counseling. Now Sarah is finishing up her senior year, savoring these last days of school. Sarah’s smile says it all. Thank you.