As the incidence of rape and domestic violence against women and children in Kenya keeps soaring at an alarming rate, the victims’ hopes of ever getting justice for the atrocities committed against them keep dwindling as they cannot access the only tangible evidence that can prove their allegations in a court of law; the Police Medical Examination Form 3, popularly known as the P3.
The P3 is a legal document that is normally filled by a police officer and later on used to request for a medical examination by a doctor or a clinical Officer in order to determine the nature and extent of bodily injury sustained by a complainant(s) in assault cases. It’s then used as an exhibit in court.
Little hope for rape victims in Kenya
POLICE DEMAND BRIBES FROM RAPE VICTIMS
An article published by Lydia Matata in The Star revealed the disturbing realities victims of rape go through all in an effort to get some justice for a crime committed against them. It’s reported that police officers demand bribes before they will give out the P3 forms and it’s never a walk in the park for victims not unless they have the backing of NGOs.
Thanks to technology, nowadays the P3 form can be downloaded from the internet but that does not mean that a victim will not make that dreaded walk to the police station since the form has to be filed by a police officer together with a report about the crime.
DOCTORS RELUCTANT TO FILL P3 FORMS
Even though the P3 form can be filled by any government doctor or clinical officer, most doctors are said to be cautious about filling the P3 form because by doing so, they become the prime witnesses in court and will often be required to avail themselves constantly in court, thus the police refer victims to specific doctors who can comfortably fill the forms.
The process of getting these particular doctors to sign the P3 form is equally hectic and victims have to put up with long queues and lengthy hours of waiting before they are served.
By reading the article and also judging from the experiences victims of assault have encountered at the police stations, it’s apparent that most police officers who deal with such cases are not well trained to handle the cases with the sensitivity that they require. Most officers will be as arrogant as they always are and in some cases they will even tease the victims.
CAUGHT UP IN THE COURTS
Even when a rape case gets to court the victim still faces huge hurdles and costs to reach justice.
The Kenya Forum knows of one case, for example, where a young women who had been attacked and raped finally got to court in Naivasha. The court officials found out that she worked for a wealthy muzungu family, so each time the court process needed to move forward, or the relevant legal file processed, they demanded money from the unfortunate girl.
GOVERNMENT MUST TAKE ACTION
It’s bad enough for a person to be raped and even worse to have to contend with harsh and lengthy processes all in an effort to get justice, that is, if they are lucky enough to get any because most perpetrators of rape walk free in the society to the dismay of the victims.
There is not a single day that passes without a rape being reported in the local media and especially cases of defilements and it’s about time the government put proper measures in place if the situation in the country is to be contained.