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Report: Gender-Based Violence Still Rampant Among Kenyan Married People

FILE - Image shows a woman, an acid attack survivor, Jan. 22, 2010.

FILE - Image shows a woman, an acid attack survivor, Jan. 22, 2010.

Kenya’s government has issued a report that shows spousal battery is the most common form of gender-based violence in the country.

In a report released Friday, the National Crime Research Center said 38 percent of females and 20 percent of males in Kenya have experienced gender-based violence.

Mombasa County in the coastal region has the highest rate of assaults among married couples, with a rate of 97 percent. Meru County in the eastern region recorded the lowest rate.

Stephen Muteti of the Kenya National Crime Research Center said women were more vulnerable to violence depending on their marital status.

"If you are divorced or separated, especially for the females, chances were high that you would fall a victim," said Muteti. "So the most vulnerable groups were the divorced, separated and the widowed."

According to the crime research center, men used their physical strength to commit acts of violence while women used threats.

Muteti noted there is a need to know the causes of gender-based violence in order to fight it.

"The causes of gender-based violence are important to know as we intervene, so in doing this we tried to establish the relationships between demographic variables and gender-based violence," he said. "From the study we realized that if you are an additional wife, chances of being violated are very high [compared to that of] the first wife."

In late March, women leaders in the country demanded a thorough investigation and prosecution of those who carried out violence against women. The women alleged sexual harassment was widespread in Kenya's parliament.

Their call came as a woman alleged she had been raped by a male member of parliament.

The woman accused him of assaulting and raping her in his private office in Nairobi, where she said she had gone on business.

The legislator has denied the claims.

The center's report also said in the last year, more men have experienced sexual violence than women.

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