LESBIAN HELD CAPTIVE BY FAMILY COMMITS SUICIDE
Sun, 17 June 2012
A lesbian woman in Kenya has reportedly committed suicide after she was held captive by her family when they found out she was gay.
Identity Kenya reported last week that Joan Sandy Achieng, who lived and worked in Nairobi, was in a relationship with another woman.
Following a violent altercation with her partner, Achieng's parents became aware that she was lesbian.
They then allegedly held her captive in their house for a number of months, confiscated her phone, cut her off from her friends and planned to force her to marry a man and have her 'impregnated' by him.
Achieng's friends claim that they were attacked and harassed when they tried to see her. When she managed to contact a close friend, she said that she wanted to kill herself.
According to a source close to the family, Achieng's body was discovered in her parent's house in what appears to have been a suicide.
The article cites activists reporting that at least three other lesbians, including a couple, have recently taken their own lives in Kenya following harassment related their sexual orientation.
Denis Nzioka, editor of Identity Kenya, told Pinknews.co.uk, that Achieng's suicide “shows that parents or relatives assume marriage to someone of the opposite sex is the answer to homosexuality but it’s not".
He added: “The level of misery, unhappiness and sadness that the person faces in such arrangements is enormous and suicide, sadly, to them is seen as the only option out. How many shall die like this before action is taken?"
Kate Kamunde, the Programs Officer for AFRA-Kenya, a lesbian activist group in Nairobi, told Identity Kenya that activists are hoping to prevent further suicides.
"We are working on getting a hotline emergency number for such cases. We also want to use social media to spread awareness and disseminate information on this. We are also planning to carry out a survey on the number of women who have considered suicide to get a bigger picture of what we are dealing with," she said.
Earlier this month, a gay man was brutally stoned to death by a mob in a slum in Nairobi after he and another man were caught having sex.
Gay sex is illegal in Kenya with penalties including five to 14 years imprisonment.
Last month, Kenya's National Human Rights Commission urged the government to legalise homosexuality due to LGBTI people suffering "numerous human rights violations on the basis of their sexual behaviour and orientation".