GSN launched its first impact report “Growing Connection, Resiliency and Agency: The impact of community-led trauma-informed peacebuilding in response to violent extremism in Kenya” at the second annual Paris Peace Forum (12 November 2019).

A 4-YEAR OLD

I joined the police service because I have an insatiable desire for justice; I long to see the wrongs in the world righted; I long to see the underdog getting his day; I long for a time when the weak, old, young in our society can walk unafraid; I long for the day when crime will be eradicated in our society – it might seem like an impossible dream but my dreams are valid. These are some of the reasons why I did my very best and put my best foot forward to ensure that I got enlisted.

We often hear about how the training for new recruits is rigorous, what we hear is just a tip of the iceberg – the training is far much more gruesome. It’s therefore a moment of indescribable pride and joy when one is able to survive the ordeal and emerge victorious.

This is the excitement with which I approached my job as a police officer. I was young, incredibly energetic, irrepressibly optimistic, eager to change the world, dying to make a difference, believing that everything is indeed possible. Years have passed by and I must say that not much has changed regarding my drive and vision. My methods of getting there might be modified, my energy might be more concentrated on particular tasks now, my patience has bloomed, I have learnt a lot from experience, but my desire for justice remains the same.

One of the highlights of my life has been becoming a father. If I wanted to change the world before, bringing a child into the same world now makes me even more determined to make my dream a reality. I long for my daughter to find a safe world where she is free to learn, grow and work wherever she pleases without worrying about her safety and security.

When I was assigned to the children’s desk, I reported for work with understandable excitement. I felt that my being a parent placed me in an even better position to serve the community at the children’s desk.

I was not prepared for the first case that was brought to me. A 4-year-old girl had been defiled by her step father while her mother was out working in the market trying to provide for her family. I remember feeling faint as the mother narrated the story to me, then this was replaced by scorching anger. I wanted to lay my hands on the offender and wring his neck; I wanted to squeeze the very life out of him; I wanted him to feel the pain, desperation, despair, anguish that he had made this innocent child in his care experience; I wanted him to suffer for his crime. Looking at the little girl reminded me of my own daughter, and I couldn’t bear to imagine her in the same position.

Were it not for a counsellor working in our station, I might have lost my job. The counsellor was quick to realize that all was not well on my end and she quickly came to my rescue. She assigned the case to another officer and led me to her office for a chat. In her office, I was able to regain my composure and control my emotions. I was able to freely share my fears and unburden myself. I learnt that what I was suffering from was vicarious or secondary trauma.

The counsellor informed me that apart from her training in counselling psychology, she had gained valuable insights after attending Wellbeing and Resilience sessions. She had learnt a lot about stress and trauma which is information that she had been able to put in extremely good use at the station. I look forward to attending similar sessions as well so I can find healing for myself and others.

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