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Rape Culture in Kenya
~ Do you believe that men also get raped in Kenya?
~ Who do you talk to when you, a friend or relative gets raped?
~ Is the Kenya Police Force professionally equipped to deal with rape cases?
Rape is the most highly under reported crime in Kenya. It is estimated that only 1 out of 20 women in Kenya will report a rape and only 1 in 6 will seek medical assistance. Relying on reported cases will therefore not provide a genuine picture of what is truly happening on the ground. Is this attitude slowly becoming a culture? Of sexual assault and silence? Fatuma’s Voice empathises with Rape victims or survivors this week by bringing together Artists, Rape Survivors, Counsellors and the general youth and audience members that participate in our physical and online discussions. We will share new information about the rape culture, get help and learn from the session. So, why are we talking about rape in Kenya? Here are a few reasons:
“To protect our children, we must talk to them about rape.”
― Desmond Tutu
Justice For Liz Campaign
16 year old Liz was raped by three men in October 2013. The violators were only given grass to slash as punishment. This caused an uproar leading to the Twitter campaign hashtag #JusticeForLiz backed by two million people . The pressure paid off two years later when the perpetrators were jailed for 15 years each, but it was sad that the government had to be put to task in order to take action against such a ghastly crime. What people don’t know is Liz’s family had to move from Busia County owing to threats they received from the families of the jailed men.
This mirrors the poverty of our legal system. Government and society seem to yet acknowledge the acuteness of rape culture. The 2007/2008 post-election violence generated mass rape incidences only witnessed in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide and Darfur War is Sudan. Continued wanton rape of Internally Displaced Persons is reported.
Causes of Rape
But what could possibly be the root cause of the rising cases of these defilements? We could argue that lack of adequate training by relevant personnel on how to sensitize the population on rape and measures of seeking treatment and justice could be one. And the high number of repeat offenders. Lack of DNA Forensic evidence in cases of rape could be another, or lack of public education on rape culture and what to do in case it happens. Perhaps also insufficient medical institutions to deal with rape. Societal stigma associated with rape deters a majority of women and children from reporting these incidents.
Rape in most places is settled out of court through Clan Elders. Women and children in rural areas are not only subjected to these “courts” UNWILLINGLY but often are denied treatment for deadly STD’s including HIV. This trend has RUBBISHED efforts by Government to check the spread of HIV in these areas.
Hard Questions about Rape, Survivors, Perpetrators and the Support System:
How do we dispel the rogue rape mentality of perpetrators?
Where do you report a rape case?
Is the Kenya Police Force professionally equipped to deal with rape cases?
What comes to your mind when you hear the term “Rape Culture”?
Which organisations have stood out in helping rape survivors?
What happens to the many women who lead traumatized lives because they did not know who to speak to when they were raped?
Scriptwriter Venna Odhiambo launches #BlackFriday this Saturday at Fatuma’s Voice. A film that takes us through a journey of women’s rape experiences, looking to have conversations about this sensitive vice. She hopes to get more voices onto this exchange that would help her advance with more film projects that will tell women stories about gender based violence. This would hopefully help in curbing the crime.
Come meet Tezmel Wangari who shall be sharing her story on sexual assault and what the journey through healing has been like.
References and Important Links:
Think Progress: Two Years And Nearly Two Million Signatures Later, Justice For Liz Wins Justice Against Her Rapists
JUSTICE FOR LIZ PRESS RELEASE 7TH OF MAY by Muthoni Njuguna
GLOBAL SUMMIT TO END SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT
Access to Justice and Women’s Rights (AJWR)
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
South African Government:
Vunja Kimya – Break the Silence: When the Village Doesn’t Care
This post has been read 2293 times!