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RAPE, INJUSTICE AND ATTITUDES TO SEX IN KENYA

"...most cases go unreported mainly due to intimidation and threats..."

Rape is perhaps the greatest injustice that a human being can inflict on another. According to statistics from the police, every day five children are defiled, two women are raped and three people end killed in Kenya.

The incidence of rape has been on the increase in the country but most cases go unreported mainly due to intimidation and threats from the perpetrators and fear of ridicule from the community, especially if the perpetrator was a close relative.

The most distressing causalities of rape have been children as young as 3 years old. Only two months ago, a man in Migori county raped and brutally murdered two children aged 1 and 2.

It is estimated that only one-out-of-20 women in Kenya will report a rape and only one-out-of-six will seek medical assistance.

‘CHARITY’ – A TRUE STORY

This is a true story told by a young woman to the Kenya Forum. We have obviously changed her name.

‘Charity’ was getting really ‘’pissed off’’, in her own words, by a man in her neighbourhood who was trying so hard to force her to date him. She told him off one day and for a while the man kept away. She felt relieved and for some time forgot about the ‘bug’.

However, one day as 22 year-old Charity walked from her stage towards home, he returned.

“It was around 7:30pm and the path to our home is normally not well lit. I heard someone walking behind me but I thought it was just another person walking home. The man was walking faster than I was so he eventually caught up with me; that is when I realised that he was the same man that had been pestering me.

“I ignored him and kept walking on and that’s the last thing I remember because I woke up the next morning to find myself naked in a shanty, where the man apparently dwelled. At first I thought it was a dream but on further investigation I realised that I had been raped.

“I COULD NOT FIND THE WORDS TO TELL THEM WHAT HAD HAPPENED”

“The hardest thing was getting home to find my parents really mad at me for spending the night out. They scolded me and all I could do was cry. I could not find the words to tell them what had happened to me, I locked myself in my room and wept. I sent a text message to one of my friends who advised me to go to the hospital as soon as possible.”

Charity managed to tell her dad what had happened to her and although he didn’t believe it at first, they eventually reported the matter to the police but the man had vanished, never to be seen again. Records at the police station showed that the man had been charged with similar cases in the past.

Charity’s case is not an isolated one; most rape victims do not get justice in Kenya. Even in the event that the perpetrators get arrested, they often end up being released either for lack of evidence or on bond.

SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT

'Rape .... is symptomatic of many men’s attitude in Kenya towards sex.'

Under the Sexual Offences Act, rape is defined as ‘the act of unlawfully and intentionally committing an act which causes penetration with his or her genital organ’. Those convicted face imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years but may be increased to life.

MISOGYNIST MEN – WE NEED TO CHANGE ATTITUDES

Rape is in-humane and a heinous crime but unfortunately it is symptomatic of many men’s attitude  in Kenya towards sex.

Rape in Kenya is a largely hidden and growing phenomenon. There are multiples of reasons why it happens but at the root of it surely, is the attitude many men have towards women, a misogynist attitude that is unfortunately displayed all too often.

Of course we all have to show commonsense about our own personal security but women should not have to walk the streets in fear. Of parents ought to stay vigilant and keep their children safe but they can’t be everywhere, all the time.

The victims of rape need to be encouraged to come forward and report the crime. The police need to be far more assiduous in tracking down the perpetrators. But all we need to change the attitudes of the up and coming generation of young men.

Presidential candidate Raila Odinga withdraws from October 26th 2017 elections

Exposed: Weinsten Sexual Harassment

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