June 4, 2014


As if it needs to be said.

It is not the clothing choices of women but the weaknesses of law enforcement and the evil of rapists that causes rape.

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Weak law enforcement not ‘provocative dressing’ is why rape so prevalent

Weak law enforcement not ‘provocative dressing’ is why rape so prevalent

A study conducted by the Gender-Based Recovery Centre (GBRC) reveals that a majority of Kenyan men believe that a woman’s dressing provokes rape.

According to the study published in today’s Standard, 80 per cent of men at the Coast believe women sometimes get raped because of inappropriate dressing while in the Rift Valley and Central regions, 57 per cent and 56 per cent of the men respectively share the same sentiments.

The allegations by the men sampled in this study are absurd to say the least. There is no justification for rape and a rapist is just that, a rapist. The claim that a woman’s dressing can provoke men’s sexual desires is quite factual, after all men are visual creatures but for a man to pounce on a woman because he cannot control his feelings isn’t that what we call an animal?

Think of it, just what are the chances that a man will rape a ‘provocatively’ dressed woman on the streets? And what exactly is provocative because the adjective can be quite relative depending on individuals.

Cases of defilement have become the order of the day in Kenya and almost every single day the local media runs a headline of a minor who has been sexually molested even in the safe confines of their homes. According to police statistics, rape of children account for 78% of all reported rape cases. Do children also dress provocatively?

The most recent case is that of a pastor based in Njiru, Kasarani; Pastor Peter Wambua, a senior pastor of Jesus Light of Your Life Church, who has been molesting his two daughters, aged 12 and 15 for two years. The 15 year old is now pregnant and sadly the mother has been colluding with the man who is now on the run to conceal the crime.

As of last week, the mother of the girls had abducted the pregnant girl from the house of a relative where she had sought refuge and taken her to an unknown destination.


According to last years’ crime report, rape cases were 22 per cent higher compared to the previous year. The number is likely much higher now and further more many cases go unreported and especially where relatives are the perpetrators.

In my opinion, Kenya’s continuing failure to adequately investigate and prosecute all sexual violence crimes is one of the factors that can be attributed to the rampant cases of rape being witnessed in the country. I mean what can we expect when rapists walk Scott free and even afford the audacity to threaten their victims?


Take the case of Liz, the standard seven pupil who was beaten and gang-raped on her way home from her grandfather’s funeral at Tingolo village in Busia County and left for dead, dumped in a pit latrine in June 26 last year. She survived but is now wheelchair bound with a broken spine and has the worst case of fistula as a result of the rape.

Liz recognized her rapists and identified them to the police and three men were arrested but only held on a charge of assault. Their punishment? The suspects were made to cut grass in the police compound before being released!

It was only after a massive public outcry and a campaign headed by the African Women’s Community Network (Femnet), the Coalition on Woman Against Violence (Covaw) and Youth Deliver, to bring Liz’s attackers to justice, which received international recognition that the country’s Director Of Public Prosecutions, Keriako Tobiko took interest on the case and demanded for a proper investigation of the crime.


In April this year, a woman and her three daughters were raped before being murdered in a tragic incident in Wekelekha village, Bungoma County.

Residents pointed accusing fingers at a suspect who was released from the Bungoma GK Prison the previous week on grounds that the man had attempted to rape the deceased woman in December last year but she had reported the incident to the police prompting his arrest.

Following his release, the suspect allegedly issued death threats against the woman and her daughters.

According to the current law, a person convicted of committing rape faces a sentence of ten years to life in prison. A person convicted of “defiling” a child aged 11 or younger can receive a life sentence, while someone who defiles a child aged 12 to 15 can receive at least 20 years in prison.


The police have also been very incompetent in handling reports on rape cases hence not enough arrests are ever made. In most cases police officers treat such complaints with a dismissive or casual attitude and often embarrass the victim instead of helping them.

Much worse accessing the Police Medical Examination Form 3, (P3) which provides the victim with tangible evidence that can prove their allegations in a court of law is quite a nightmare as police ask for bribes before they can fill the form and doctors are too reluctant to fill, to avoid being witnesses in the court proceedings.

That being said, it’s not our dressing that provokes rape, but weak legislation and lack of law enforcement and even if the country was to enforce a ban on miniskirts like Uganda did, the vice will still be rampant because that is not the root of the problem.

The survey by the GBRC, which is a charitable trust of The Nairobi Women’s Hospital that provides free medical treatment and psychological support for survivors of gender-based violence, sampled 1,500 men in Coast, 500 in Rift Valley and 1,000 in Central.


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