Violence against women and girls should not be business as usual

pamoja against violence

It is very heart-breaking to realize that violence against women and children is becoming a recurring trend in Kenya. Every day in the dailies and in the news there is that one report about violence meted out on a woman or a child.

On Thursday, 14th June 2018, Doreen, a student of Nairobi Institute of Business studies was pushed out of a bus for asking the conductor to stop the bus after it had passed her stage. She fell hard and died from the impact. This is one story that was reported. What about the other cases that are kept silent?
The victims are afraid that they will face stigmatization and isolation from the society. This is because there are past reports where the victims were told,

“Are you sure it was rape?”
“What were you doing to find yourself in that situation?”
“You were the one asking for it.”
“You antagonized him. You needed to be taught a lesson.”
“These things happen.”
“What were you doing walking at night?”
“It was because of your dressing.”
“Don’t report it otherwise you will be hurt or killed.”
“If you report it, it will break up our family.”
“Think about the consequences and the shame you will bring to our family.”
“Men are like that.”

This destroys the victims’ psyche and they feel as if it was their fault for the violence that they faced. It is also made worse for the fact that they may not know they have rights, or they may know their rights, but are not empowered to report or stand up for themselves.

It is time for us as a society to break the silence. We are all responsible for breaking the cycle of violence. These are our wives, mothers, daughters, aunties, nieces, grandmothers, and friends. We need to protect them. It is up to us to report when we see cases of violence and support the victims. If we do not, someday it will affect us directly, and we will have regrets of our inaction.

Be a champion today. Stop the violence. Break the silence.

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