Having an offline World Pulse circle has always been my dream. We interact a lot online but hardly meet, yet we are in the same countries or regions.
On the 23rd of February, we did create a Kenyan Circle of World Pulse. Currently we have 6 members, Mahnaz Harrison, Saum Idd, Hellen Kyambi, Brownkey Abdullahi, Leah Okeyo and Immaculate Amoit.
The Circle is meant to cement and strengthen our online sisterhood while giving us the opportunity to work together, share experiences and create visibility for our work and World Pulse off line by having circle events.
On this one day facilitated by Mahnaz Harrison.We discussed Gender Based Violence, how it manifests and ways of supporting victims and perpetrators.
Gender based Violence can only be addressed if we start at the individual level, community level and policy (administrative level). At individual level we can support the victims by listening and forming a community that shame the perpetrators. At community level we can push for reforms in SGBV policy that are favourable for women access to justice and health services.
Through out the discussion we found out women stay in abused BV relationship out of fear of societal expectations, the dowry issue and fear of the unknown. Victims of domestic violence can be supported by listening to them, showing love (tell them its not their fault they were beaten or raped) also give them referrals to shelter and rehabilitation. Kenya however has no shelter homes an agenda that we sought to research on.
Interesting insights on how dowry enslaves women came up. Dowry has always been used by men mostly from Africa, parts of Asia And Middle East as a form of ownership to women. This makes them to respect women less, who they feel owe their lives to them. We felt there's need to pick up the dowry issue with agencies like UN Women. Early marriages, are prone due to dowry , when a prize is placed on a Woman head, it seizes to be dowry and turns to selling a woman.We need to set women.
Young girls and boys also ought to be sensitised through film and stories as Saum shared. While older women need to step up their efforts in stopping the vice ( ask them how did you feel when it happened to you?).
We look forward to actualising this discussion in the next months