In times of darkness what gives me hope is the resilient spirit of women and girls, I have met and worked over the years with this resilient women from around the world and across Kenya. Women have faced economic violence, physical violence and psychological violence despite it all they resist, they persist, they thrive.
2019 was a particularly dark year for Kenyan women and girls. Kenya witnessed the worst cases of femicide and sexual and gender based violence. See the link: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001354655/eight-women-killed-ev.... This women were kidnapped, some of them killled in their homes; one Ivy Wangeci was hacked to death in broad daylight after doing his doctors round at a public hospital; non of this women has received justice so far. Governments should ensure that the process of accessing justice for sexual and gender based survivors and victims is hastened by training police men, women lawyers and judges.
This femicide incidences are not specific to Kenya only, South Africa had her dark days too, and the hashtag #AmInext trended for days after 19 year old Uyinene was raped and killed by her violator. Despite the pain,the agony and fear women still wake up to face the day albeit with heavy hearts. They go to work, farms, school and sometimes are forced to share spaces with the same perpetrators. Women have remained committed, resilient and brave to the course of fighting against sexual and gender based violence in their communities. They have held Marches. Fought for their Rights for bodily autonomy check out #MyDressMyChoice and took up leadership and political spaces to get into parliament to change laws.
In Kenya the famous 'Sexual Offences Act' by Njoki Ndung'u was seen as a harsher penalty that may reduce incidences of violence meted against women and girls but sadly it has not. Women continue wearing their scars demonstrating whatever have endured. Women live on, fight on, bounce back and hope for a better future for themselves, their children and grand children. Irregardless of this darkness, I am hopeful that our resilience and ability to bounce back will triumph some day.
Women and Girls can only thrive in safe spaces which we are all working towards providing this spaces where women can not only be heard, be embraced, receive justice but be policy makers and implementers. Lets keep amplifying the voices of women and girls!