Trigger Warning for Rape/Sexual Violence
The testimonies filed to a Nairobi court last week are difficult to read. A woman is raped in front of her daughter, first by police and then by looters. A student is dragged into the bush and has his foreskin cut off. A terrified woman hides under her bed as attackers scale her roof but they find her, beat her, then three men rape her.
These horrific stories constitute a tiny fraction of the sexual violence that exploded amid the post-election chaos in 2007 and early 2008. There are no definitive figures on how many women and men were sexually abused, but activists estimate at least 3,000 women were raped, with at least 60% of the reported gang rapes attributed to the security forces. No one has been convicted.
The eight stories filed to the high court on 20 February are also chilling because on 4 March, Kenyans will go to the polls to choose a president, MPs, senators and county representatives. Campaigners fear a repeat of sexual atrocities if violence erupts.
I’m going to give away the ending because you’ve heard it before: you have to change the culture, starting with male superiority over women.