Creating a Black Eye : Gender Violence (Home & Abroad)

Wondering what happened after all the ruckus I raised over gender violence? Read on…

After the women’s month kicked off last month, I and many other students in school began to ask questions not only of the world, which has watched so many women be victims of modern atrocities in the systematic rape and abuse of women and children. One colleague started a campus wide dialogue on the Congo and Sierra Leone and the violence there, and we were fortunate to have Dr Sam Thenya visit and give a talk on gender violence in post-elections Kenya and the work of the Nairobi Womens Hospital.

Apart from acquiring a sense of conversation about the issue of international violence, women here started to talk about on-campus and around campus events of attacks from guys in the community, and how some were afraid to press charges. When does it become alright to hit your girlfriend, or to spike drinks and even the issue of date rape, among campus students. as if that were not enough, when will people start to say, “It is enough!”

In informal coffee house conversations and campus wide forums, many of the stories that women here shared involved the fact that nobody stood up for them when something bad happened, that they were often blamed or disbelieved,that their attackers were known to local authorities. I wish we could put up signs like “Beware of Human Dogs!” whenever we have an event in these sleepy suburbs.

I sense there is a wider dialog looking to open up. I always ask why people do not put pictures on their blogs. is it simply for the anonymity or are there some among the blogging community who blog because online they do not have to cover up black eye or otherwise explain to the rest of us why they are limping. Will we ever know their stories?

I have not even started sorting through the attitudes that people have towards violence in domestic issues. While my focus is on gender violence in post-elections Kenya, I have to look around where I am, where my sisters from all over the world walk around with their heads ringing from those humiliating slaps, kicks and punches, and where opposition to these abuses is masked by some misguided cultural notions.

Know something I have not highlighted, feel free to comment.


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