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International compaign to stop rape and gender violence in Kenya

Enough is enough, we all felt as we walked in several streets in the town. Several messages read on the placards all in support of this campaign. The walk was graced by several Organisations local and International, the government was not left behind. The Administration police led us with their band that caused the city dwellers to come to a standstill, the message was sent across as we got their attention. Security vehicles were ahead, to clear the roads for us to walk peacefully. The East African Safari Driver-Ben Muchemi was not left behind, he lead us with majestic moves of his motorcade.

This campaign is just timely as we are nearing the election year 2013. In 2007-2008 post-election violence reported cases of rape were 4500, this data was taken in only Nairobi Hospital in Kenya. Many cases went unreported which then means thousands of women were subjected to rape in the conflict. Biggest offenders are the very people supposed to protect. This is one of the reasons that Kenya was chosen among the four countries targeted by the NOBEL WOMEN INITIATIVE. “This campaign comes from the background of our late hero Nobel prize winner Prof Wangari Mathai who fought for the environment with passion despite all the hardships she went through. Prof Mathai left a legacy worth to carry on not only in environment but all fields. The Government of Kenya need to be pressured to implement laws that deal with sexual violation and swiftly. There is need for implementation on the ground and a political rule to reinforce law and give justice. We are working together with several Organisations, we must stop rape & gender violence, together we can do it,” said YEE Htun the coordinator, International Compaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict from the NOBEL WOMEN INITIATIVE.

Many speakers echoed the same phrase over and over again, “we must stop rape and gender violence.” Prof Karanja from the Green Belt Movement said that there is great need to sensitize Kenyan public to curb causes that encourage rape and gender violence. “When chaos come women are the great sufferers, these women could be our relatives. We need to take ownership and fight against rape and violence. Men are primarily viewed as instigators as they organize political parties, women are least concerned, yet they suffer the most. Our Kenyan constitution gives us confidence to fight for the women, we should put our politicians where they ought to be and stop personal attack on those who attack them,” Prof Karanja said.

“We cannot guarantee our citizens will be safe because the cases of rape reported are not yet dealt with and justice given. Every citizen should stand firm and demand for accountability. We should be vocal and condemn this vice. Let’s protect rights for other people, let’s stop rapping we will destroy families.” Kennedy Otina said, (Kennedy is from African Women’s Development and Communication Network)

The testimonies from the survivors in Wangu Kanja Foundation left us in tears. One lady narrated of how several men repeatedly raped her, chanting “haki yetu” a Swahili word that means our right. Whose right had she violated? Why did she have to pay such a huge price for issues she never contributed? This left us angry, we will fight to the end until justice is done. This is one survivor, others are there, and they need our help, love and support.

Here in Kenya we all agreed to campaign to STOP RAPE &GENDER VIOLENCE not only in conflict but also in peace, this is just the beginning. The campaign will not only be in the city but we hope to take it all over the country. Rape is not just a crime, it should be called ROBBERY WITH VIOLENCE so as to receive the seriousness it deserves, once one is raped it’s irreversible. We support these sentiments made by lady justice Njoki Ndungu. Eric Kiraithe the police spokesman committed that he will do all in his power as a police and in the police force to make sure that he stops rape and gender violence in Kenya. Rape happens in car jackings, robbery, and in many unsafe places. Let’s make all Kenyans safe and comfortable, let’s stop rape!

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