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17 - 24 December 2008 
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Human Rights


Yes We Can End Gender Violence

Protesters against Gender Violence
A wave of gender violence that has rocked the society calls for urgent curbing. The rape cases which swept Kenya during the post election violence still linger in the minds. Other women were brutalized, others got infected with Sexually Transmitted Infections and others lost their lives. But even after peace was restored fear still grip several women.

We grill our doors and install security walls around us not because we fear invasion by wild animals but men who may come in form of gangsters. They shamelessly rape and brutalize both the old and the young. In as much as men are also victims of gender based violence, they still scoop gold medals in this vice! Gender violence is a form of terrorism that leaves survivors traumatized and maimed.

Poverty, marginalization, racial and ethical differences make women vulnerable to violence. In addition, in an upbringing where parents still tell boys to stop “crying like girls” when boys attempt to express their emotions, this trend finds its way into adulthood and plays major roles in relationships.

The Kenya government is not spared either for its complacency now that cases of violence against women have soared to alarming levels.Not much has been done because only few victims can get access to the Nairobi Women Hospital, the only hospital in the country specializing in such cases for treatment and therapy after being violated.

In as much as activists have put on spirited efforts in the fight against gender violence, more is yet to be done starting with parents by inculcating long term behavior change. Parents need to instill in their children values of respecting one another irrespective of their gender and better ways of problem solving. This will translate into more responsible adults.

Gender education need to be implemented at elementary level to expose and develop young people’s attitudes towards violence, sexual identity and relationships. This will curb violence against women.

Sensitisation and awareness programmes need to be carried throughout the country to increase knowledge with a view of changing law and policies to benefit women. This will see majority of women taking appropriate action to stop violence against them.

The judiciary should mete out punitive punishment to abusers of women to act as deterrent to others. The government should set up adequate facilities to rehabilitate victims of violence as their recovery is monitored.

Violence against women carries with it economic costs for both the individual and the society: these costs include absenteeism from duty and using funds in seeking healthcare for survivors amongst others. It is a major obstacle to development, peace and security, so it is time we put an end to this menace. Yes we can.

By Akinyi Janet
Editor of The African Executive

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