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17 November - Protest in Nairobi following public attacks on women for dressing “indecently”. Photo: Paul Munene

“The stripping of women in various parts of Kenya last week has nothing to do with the decency or morality of the victims. These outrageous acts indicate to us all that violence against women is deeply engrained in the psyche of the Kenyan nation. So much so that hooligans can perpetrate openly criminal acts with such audacity and impunity. This is unacceptable.”

– Kavinya Makau, Equality Now

On 10 November 2014, a group of bus conductors surrounded a woman at Nairobi’s busy Embassava Saaco bus station and violently stripped her for being “indecently dressed” and a “jezebel.” Dozens looked on as the woman was assaulted and one filmed the entire attack, which was posted to social media. A few days later, in what appears to have been “copycat crimes,” several more women were violently attacked and publicly stripped in Nairobi and Mombasa. In each of the incidents, bystanders watched on as the violations occurred. The taped attacks have ignited debate, a #MyDressMyChoice campaign and a social outcry against ongoing and rising violence against women in Kenya. Though authorities publicly condemned the attacks, much more than words is needed to prevent and penalize such brazen violence.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

In the days following the initial attack, a Facebook group called the ‘Kilimani Mums’, joined together with Africa UNiTE Kenya Chapter and other concerned citizens to organize a public rally in solidarity with the survivors and to take a stand against violence against women. On 17 November, hundreds of men and women – including members of Equality Now – marched through Nairobi’s central business district, first to the Embassava bus station, and then to the Inspector General of Police and the Chief Justice to demand justice and an end to these attacks. In Kenya, one in five women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime and an estimated 45% of Kenyan women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical or sexual violence – and these numbers are likely to be much higher, as survivors rarely report the attack to authorities.

During the peaceful demonstration, however, some bus conductors confronted the activists, threatening violence and yelling “you will wear clothes” while ripping pieces of clothing and shoving and throwing rocks at demonstrators. Other bystanders harassed passing women, shouting lewd comments. One woman remarked, “I joined the protest feeling empowered to see so many coming together to stand up against violence against women, but in leaving, I felt more unsafe as a woman in my own city, especially considering the police were standing by watching as things escalated.”

We Want Action!

The attacks in Kenya underscore the large scale of sexual and gender-based violence that persists in societies around the world. Such violence reinforces a power dynamic that women and their bodies are public property, open for public comment, harassment or worse. Today we want action; we have had enough of patriarchal norms that dictate what a woman wears and rob women of their personal rights and autonomy.

Kenya must uphold the rights of all its citizens and protect women and girls from sexual violence, in line with the 2010 Constitution, the Sexual Offenses Act, the Penal Code, and its obligations under regional and international human rights instruments. As a party to the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, Kenya is required to prevent all forms of violence against women – particularly sexual and verbal violence – and to ensure that adequate resources are allocated towards this obligation, including preventative and monitoring measures.

TAKE ACTION NOW! 

Join Equality Now, the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights coalition – including the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW) and FEMNET -- and Africa UNiTE Kenya Chapter in calling on the officials below to ensure justice for the victims and to promptly address the normalization of violence against women, by:

  • Immediately investigating and arresting all perpetrators of the attacks; urgently deploying police squads to public bus stations to prevent gender violence, including harassment.
  • More aggressively cracking down on those inciting violence and similar attacks on women, whether in public or on social media, pursuant to Section 96 of the Penal Code.
  • Comprehensively and urgently addressing the Kenyan Government’s obligation to combat violence against women, including: community sensitization and awareness campaigns, regulatory action to ensure accountability of bus operators, and necessary legal reforms to strengthen the 2006 Sexual Offenses Act in light of these offenses.
  • Urging the media to exercise caution in sharing the graphic videos of the women being attacked and stripped, as the videos re-victimize and stigmatize the survivors and are emboldening copycat criminals. Ultimately, these videos should be treated as evidence of criminal activity.

 

Letters should be addressed to:

H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta
President of the Republic of Kenya
P.O. Box 30040
Nairobi, Kenya
@StateHouseKenya, @UKenyatta
info@president.go.ke

Hon. William Ruto
Deputy President
Office of The Deputy President
Harambee Avenue
P.O. Box 74434 - 00200 
Nairobi, Kenya
dp@deputypresident.go.ke
@WilliamsRuto

Hon. Prof. Githu Muigai
Attorney General
Department of Justice
Harambee Avenue
P.O Box 40112-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
oagpcomms@kenya.go.ke
@AGMuigai

Hon. Winfred Lichuma
Chairperson
National Gender & Equality Commission
Solutions Tech Place, Longonot Road, Upper Hill
P.O.Box 27512-00506
Nairobi, Kenya
info@ngeckenya.org
@NGECKenya

Hon. Keriako Tobiko
Director of Public Prosecutions
Attn: SGBV Unit
Office of the DPP
NSSF Building, 19th Fl
Bishops Road
P.O. Box 30701-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
info@odpp.go.ke
@ODPP_KE

Hon Dr. Willy Mutunga
Chief Justice
Supreme Court of Kenya
City Hall Way
P.O. Box 30041-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
chiefjustice@judiciary.go.ke
@WMutunga

Hon. Isaac Kiprono Ruto
Chairman of the Council of Governors and Governor of Bomet County
Delta House 2nd Floor 
Chiromo Road, Off Waiyaki Way
P.O. Box 40401-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
info@cog.go.ke
@KenyaGovernors

Hon. Cecily Mbarire 
Chairperson  
Kenya Women Parliamentary Association
P.O. Box 41842 00100 Nairobi, Kenya
info@kewopa.org
@KEWOPA

Mr. Simon Kimutai 
National Chairman
Matatu Owners Association
Tumaini House, 4th Floor
P.O. Box 2462-KNH
Nairobi, Kenya
moakenya2003@yahoo.co.uk

Country: 
All letters: 
15000
Sent letters: 
11086
Categories new : 
Hero Title: 
Stop the Violent Attacks on Women
Hero image: 
Hero subtitle: 
#MyDressMyChoice
Letter Body: 

Dear ______,

I am deeply concerned about the recent rise in violent attacks and harassment of women in Kenya, and am particularly disturbed by reports of women being stripped, beaten and publicly humiliated for being “indecently dressed.” Much more must be done – and urgently – to prevent such attacks and to systematically address and eradicate violence against women. Women and girls in Kenya have a fundamental right to feel safe in their own communities, whether about town or commuting to and from employment, irrespective of their attire.   

The attacks in Kenya underscore the large scale of gender-based violence that persists in societies around the world, reinforcing a power dynamic that women and their bodies are public property, open for public comment, harassment or worse. Today, we want action from you to address these manifestations of violence against women that robs women of their personal rights and autonomy.

Kenya must uphold the rights of all its citizens and protect women and girls from sexual violence, in line with the 2010 Constitution, the Sexual Offenses Act, the Penal Code, and its obligations under regional and international human rights instruments. As a party to the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, Kenya is required to prevent all forms of violence against women – particularly sexual and verbal violence - and to ensure that adequate resources are allocated towards this obligation.

I join Equality Now, the Solidarity of African Women’s Rights coalition – including the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW) and FEMNET, and Africa UNiTE Kenya Chapter in calling for justice for those attacked, ensuring that the survivors are not re-victimized and stigmatized and for Kenyan authorities to aggressively and comprehensively address violence against women. 

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Salsa Id: 
18867
Action Date: 
Monday, November 24, 2014
Letters Sent (Auto): 
11436
All Letters Sent (Auto): 
11436

IMPORTANT: This archived action campaign has been completed or discontinued, and the information contained in it may not be current. Please see Take Action for current and ongoing campaigns.

View as pdf

17 November - Protest in Nairobi following public attacks on women for dressing “indecently”. Photo: Paul Munene

“The stripping of women in various parts of Kenya last week has nothing to do with the decency or morality of the victims. These outrageous acts indicate to us all that violence against women is deeply engrained in the psyche of the Kenyan nation. So much so that hooligans can perpetrate openly criminal acts with such audacity and impunity. This is unacceptable.”

– Kavinya Makau, Equality Now

On 10 November 2014, a group of bus conductors surrounded a woman at Nairobi’s busy Embassava Saaco bus station and violently stripped her for being “indecently dressed” and a “jezebel.” Dozens looked on as the woman was assaulted and one filmed the entire attack, which was posted to social media. A few days later, in what appears to have been “copycat crimes,” several more women were violently attacked and publicly stripped in Nairobi and Mombasa. In each of the incidents, bystanders watched on as the violations occurred. The taped attacks have ignited debate, a #MyDressMyChoice campaign and a social outcry against ongoing and rising violence against women in Kenya. Though authorities publicly condemned the attacks, much more than words is needed to prevent and penalize such brazen violence.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

In the days following the initial attack, a Facebook group called the ‘Kilimani Mums’, joined together with Africa UNiTE Kenya Chapter and other concerned citizens to organize a public rally in solidarity with the survivors and to take a stand against violence against women. On 17 November, hundreds of men and women – including members of Equality Now – marched through Nairobi’s central business district, first to the Embassava bus station, and then to the Inspector General of Police and the Chief Justice to demand justice and an end to these attacks. In Kenya, one in five women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime and an estimated 45% of Kenyan women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical or sexual violence – and these numbers are likely to be much higher, as survivors rarely report the attack to authorities.

During the peaceful demonstration, however, some bus conductors confronted the activists, threatening violence and yelling “you will wear clothes” while ripping pieces of clothing and shoving and throwing rocks at demonstrators. Other bystanders harassed passing women, shouting lewd comments. One woman remarked, “I joined the protest feeling empowered to see so many coming together to stand up against violence against women, but in leaving, I felt more unsafe as a woman in my own city, especially considering the police were standing by watching as things escalated.”

We Want Action!

The attacks in Kenya underscore the large scale of sexual and gender-based violence that persists in societies around the world. Such violence reinforces a power dynamic that women and their bodies are public property, open for public comment, harassment or worse. Today we want action; we have had enough of patriarchal norms that dictate what a woman wears and rob women of their personal rights and autonomy.

Kenya must uphold the rights of all its citizens and protect women and girls from sexual violence, in line with the 2010 Constitution, the Sexual Offenses Act, the Penal Code, and its obligations under regional and international human rights instruments. As a party to the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, Kenya is required to prevent all forms of violence against women – particularly sexual and verbal violence – and to ensure that adequate resources are allocated towards this obligation, including preventative and monitoring measures.

TAKE ACTION NOW! 

Join Equality Now, the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights coalition – including the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW) and FEMNET -- and Africa UNiTE Kenya Chapter in calling on the officials below to ensure justice for the victims and to promptly address the normalization of violence against women, by:

  • Immediately investigating and arresting all perpetrators of the attacks; urgently deploying police squads to public bus stations to prevent gender violence, including harassment.
  • More aggressively cracking down on those inciting violence and similar attacks on women, whether in public or on social media, pursuant to Section 96 of the Penal Code.
  • Comprehensively and urgently addressing the Kenyan Government’s obligation to combat violence against women, including: community sensitization and awareness campaigns, regulatory action to ensure accountability of bus operators, and necessary legal reforms to strengthen the 2006 Sexual Offenses Act in light of these offenses.
  • Urging the media to exercise caution in sharing the graphic videos of the women being attacked and stripped, as the videos re-victimize and stigmatize the survivors and are emboldening copycat criminals. Ultimately, these videos should be treated as evidence of criminal activity.

 

Letters should be addressed to:

H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta
President of the Republic of Kenya
P.O. Box 30040
Nairobi, Kenya
@StateHouseKenya, @UKenyatta
info@president.go.ke

Hon. William Ruto
Deputy President
Office of The Deputy President
Harambee Avenue
P.O. Box 74434 - 00200 
Nairobi, Kenya
dp@deputypresident.go.ke
@WilliamsRuto

Hon. Prof. Githu Muigai
Attorney General
Department of Justice
Harambee Avenue
P.O Box 40112-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
oagpcomms@kenya.go.ke
@AGMuigai

Hon. Winfred Lichuma
Chairperson
National Gender & Equality Commission
Solutions Tech Place, Longonot Road, Upper Hill
P.O.Box 27512-00506
Nairobi, Kenya
info@ngeckenya.org
@NGECKenya

Hon. Keriako Tobiko
Director of Public Prosecutions
Attn: SGBV Unit
Office of the DPP
NSSF Building, 19th Fl
Bishops Road
P.O. Box 30701-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
info@odpp.go.ke
@ODPP_KE

Hon Dr. Willy Mutunga
Chief Justice
Supreme Court of Kenya
City Hall Way
P.O. Box 30041-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
chiefjustice@judiciary.go.ke
@WMutunga

Hon. Isaac Kiprono Ruto
Chairman of the Council of Governors and Governor of Bomet County
Delta House 2nd Floor 
Chiromo Road, Off Waiyaki Way
P.O. Box 40401-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
info@cog.go.ke
@KenyaGovernors

Hon. Cecily Mbarire 
Chairperson  
Kenya Women Parliamentary Association
P.O. Box 41842 00100 Nairobi, Kenya
info@kewopa.org
@KEWOPA

Mr. Simon Kimutai 
National Chairman
Matatu Owners Association
Tumaini House, 4th Floor
P.O. Box 2462-KNH
Nairobi, Kenya
moakenya2003@yahoo.co.uk

Dear ______,

I am deeply concerned about the recent rise in violent attacks and harassment of women in Kenya, and am particularly disturbed by reports of women being stripped, beaten and publicly humiliated for being “indecently dressed.” Much more must be done – and urgently – to prevent such attacks and to systematically address and eradicate violence against women. Women and girls in Kenya have a fundamental right to feel safe in their own communities, whether about town or commuting to and from employment, irrespective of their attire.   

The attacks in Kenya underscore the large scale of gender-based violence that persists in societies around the world, reinforcing a power dynamic that women and their bodies are public property, open for public comment, harassment or worse. Today, we want action from you to address these manifestations of violence against women that robs women of their personal rights and autonomy.

Kenya must uphold the rights of all its citizens and protect women and girls from sexual violence, in line with the 2010 Constitution, the Sexual Offenses Act, the Penal Code, and its obligations under regional and international human rights instruments. As a party to the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, Kenya is required to prevent all forms of violence against women – particularly sexual and verbal violence - and to ensure that adequate resources are allocated towards this obligation.

I join Equality Now, the Solidarity of African Women’s Rights coalition – including the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW) and FEMNET, and Africa UNiTE Kenya Chapter in calling for justice for those attacked, ensuring that the survivors are not re-victimized and stigmatized and for Kenyan authorities to aggressively and comprehensively address violence against women. 

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Yours sincerely,

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