YWLI with support from The African Women’s Development and Communications Network (FEMNET), Oxfam International and The European Union (EU) under the Strengthening Women’s Networks Greater Impact (STITCH) project launched a six months campaign aimed at mobilising actions at different levels, challenging various patriarchal notions and public discourse that supports femicide or blames various forms of violence against women and girls on the victims/ survivors. The Campaign analyses policies that need reform, call for reformulation and implementation linking such concerns to various women’s rights policies and the prevention of violations such as those encompassed in sexual harassment policies.
Women and girls in Kenya face the threat of violence every day with 47% of women aged 15-49 years experiencing gender-based violence and/or sexual violence once in their life. These violent attacks on women and girls take place at home, in public, at school and in their communities.A study by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics showed that 23.6 per cent of Kenyans have witnessed or heard cases of domestic violence in their communities since the introduction of COVID-19 containment measures. According to UN Women Kenya, an average of eight women died every month in 2019 due to femicide, February being the worst with 17 deaths. According to the World Health Organization, 38 per cent of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner. The national GBV Hotline 1195 received up to 810 cases in September alone (as of 29 September 2020) compared to 646 cases in August, indicating an increase of 25 per cent. The Ministry of Health stated that between Mid-March & June 2020, 5000 rape cases were reported, a 7% increase for the same period in 2019. 70% of victims were girls 18yrs & below. 95% of the perpetrators were men. At least 2,350 women and girls across the country need shelters and safe houses for protection from GBV. 69 percent of murders of African women are committed by a family member or romantic partner, a higher rate than any other region in the world.
Despite the rise in femicide and GBV cases since the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic, there is an apparent gap in official statistics and data on the number of violent deaths of women in Kenya. The media and several organizations only report the cases as they happen (with very many going unreported) and these reports are often written in a way that humanizes the murderers and shames/blames the victims. Data is often only available through the efforts of CSO’s, grassroots organizations and concerned individuals like Counting Dead Women Kenya social media pages.
According to Counting Dead Women Kenya , 46 women were victims of femicide in the four-month period between 1s t January – 2nd May 2019 . By the end of December, the number of victims in their database had risen above 100. All of these cases were shocking and brutal acts of crime including: Agness Tirop, a 25 yr old long distance Kenyan runner and two times bronze medalist was found murdered on the 13th Oct 2021 with stab wounds in her abdomen and neck in her home in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County. It’s suspected that she was killed by the man she called her husband. Her family reports that her marriage was abusive with Agnes facing abuse from her husband and that a day after she returned from the Tokyo Olympics her face was swollen from physical abuse. Her husband caked her parents and confessed to the murder and was arrested when trying to flee the country and arraigned in court for murder. Mombasa pastor stabs wife, kills himself on pulpit:On Sunday January 2020 news broke of a pastor who stabbed his wife and later killed himself at the pulpit. Elisha Misiko, 55, stabbed his wife Pastor Ann Mughoi on the pulpit in the middle of a service.Misiko died on the spot while his wife died at Coast General Hospital.According to the police report Masiko who pastored at Ground for God’s Gospel ministries in Kisauni called his wife to the pulpit as the service was going on and stabbed her in front of the congregation. And many more that didn’t reach the media.
Throughout the campaign period, YWLI’s strategic engagement has been guided by feminist values and an intersectional approach to dismantling the patriarchy. We use our existing theme of Voice, Power and Influence to amplify the collective actions of young women/feminists in their different areas of engagement and identities. We will emphasize the need for shifting narratives guided by feminist (power) analysis and continued effort in challenging societal norms that render girls and young women/feminists powerless and deny them the opportunity to enjoy their rights.
OBJECTIVE OF THE CAMPAIGN
· To raise awareness on the high prevalence of Femicide and other forms of violence against girls and women through media presence
· To advocate for the review and implementation of the sexual Offenses Act for accountability and protect women and girls from violence.