, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 17 – A group of women held a demonstration in Nairobi on Monday to press for the arrest and prosecution of men who were captured stripping two women naked in Nairobi and Mombasa last week.
Speaking as they embarked on the protest to the Embassava bus terminus in Nairobi where one of the incidents took place, the group known as ‘Kilimani Mums,’ condemned the assault and urged Parliament to prioritise and pass the Family Protection Bill to guard against gender based violence.
An organizer of the event Ruth Knaust emphasised the need for setting up of special courts to prosecute cases of gender based violence.
“As concerned women and men, we stand in all solidarity with all survivors of gender based violence and call on all peace loving Kenyans to join us in breaking the silence around this shameful pandemic. Gender based violence affects women, men, boys and girls and if left to continue gaining currency will deny us healthy relationships,” she said.
The women marched from Uhuru Park, through Kenyatta Avenue to the bus terminus while chanting ‘My Dress My Choice.’
Co-organiser Diana Okello called on all Kenyans to respect the rights of other citizens terming the incident as barbaric.
“We are concerned that the government is silent on this issue especially when women are being assaulted. We especially want to know what the women we chose as leaders are doing. They must show us the reason why we put them in power. They should have been at the forefront in demanding for justice on the assault that took place at Embassava,” she stated.
The women came out in large numbers sporting skimpy clothing in defiance of the stripping, which has drawn outcry and criticism across the country.
They brought traffic to a standstill as they marched on city streets.
A number of men also showed solidarity with the cause and condemned the incident which many of the women described as revolting since it went against the freedom of expression and choice as enshrined in the Constitution.
“Men actually committed the crime and the images and videos we are seeing all over the place are of men actually assaulting women and doing the wrong thing. If men stopped rape, they would be no rape; if men stopped the assault, there would be no assault,” stated David Omondi, a businessman who came out in support of the initiative.
“We are not here because we are saying that the hemline should be very short or whatever. What might be comfortable with me may not be comfortable with you. We have our culture as well but this does not give someone the right to assault another,” said Celine Mburu.
The women indicated that the act demeaned women and reduced them to a sorry state which if unchecked would be detrimental to future generations.
“If you are not okay with the way someone is dressed, just look the other way or just find something and cover them but don’t strip them. It’s just not right. People are different all of us are not the same so whatever I may wear is not what another person may see fit for them and we need to respect that,” stated Jane Mwikali. “This is not only a woman’s’ problem, even the men have a problem because over the last week, we have had of so many assault cases.”
Deputy President William Ruto has directed that those who were filmed stripping women in Nairobi and Mombasa on claims that they were scantily dressed be prosecuted.
Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo has also requested the woman who was molested in Nairobi to record a statement with the nearest police.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has already ordered the police to undertake an investigation and arrest those involved in the Nairobi and Mombasa incidents.