Uhuru: What man stands by as women are stripped?

November 26, 2014 3:55 pm
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Kenyatta said it was the responsibility of every Kenyan to be their sister's keeper and the responsibility should not be left to the police alone/PSCU
Kenyatta said it was the responsibility of every Kenyan to be their sister’s keeper and the responsibility should not be left to the police alone/PSCU
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 26 – President Uhuru Kenyatta says those who film women being sexually assaulted or do nothing beyond watching such videos should be ashamed of themselves.

On Wednesday President Kenyatta said it was the responsibility of every Kenyan to be their sister’s keeper and the responsibility should not be left to the police alone.

“The girls who have been undressed have not been undressed somewhere quiet. There has been umati (a crowd) such as this watching but doing nothing. Doing absolutely nothing. In fact, we have been watching all this on social media rather than doing something, tuko pale tukitake pictures (we’re busy taking pictures) to post on social media. What did you do to help that person? You as a citizen what is your responsibility as a citizen?” he posed.

A question that was in keeping with the ‘take individual responsibility for our security’ theme of President Kenyatta’s address at the launch of a #HeforShe campaign at the University of Nairobi on Wednesday.

His remarks were made in response to various insecurity incidents in recent weeks that included the public gang stripping of women, by among others, police officers. An Administration Police Officer was charged for participating in one such stripping in the Kayole area of Nairobi.

The #HeforShe campaign – launched as part of the 16 days of activism against Gender Based violence – Devolution Secretary Anne Waiguru said, is aimed at rallying male support for the advancement and protection of women.

“What kind of society produces men who so nonchalantly undress and humiliate their sisters or even mothers in public? Don’t they have mothers and sisters?” Waiguru posed.

Waiguru whose Ministry also launched a National Policy on Prevention and Response to Gender Based Violence, said traditional values should not be used as an excuse to harass women over their attire.

“Our oral traditions and stories are full of heroic men who saved women and children from wars and ogres. Even the doyen of African Literature, Chinua Achebe himself noted that “it is not bravery when a man fights with a woman,” she quoted.

And given the demonstrated double standards in what men and women choose to wear, she said she felt her dress was not her choice given the prominence of her appointment.

“As a female minister sometimes I find myself harshly judged, I have to dress right, speak right, socialise right and even smile right. I am not allowed to express my uniqueness and choice without attracting a myriad of comments,” she said.

The abuse of the Internet to make such comments as well as to distribute video and photos of women being sexually assaulted was also a subject of Senate debate on Wednesday and was roundly condemned.

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