Mathare women outraged at Kenyan government failures

Group work at a feedback and consultation workshop held in Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya by AI and partners from the community. 12 July 2010.

Group work at a feedback and consultation workshop held in Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya. 12 July 2010. © Amnesty International

“When we go to the police, all too often we are asked demeaning questions, especially when it comes to reporting sexual violence. Now we need to focus on what we can do to ensure that this doesn’t happen. I think that we need to reinforce the community policing groups which provide an intermediary between the community and police.”
A female participant of Amnesty International’s feedback and consultation workshop in Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya, 12 July 2010.

The fourth of five workshops being done in Nairobi’s slums saw women from Mathare, one of Nairobi’s largest slums, work diligently to strategize how to end the human rights violations being perpetrated against them on a daily basis. They were focusing on security, or the lack of it, for women in slums where violence against women is widespread and goes largely unpunished because of ineffective policing.

Part of the workshop was dedicated to feeding back the findings of the research done on security for women in slums. The participants of the workshop also contributed to the research done in February 2010. The studies have been compiled in the report Insecurity and Indignity: women’s experiences in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya which was distributed to the women.

I remember being very moved when we interviewed a women in Mathare as part of the research in February. Many of the women were victims of rape – at home, at work and on the street. One of the women quoted in the report as Amina, who was nearly raped on her way to the toilet by four men she knew, attended today’s workshop. Her ideas were invaluable in terms of strategizing on how to end the indignity and insecurity that women face each day. The failure of the government to ensure that women in slums are able to access adequate housing and essential services, such as toilets and places to wash is a human rights scandal. The women of Mathare are not afraid to tackle the problem head on.

Posted in Demand Dignity, International Organizations, Kenya, Women | 1 Comment

  1. Michael Wild of Australia says:

    I am not a policeman or lawyer but I feel that criticizing the Kenyan police for not gaining the trust of women of sexual assaults could be a little harsh given the problems in the most well resourced and “enlightened” cultures and coutries. It’s something particularly unpleasant to report and very hard to get a evidence that would stand up in court. The legal process is also lenghty and inevitably results in hostile cross examination. My feeling is that the legal process is a very blunt instrument of social policy here and the Kenyan women got it right when she said the aim should be preventing it happening.

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