UON on the spot over insensitive memo on rape

UON insecurity

In a shocking circular, University of Nairobi director accuses female students of recklessness, blaming them for rape, insecurity incidents

Thursday February 27 2020

The University of Nairobi (UON) is on the spot after details emerged of an insensitive memo to female students on rape incidents at the institution.
Kenyans rebuked the university management after the memo that blamed female students for being careless, thus inviting the rape leaked.
A number of rape cases of female students have been reported in the institution since last year, a thing that has left students worried about their security.
In a circular that shocked many Kenyans, the university’s director of security and safety services Major Simon Cherutich blamed female students for the rape cases, accusing them of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“In all the three incidences reported since last year, a clear case of recklessness on the part of female students can be drawn. In one of the incidences, a female student entertained herself in various joints in the city and decided to walk all alone while drunk from the city centre to the hostels at SWA. Unfortunately, she met her assailants next to KEMU building at around 00500 hrs where her bag was snatched and raped in turns by three men,” read part of the memo.
The director in the memo advised students to always attend social places in the company of trusted friends.


“They should also avoid social functions with no clear agenda, not to leave their drinks unattended and not to accept sweets, opened drinks from strangers in social places,” the director advised in the memo.
The memo also listed four black spots for the rape, robbery and assault of students: Nyerere Road adjacent to central Bank, next to cooperative bank near KEMU University, St Paul Chapel and University Way round about.
After an uproar on social media, the Vice-Chancellor Prof Stephen Kiama issued an apology, terming the memo insensitive.
“The memo does not represent the corporate image of University of Nairobi,” said Prof Kiama.
He said the memo is “highly regretted” adding that he was at the disposal of the students whenever they needed him in case of trouble.
The VC directed students to call the department of security and services, the department that absolved itself of responsibility for the cases of insecurity.
The memo from the university add to a list of sexual complaints, which university administrations have apportioned to other causes, other than insecurity.
Cases of rape in public universities have been on the rise, a thing that has raised concern among students, parents and the institutions management.
In December last year, Maseno University students’ rioted against the rape of their colleagues around the Mabungo areas.


The students had lamented that the university was unable to offer security for their colleagues who had not been lucky to get accommodation within the school.
Maseno University Vice-Chancellor Prof Julius Nyabundi announced then that the senate had agreed to close the school.
Nyanza Regional Police boss, Dr Vincent Makokha, said then that the wrangles between the new and old student leadership might have led to the riots.
Dr Makokha told Nation: "The riots could have been (stage) managed. A section of the students were not prepared for the ongoing exams"
In November last year, a Kibabii University student was raped and her left arm chopped in Bungoma Town.
In January last year, a first-year student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Jkuat) was stabbed to death as she resisted robbers.
Tabitha Muthoni was walking with a friend near Segal Hotel at 8pm when they were confronted by thugs. Tabitha resisted while her friend complied. She was stabbed on the neck before the thugs fled.She later succumbed to her wounds.
In the first 15 days of November last year, ten JKUAT students were waylaid on their way from school, some as early as 4pm. The students have, in the past, demonstrated over their security, following several attacks targeting them.
A consultative stakeholders’ meeting bringing together Juja business community, the university community, hostel owners, security agencies and local leaders to explore ways to arrest the insecurity was held in November last year.