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Women are not safe anymore

Friday February 28 2020

By ABIGAIL ARUNGA
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Here’s an idea – if men stop raping women, then women won’t get raped.

And here’s another idea – if universities had better security, better accountability and better typing and analytical skills, they wouldn’t put out such tripe in the name of press releases, putrid with victim shaming and oblivion, smacking of the patriarchy they were reared in.

I can’t have been the only Kenyan woman who read that press release and almost didn’t get to the end of it. I can’t have been the only one wondering why in the world men tend to hate women so much. I can’t have been the only one thinking how is it that of all the crimes in the world, rape is the one that is blamed on the one who survives that horror?

When your house is robbed, do they ask if you left the house open? When your car is stolen, do they tell you its tyres looked too tempting to resist? When people die from hunger in Kenya because corruption is rife, are they told that they should have fought back against it?

It’s so tiring to once again have to repeat a message to an audience that does not seem to be listening – stop telling women how not to get raped.
Tell men to stop raping.

It’s simple math.

When I say Kenya hates its women, I think of how women running for political parties have to have training on how to avoid assault on a campaign trail. I think of Mildred Atty Owiso, who has become so seasoned at police attacks and brutality that it’s gotten to the point where she tapes the interactions, again, tiredly. I think of how women are only taken seriously when they’re your mother or your daughter – before these pedestals, we cannot be considered whole, or worthy of opinion. I think of how our two-thirds gender rule continues to be illegally flouted, and how little people care about that, regardless of statistics worldwide that show that the tide is finally changing and that women only make governments better. I think of how every woman has to plan her route home past 6pm in a way that avoids drunk men, working men, talking men, young men, old men, foreboding men, smiling men, related men, men. I think about how many times women are stripped in the streets. I think about all the men who stand by and let it happen. I think about how I have been writing this exact same article for the last two decades of my life. And I wonder how someone can ever think that the perpetrators, the bystanders, the quiet ones, the watchers, the enablers, of the violence are not the problem.

If men aren’t trash, well then, prove it.

Twitter: @AbigailArunga