All men must stand and fight rising femicide

Sunday April 14 2019

Ivy Wangechi

An undated photo of Ivy Wangechi, who was killed at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, on April 9, 2019, by former schoolmate Naftali Njami Kinuthia. PHOTO | COURTESY 

OKORE SCHEAFFER
By OKORE SCHEAFFER
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There’s a conversation about teaching girls good behaviour and moral uprightness as a solution to gender violence that’s repulsive.

A fallacious belief that a lack of a better upbringing is the genesis of rising gender-based violence and femicide.

It’s as if we live in a dystopia and choose to particularly ignore the actuality of structurally rooted misogynistic violence that befalls women regardless of their moral repute.

Conversations like these are pegged on victim blaming in order to subdue women when there’s ample proof of women getting violated in spite of “good behaviour”, in their own homes, in church, at work, in police custody, in hospitals, in public vehicles and every possible place where a violator can access them.

VIOLENCE

That being the case, our focus should be on the systemic acceptance of violence as an expression of masculinity which relentlessly forces women to live in fear in the hands of men, specifically intimate partners.

It’s time to end the one-sided conversations as it’s undeniable that responsibility of women’s safety falls squarely in men’s hands.

This is evident in Kenya’s rising femicide cases, with the recent maddening murder of Ivy Wangechi.

A brutish murder that should’ve been taken seriously but instead was ridiculed out of its seriousness.

The way in which many people still underplay femicide by blaming victims, morality, economy and even Satan reveals the depths of rooted misogyny.

HOMICIDE

The Global Study on Homicide by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that 19,000 women were killed in 2017 by their intimate partners in Africa. This number has sadly risen in 2018/19 if we consider numerous unreported cases.

The report explored the scale of intimate partner killings of women and girls. It explains why intimate partner violence is rooted in widely-accepted gender norms about men’s general authority and their use of violence to exert control over women.

We must agree that any kind of violence against or murder of women is criminal and punishable no matter the ongoings so as to discontinue the problematic justifications of gender violence.

CRIMES

Secondly, we must recognise that there aren’t proper protection, reporting and safety measures for women that guarantee actual consequences against violent and murderous men and that even in their death, women still have to prove why they had a right to live.

Third, the escapist tactics surrounding gender-violence that victimises women and exonerates men only serves to compound violence.

Fourth, all gendered crimes must henceforth be treated as actual crimes and everyone involved needs a consciousness on how to handle these crimes without fueling more violence.

This is to reduce biases, disdain and disbelief involved in dealing with gender crimes within legal procedures.

Fifth, we need to include gender-transformative programmes that are effective in reducing sexual and gender-violence, improving sexual and reproductive health rights among adolescents as suggested by No Means No Worldwide.

CULTURAL NORMS

Lastly, the report insists on the involvement of men to aid in holding other men accountable in combating intimate partner killings and developing cultural norms that move away from violent masculinity as a crucial aspect requiring focus because gender violence cannot be our reality anymore.

The writer is a policy analyst; [email protected]

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