According to Kenyan media, at least 14 women have been killed in gender-based violence so far in 2024.
Thousands of people in Kenya took to the streets on Saturday across the country to decry the recent murders of more than a dozen women. The anti-femicide protests were the largest ever held against sexual and gender-based violence in the eastern African country.
During the “Feminist March Against Femicide,” marchers in the capital, Nairobi, held signs with slogans such as “being a woman should not be a death sentence” and “patriarchy kills.”
During the protests, participants held placards with the names and photographs of recent victims of gender violence.
The mostly female crowd in Nairobi marched toward Parliament, bringing traffic to a halt in the central business district, while shouting slogans such as “stop killing us.”
“Femicide is the most brutal manifestation of gender-based violence,” Amnesty International’s Kenya chapter said in a statement ahead of the march.
“It is unacceptable and must never be normalized,” the organization said, urging authorities to more vigorously investigate the cases and prosecute the perpetrators.
Over 30% of Kenyan women experience physical violence during their lives and 13% experience some form of sexual violence, according to a government report released in 2023. But human rights organizations say the figure only represents a fraction of the actual cases, alluding to the fact that many go unreported.
14 deaths in 2024
According to media reports, at least 14 women have been killed this year in acts of gender-based violence, which the government said has been “rising.” Figures are hard to come by.
Kenyan nonprofit Femicide Count, which keeps a tally of only reported incidents, said there were at least 152 cases of femicide in Kenya in 2023. A significant portion of femicide victims were killed by men they knew and trusted.
According to a report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, about 725 women and girls were murdered in Kenya in 2022.
Earlier this month two women who were killed at Airbnb accommodations in separate incidents. One of the victims was a university student who was dismembered and decapitated after she had been was kidnapped for ransom. According to police the a suspect is part of an extortionist gang which targets women through dating sites.
A week earlier, the body of another young woman was found in an apartment with several stab wounds after she went there with a man she met online.
Law Society of Kenya President Eric Theuri, who was among the demonstrators on Saturday, said cases of gender-based violence in Kenya took too long to be heard in court, which he believes emboldens perpetrators to commit crimes against women.
“As we speak right now, we have a shortage of about 100 judges. We have a shortage of 200 magistrates and adjudicators, and so that means that the wheel of justice grinds slowly as a result of inadequate provisions of resources,” Theuri said.
jcg/lo (AP, AFP)
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Publish date : 2024-01-28 17:32:46