“Not all men practice violence against women but all women live with the threat of male violence every single day.” –
Eunice Wangari Wakimbi and Velvine Nungari Kinyanjui.
The two names have made headlines for the past two weeks because they are victims of crimes perpetrated by men.
Eunice had to narrate to a Nairobi court this week about how her boyfriend, whom she met on Facebook, threw her from the 12th floor of a building while they were drinking together on their first date. Eunice said she rebuffed his sexual advances which angered him, leading to a fight that led to her being thrown out of a window on the 12th floor of the Ambank House.
Moses Gatama Njoroge was charged with one count of causing grievous bodily harm for the incident that occurred on September 13, 2020.
Before we heard about Eunice, social media was awash with stories about Velvine Nungari Kinyanjui. Velvine was raped, battered and left for dead. At the time of her death, she was being treated for spine-related complications and cervical fractures at the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital. Dr Kimani, the pathologist who conducted her autopsy, said she had developed compression fractures on her vertebral column before succumbing to the collapse of the lungs. Velvine was 23-years old.
Velvine’s perpetrator, Joseph Kinyua Murimi, was charged with rape and released on a KSh.100,000 cash bail.
Those two stories are still ongoing this week and yet a local radio station today (Friday) had to issue an apology after two of their presenters, Shaffie Weru and Dj Joe Mfalme, said Nairobi women are “loose” and “too available” while discussing Eunice’s story. Although the two presenters have since issued apologies, many have been quick to point out that this rhetoric is a symptom of a bigger issue.
Official Statement Following Remarks Made On The Breakfast Show. pic.twitter.com/UjkvefLAZt
— Homeboyz Radio (@HomeboyzRadio) March 26, 2021
— DJ Joe Mfalme (@DjJoeMfalme) March 26, 2021
While Eunice and Velvine are the two stories we are talking about this week, their stories are unfortunately not unique. A report released in 2014 by the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey said 42 per cent of women and 36 per cent of men believe that a husband is justified in beating his wife for at least one of these reasons: if the wife burns the food, argues with him, goes out without telling him, neglects the children, or refuses sexual relations. Additionally, according to the report, 45 per cent of women and girls aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence and 14 per cent have experienced sexual violence.
In 2018, the Human Rights Watch recommended that the Kenyan Government set up an Office of the Special Rapporteur on Sexual Violence, as recommended by both the Commission of Inquiry into the 2007-2008 Post-Election Violence and the Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission. In 2020, UNICEF said that a third of all crimes reported in Kenya since the pandemic are related to sexual violence.
Stories of violence against women are not a local evil, the World Health Organisation called it a “global public health crisis.”
Therefore, while public apologies and platitudes are great, and some are done in good faith, it is not enough to end this scourge. Stories like Eunice’s and Velvine’s will continue to happen if men don’t view these cases as crimes or continue to joke about them.
What a shame!
A few minutes after apologizing you engage in a discussion belittling the harm you caused & the issue? And even RT them.
— Adelle Onyango (@ADELLEO) March 26, 2021
“It’s about time that the issue was recognised at the very top. Now, we intend to pick up on it and make sure that we hold the state to account be at police station level or prosecution level,” – Judy Gitau, regional coordinator for Equality Now.