NAIROBI, Kenya – Demonstrations have erupted across major cities in Kenya as people protest against the escalating cases of femicide and other violence targeting women. The widespread outcry comes as the nation grapples with a surge in gender-based violence, prompting citizens to demand urgent action from the government.
In response to a 2022 survey revealing that one in three Kenyan women has suffered physical violence at some point, hundreds of individuals have gathered in Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa, Nyeri, and Lodwar to express their outrage. The demonstrators carry placards bearing the names of victims who have fallen prey to the epidemic of violence against women.
Winnie Chelagat, a 33-year-old participant in the protests, expressed her frustration, stating, “I am here because I’m angry. It is wrong, we are tired, and we want something to be done about it.” Chelagat’s words echo the collective sentiment of many who feel a sense of urgency in addressing the pervasive issue.
The protesters are calling for a shift in societal attitudes towards gender-based violence, insisting that men and boys must take responsibility for their actions. Michael Onyango, another demonstrator, emphasized the need to educate young men about rejecting violent behavior towards women, stating, “We should educate our sons and tell them that they need to stop killing women.”
Amnesty International has reported over 500 cases of femicide in Kenya between 2016 and 2023, with many of the victims being murdered by intimate partners or individuals known to them. The alarming statistics have sparked widespread demands for justice for victims of sexual and gender-based violence, prompting local rights groups to urge the government to declare femicide a national emergency and class it as a distinct crime.
The demonstrations have also drawn attention to the issue of victim-blaming, with social media users being called out for perpetuating harmful narratives that shift responsibility onto the victims. Despite Kenya having laws against gender-based violence, there is a prevailing sense that perpetrators often go unpunished, leading to prolonged court cases and a lack of justice for victims.
As the protests continue, the calls for action against gender-based violence grow louder, underscoring the pressing need for tangible change to protect women and girls from harm.