Month: November 2016

Why Are We So Casual About Sexual Assault?

Google Images

Google Images

A couple of weeks back someone, somewhere, decided to share the gruesome video of a man being sodomised by several men in turns. I don’t know who recorded the graphic video and who thought it was worth posting online, but it was posted all the same and widely shared before the video was pulled down. The man’s crime to warrant such vile treatment, according to the story accompanying the video, was that he had been caught red handed sleeping with another man’s wife. And so these other men, “tasked with maintaining law and order in the community” (personally I think they are rapists and  should spend the rest of their lives behind bars)  were simply teaching him a lesson.

What kind of lesson?! And for someone to actually record it and post it online as if it was the most noble thing to do. These are not people maintaining law and order, according to me. These are heartless criminals hiding behind the veil of gangs, that met out punishment to supposed wrongdoers and in the vilest of ways. My heart went out to that man who despite his indiscretions, had been forced to go through such an ordeal under the glare of phone cameras, for a crime which could have easily been sorted out by the area chief.

Fast forward to a few days back. I think at the start of the KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination)  and this candidate sitting her exams was attacked by 4 men, who proceeded to rape her, on her way to school in the morning. So the story made it to the prime time news. And how her ordeal had been handled shocked me. In a wise move, she had been rushed to a medical facility for immediate treatment and counseling but for some reason, the people handling her case decided that she was okay enough, to still sit for her paper as she was taken back to school to continue with her exams. I couldn’t believe if what I had heard from the reporter was actually true.

This is a young girl, 17 or 18 years old, still a teenager, who had just been raped and adults somewhere, actually assumed that she could sit for her papers just hours after being raped?! That the little counseling she had received deemed her fit mentally to concentrate on her final exams for her secondary school education. Who reasons like that?! Since when did examinations become more important than a person’s psychological state?

These two horrifying incidents are what have led me to firmly believe that quite a number of people still display some level of casualness regarding sexual assault. There are things that a section of people, continue to consider harmless regardless of all the awareness on sexual assault, that they have been exposed to in the past. Sexual assault, according to a definition by Wikipedia, is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.

It is refreshing to note though, that the aforementioned video was greatly condemned by many who got to view it. That shows that there is still hope in this war against violence of a sexual nature. We need to take stern action against perpetrators of this heinous crime. One of the issues of the Nairobian newspaper, spoke of parents in Western Kenya protecting relatives who had molested minors in the family. According to me, when such a thing happens, the parent should step up as the child’s guardian, put all blood relation considerations aside and have the perpetrator arrested.

Why are we allowing our children to continue living with inflicted scars that they dare not speak about? Do we want those poor children, unfortunate enough to have been molested by a relative, whom the family later protected from facing any criminal charges, to equally grow up thinking it is okay to molest children as adults? Do we want them to take their own lives because they cannot bare the shame and torment that the incident caused them?

It is time that we collectively spoke up against sexual assault. Whether it is sodomy or rape or any of the other forms of sexual assault, it is still sexual assault. No man or woman asks to be raped or sodomised. No child asks to be molested. We need to be responsible adults. We need to ensure that victims of sexual assault receive adequate counseling and medical help. Parents need to clearly state to their children from an early age what is appropriate touching and what is not. The more we treat sexual assault casually, the more the rot seeps deep into our society and that is not a society worth being a part of. This is more like a wake up call for all of us to give sexual assault, the seriousness it deserves and in the process, protect our society from sex offenders.

 

Why Are Kenyans So Fixated On The American Vote?

Photo Credit: Internet Sources

Photo Credit: Internet Sources

I said I will be gone for 3 months but the events that are unfolding in the US election at the moment couldn’t keep me away for so long. So I’ll just leave this here and resume my other preoccupation that is unfortunately, taking up too much of my time to effectively concentrate on this blog that I love so much.

I’m not a politics person but I can’t help but experience this feeling of dread in me that Republican Donald Trump could actually be winning this election. And I guess this feeling I’m experiencing is shared by many Kenyans. But we are miles and oceans away, so why bother?

When Obama became the 44th president of the US, it was euphoric for us Kenyans. Obama’s father is from our soil and despite the fact that Obama was born and raised in the US, Kenyans felt as if a part of them was represented in none other than a superpower.

We are Africans. And in Africa, ties are so important that we sometimes claim people belonging to the same clan as our blood brothers and sisters. But since I have quite a number of foreign readers following this, I will not delve into just how much we value ties. However, in our African minds, Obama is ours and that fact alone gave us so much comfort the period that he has been in office.

Come campaign time in 2016 and we have Clinton and Trump. Hilary is this prim and proper candidate who has quite a huge chunk of years of experience in public office. She definitely understands what running a country actually entails. Then we have Donald who according to many, is just but a privileged savvy businessman who does not have the slightest fear in speaking his mind. It doesn’t seem to matter to him whether he rubs people the wrong way or not but whatever is on his mind, he will just say it. Often statements intended to ruffle feathers a bit or a hell of a lot more.

And he does not seem to care whether Obama has relations in Kenya for that matter and what it actually means to Kenyans. Weirdly enough, Kenyans expected Donald Trump to actually care no wonder some of this dread we are experiencing at the moment at the turn of events. In addition, there are comments made by Trump in the past that kind of painted him as insensitive toward other races considered minorities and also as a super misogynist.Things I personally do not agree with.

So definitely, we are looking at this man who isn’t the slightest bit fazed by negative publicity arising from him speaking his mind and we are actually really scared, that all those things he said, could actually become a reality once he is in power. And we are more scared of the implications of it on immigrants from nations that Trump seemed to have quite unsavory statements to make concerning them. So what happens to Hispanics? What happens to Kenyans, Senegalese, Nigerians… in the US? Is he really going to build that wall at the border of Mexico and the US that he threatened to build? What if Kenyans get sent packing back to Kenya?

However, I will confidently say this and this is simply my opinion, that whether Americans decide to vote for Trump as the 45th president of the US or Clinton, it is solely their decision to make. We really have no influence as Kenyans over the American vote. Many of us are scared out of our wits by racism in my country, because it is something we haven’t quite experienced. Oh yes, we are familiar with tribalism which we engage in shamelessly on a daily basis, but we are definitely scared of being discriminated against because of color. And Trump seems not to really spare a thought for people of color on a frequent basis.

It should be noted however, that some of Trump’s supporters and I’m sure, who voted for him, are actually Americans falling in the Black and Hispanic categories and women who were privy to his previous sexist remarks. Meaning these people did not take his statements to heart or they chose to look the other way and focus on what they thought was good for their country. And that is why I emphasize that voting depends on the people of that country’s choice. It does not depend on emotions and thoughts of people from other countries who feel a connection to the said country like Kenya.

I personally was for Clinton and mainly because she is a woman who has defied odds to vie for the top office but I equally do not think that Trump is foolish. If he is going to emerge the winner, he will definitely have to reconsider some of his stances that he made public in the race for presidency. He will have to consider economic and diplomatic ties with other nations. He will have to look at what is best for America despite whatever public/private thoughts he may harbor towards certain people from certain races and religion.

You cannot run a nation and specifically a superpower, based on buffoonery and I’m sure that is something Trump and his advisors already know. So he may have exhibited all this unnecessary attention seeking drama during the campaign trail but if at all he gets the top seat, he has a lot of work cut out for him to do. And sending immigrants he considers a pain packing back home definitely, will not be at the top of his list.

So Kenyans, relax and focus on your own general elections come 2017. We have a lot of planning and decision making to do back here.