“Women for Women” fighting Gender Based Violence

UNFPA Country Deputy Director Gift Malunga during the Women for Women platform.

Gender Based Violence (GBV) is perhaps the most widespread and socially tolerated of human rights violations in the world.

Kenya is not an exception to the human rights violation, cutting across ethnicity, class, and even religion with the history of GBV in Kenya littered with grave rights abuses especially on women and girls.

That is why women professionals in Kenya under the banner “Women for Women” gathered over the weekend to strategize and ensure gender based violence against women becomes a thing of the past in Kenya.

The professionals drawn from the judiciary, medical, civil society and Journalists among others condemned the act urging women to stop the silence and speak about the evil deed.

High Court Judge Lady Justice Hannah Okwengu who is the co-chair Women for women platform said the number of women who continue to suffer in silence is on the rise with a new crop of educated and empowered women also forming part of the statistics of ladies who continue to suffer in silence at the hands of merciless men.

“Breaking the silence is the first step to transforming the culture of gender-based violence women need to start talking about it,” reiterated Lady Justice Okwengu.

Lady Justice Okwengu stated that two of the biggest threats to the well-being of Kenyan girls and women are preventable through the right investment.

She stated despite existence of legislation, and awareness efforts, GBV remains endemic in Kenya, and its victims – primarily women and girls.

“The 2014 Kenya Demographic Health Survey showed that 41% of Kenyan women had experienced Gender-Based Violence (GBV) while 21% had undergone FGM. In some regions, close to 97% of women and girls have undergone FGM,” added Lady Justice Okwengu.

Women for women platform co-chair Dr. Christine Sadia from the Kenya Medical Women Association said Kenya, like most nations across the globe parades a population which consists of almost 50% women and girls and therefore, their critical contribution through productive engagement in society cannot be ignored in the quest for national socio-economic development in keeping with Vision 2030.

“Maternal mortality and gender based violence, including Female Genital mutilation (FGM) and early child marriages are challenges we need to address,” affirmed Dr. Sadia.

The event was organized by the United  Nations  population Fund –UNFPA the Country representative Dr. Ademola Olajide said men should be involved in the war against GBV to achieve meaningful results.

“You cannot do this without men, they are the aggressors but at the same time they can be used to change the situation”.

Dr. Ademola said the Women for women Platform will give women an opportunity to actively intervene and interrogate issues facing women and girls in Kenya and deepen the dialogue with the aim of evolving practical result-oriented action, all aimed at promoting the well-being of women and children.

A collaboration of women judges association and the Kenya women Medical Association with the support of UNFPA established a women4women platform advocacy forum to undertake strategic interventions to empower right holders and ensure well-being of women and girls in Kenya.

The law documents a variety of crimes targeting women in the country, including FGM, cases of rape, defilement, forced pregnancy, and deliberate transmission of HIV among others.

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Story By Heminigilder Mugeni
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