The ugly face of violence reared its head in Kenya after the presidential elections of December, and I now know that crisis was a window into the status of women’s rights in Kenya and the gaps in responding to sexual and gender-based violence in this country.
Since the crisis in Kenya began, I haven’t yet heard of a woman who picked up a machete and killed her neighbor. As in many conflict-ridden places in the world, women stand out as victims as well as the ones who are looking for peaceful means to resolve the situation.
Efforts to curtail the spread of HIV/AIDS are about to go to waste in Kenya, if the current political crisis is not dealt with fast. Widespread sexual violence, displacement, and lack of access to providers are all contributing to the spread of the disease.
The political crisis in Kenya is deeply affecting women — the number of rape survivors seeking treatment has doubled in a Nairobi hospital — but business as usual in Kenya before the crisis wasn’t good for women, either.
As is usual with political upheaval, the crisis in Kenya is falling heavily on women and children.