Sexual harassment still exists in Kenya. Even though the country has been on the frontline to implement various laws and policies aimed at bringing an end to this vice. laws such as the sexual offenses act, and the 2006 penal code among others provide legal rights and enforceable actions to protect citizens against any form of sexual and gender-based violence.
During the generation equality forum that was held in June 2021, the government of Kenya made a brave decision to end gender-based violence including sexual violence by 2026. however many reported cases of sexual gender-based violence are never solved.
In many cases, victims of SGBV opt not to report their assaults or harassments due to the fear of not getting justice or sometimes they get threatened by perpetrators.
women are the most victims of sexual harassment however, this does not mean men are not assaulted or harassed sexually.
Most men fail to report the matter because it is thought that due to cultural expectations of masculinity it has been held that men are stronger than women thus forcing men who are victims of sexual violence not to seek justice.
What happens when victims of sexual harassment don’t get justice after they report the matter?
- victims commit suicide; it pains someone to see their abuser living freely without any fear yet they inflicted pain and shame on them.
- reduced productivity; some victims of sexual harassment quit jobs meant to help them financially because maybe the perpetrator was their workmate or boss who has not faced the law for the crime they committed.
- depression cases rise; when justice is not done to the victims of sexual harassment they sometimes prefer to be left on their own because they lack trust and have lost hope in people who could have helped them out.
- bitterness; victims can develop hate towards the gender that assaulted them or harassed them sexually. this is where you will hear people utter bitter words like,” all men are evil”
Although Kenya has a robust legal framework comprising national and international instruments against sexual violence, these laws are yet to be translated into a reality for both men and women in Kenya.
Here is an audio version of experiences by SGBV survivors