A call to action against gender-based violence

The stories detailed how GBV has affected women, in silence.

Photo credit: Photo I Pool

Femicide, the targeted and violent killing of women and girls, has become common in Kenya, revealing deep-seated issues of gender-based violence and discrimination. The recent spate of cases, such as the brutal murder of a young woman in Roysambu, underscores the urgent need for comprehensive action to address this grave violation of human rights.

In Kenya, GBV is a serious and pressing issue that demands immediate attention and concerted efforts to address one of its most egregious manifestations: Femicide.

Despite recent initiatives, including the adoption of a GBV indicator in the government's performance monitoring framework and increased resource allocation in June 2021, the alarming frequency of femicide cases in the past month signals a critical need for more comprehensive and targeted actions.

Despite these efforts, the recent spike in cases within a month raises serious concerns about the effectiveness of current measures. Femicide is not only a tragic loss of individual lives but also a stark indicator of deeper societal issues that perpetuate violence against women. The fact that such incidents continue to occur despite the government's initiatives calls for a critical examination of the root causes and a reevaluation of strategies to combat femicide.

It often thrives in an environment of silence and complicity. It is imperative to encourage survivors to speak out, report incidents, and seek help without fear of stigma or retaliation. Community awareness campaigns, coupled with accessible and confidential reporting mechanisms, can empower victims and witnesses to break the cycle of violence.

Femicide goes beyond mere statistics; it represents a profound failure of the state and society to protect the lives of women and girls. The intentional nature of these killings, often driven by gender-based violence and discrimination, highlights the pressing need for systemic change.

Femicide is not only a crime against individuals but also a reflection of broader issues rooted in gender inequality and deeply entrenched anti-feminist cultural norms.

Kenya must prioritise legal reforms that provide better protection for women and girls. This includes strengthening laws against gender-based violence, closing loopholes that allow perpetrators to escape justice, and ensuring that law enforcement agencies are adequately trained to handle cases of femicide.

Doris Kathia, Nairobi