What you need to know:
- Efforts to convert men into allies in the fight against SGBV ought to debunk the misinformed perceptions they hold about the rights of women, says anti-SGBV advocate.
- Article 27 of the Kenyan Constitution, prohibits discrimination on any basis including gender.
Male anti-sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) champions have called on men to recognise and respect the rights of women.
African Women's Development and Communication Network (Femnet), Men to Men Program Advocacy Officer Mr Kennedy Odhiambo said social factors including culture, religion and companionship greatly influence a man’s behaviour.
“If the universality of human rights is not promoted in the narrative around gender equality and women’s rights, then we are missing the point,” he said during a March 31 Femicide and the Role of Men in Speaking against Violence discussion, convened by Centre for Rights Awareness and Education(Creaw) live on Facebook.
Efforts to convert men into allies in the fight against SGBV ought to debunk the misinformed perceptions they hold about the rights of women, he said.
“Sometimes we may find men operating based on other people’s perceptions…unfortunately this transcends education. You’ll find men who have gone to school; men who are in decision making institutions (and) men who are expected to be leaders having the same negative notions,” he said.
He, however, said culture is not static and therefore, it cannot be used as a justification to oppress men and women.
He said women are justified to decline men’s sexual advances as they have a right over their sexual and reproductive health.
Article 27 of the Kenyan Constitution, prohibits discrimination on any basis including gender. The provision rather demands of Kenyans to treat each other equally so that all can fully enjoy their rights.
Counting Dead Women- Kenya, an online community group that tracks cases of femicide in the country, has tallied eight women killed since the beginning of the year.
Mr Onyango Otieno, a trauma healing counsellor, said men should break away from the falsehood that women must meet the needs of men whenever they place their demands.
“We have been socialised to believe that women must always say yes to men…this should never be the case. A woman has the right to consent or say no,” he said.
“Can we start talking about creating a new man, a new reality, a new mind?” he asked.
SGBV is a costly damage. Some women and men die, while others are left with lifetime scars of physical pain, psychological torture and financial turmoil.
A survivor who may no longer be able to work because her or his hands have been chopped or the mind is too disturbed to focus, will need Sh24,797 annually for medico-legal help, at least according to estimates from National Gender and Equality Commission.