Kibera is among the largest slums in Africa. The informal settlement is once again making headlines after several ladies and girls started writing on the street canvasses and roads to express their feeling of what they go through concerning sexual harassment. One lady in Ms. Yusuf has come to help other ladies living in Kibera fight back. She is stepping in situations where most ladies feel powerless. Why are Kenyan women writing on the streets? You may ask. Here’s why.
By the use of markers and chalk, Ms. Yusuf, together with other women, is writing what they feel concerning sexual harassment. They do hope that their move will help trigger debate concerning sexual harassment on the street.
According to Ms. Yusuf, whenever men insult her, she always stops and faces them back, demanding to know the reason behind the insult. However, this can be a bit difficult for underage girls. She claims that is the reason why such a campaign is of great importance. More women need to stand up and face the people who harass them.
The Shocking Messages
Several shocking messages are being written on the canvasses and street roads.
Respect my body! There was a painting on the road with that message. Others, which were written in the Swahili language, did reveal even more disturbing messages. There was one, “You think you are too good, yet you are still a virgin!”
According to 20-year-old Caroline Mwikali, there are slurs which are usually in sheng’ that has been disturbing to her. It has also caused more damage to her physiologically. She reveals that it is impossible to walk down the street without encountering a male who will say anything nasty to you. Caroline further reveals that some men refer to them as animals. Why are Kenyan women behaving this way is a question many ask.
The No go Zone for females
UN reveals that lack of comparative and conclusive policies and data on sexual harassment in various countries was one of the challenges they face when fighting for girls’ safety.
A survey on the international street survey did reveal one out of 10 females did report their experience. The main reason is women are not sure of what the authorities will be doing with what they consider as a crime.
Professionals do agree that harassment on the street has been hindering the participation of women in public spaces. This means that women will always be forced to change their character for them to fit in.
Caroline further reveals that she will never pass where a group of men is, especially in the evening.
With the world continuing to mark activism against gender violence, females are continuing to march seeking more justice concerning sexual harassment.
Men do gather around as the ladies continue writing on the street roads and canvasses. They do confess that the writings are an eye-opener to what sexual harassment had led to.
There is great hope that the war against sexual harassment will be overcome as the ladies from Kibera continue with their campaign. They also hope they will get the attention required and support.