Kenyan University blames “reckless” female students for becoming victims of rape

Theodora Aidoo Feb 27, 2020 at 03:00pm

February 27, 2020 at 03:00 pm | Activism & Campaigns, News

Theodora Aidoo

Theodora Aidoo | Staff Writer

February 27, 2020 at 03:00 pm | Activism & Campaigns, News

The University of Nairobi in Kenya after blaming “reckless” female students for becoming victims of rape, has apologized following a petition started in response to the memo it sent.

The petition questioned how women could be blamed for being raped. According to a Kenya National Bureau of Statistics study from 2014, 14% of Kenyan women have experienced sexual violence.

The memo, signed by the head of security, at the University of Nairobi said the increasing cases of robbery and rape of university students in the capital, Nairobi, happened at areas close to campuses.

University of Nairobi apologises for blaming rape victims
Pic Credit: standardmedia.co.ke

“In all three incidences reported last year, a clear case of recklessness on the part of our female students can be drawn,” the memo said.

It cited the case of a drunken student who was gang-raped on her way back in the early hours of the morning.

The memo also included tips about how to keep safe in social gatherings, proposing that students go out with trusted friends always, memorise important numbers in case they lose a phone and never leave their drinks unattended.

A popular media personality, Adelle Onyango, took to Instagram to register her displeasure with the memo. “This is what victim shaming looks like,” she said.

The 31-year-old, who is a rape survivor, said she was infuriated by the memo. “This is what normalisation of rape looks like. And we will not stand for it.”

View this post on Instagram

“…A clear case of recklessness by our female students…” “…Rape involving female students…” Those students are victims of rape not participants. No condemnation of the rapists. No mention of what the university will do in collaboration with police to ensure safety of its students. No. They, an entire institution would rather assign blame NOT on the rapists but on the victims and even expose one victims story where they assign blame to her! And then these “TIPS” y’all keep throwing around at women. Right now, where we go, what time we will go there, who we will go with, how we will get there, what we will wear etc is governed by how safe we will be and that is NOT normal neither is it OK! If men just stopped raping us, rape will stop. This is what victim shaming looks like. This is what normalization of rape looks like. And we will not stand for it. PS: I’m turning off my comments because there’s always that one tone deaf triggering person and I’m protecting my energy.

A post shared by ADELLE ONYANGO (@adelleonyango) on

According to BBC, Ms Onyango is raising funds to launch Safe 24/7 to offer free therapy and support for survivors of rape.

“Right now, where we go, what time we will go there, who we will go with, how we will get there, what we will wear etc is governed by how safe we will be and that is NOT normal neither is it OK!

“If men just stopped raping us, rape will stop,” she said.

So far nearly 1,500 people have signed the petition which said: “Misogyny has been time and again endorsed by the powers in play in Kenya, and that has got to stop.”

Meanwhile, the Vice-chancellor for the University of Nairobi, Stephen Kaima, has admitted the security memo was “insensitive”.

He added that students were advised to call the security department whenever they faced “security challenges during day and night”.

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