Mob Attacks On Kenyan Women Continue Despite Recent Protest

| by Jared Keever

Just hours after nearly 1,000 Kenyans took to the streets of downtown Nairobi, protesting a recent spate of attacks on women wearing short skirts, a group of 100 men were arrested for perpetrating another attack, police said. 

Nairobi police criminal investigations chief Nicholas Kamwende told The Associated Press the woman, who was attacked Monday evening, was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for her injuries. 

Kamwende characterized the attacks as a “menace.”

The protesters had been in the streets earlier that day to speak out against that very menace — a series of attacks in which mobs of men surrounded and stripped naked women deemed to be wearing immodest or provocative clothing, such as miniskirts. 

Videos of recent attacks had begun circulating on social media, sparking outrage in Nairobi. Victims of the attacks have reportedly been stripped, beaten and pushed. 

“I think the reason this sparked such outrage is it was so graphic and everyone who watched it felt violated,” Boniface Mwangi, a male activist who took part in the march for women’s rights, told Reuters

James Macharia, a 26-year-old Kenyan who watched the protest, said the women themselves are at fault for the attacks. 

“An African woman should be decent,” he said. ”They are provoking us. And I think we should put in place laws to curb that.”

At a smaller, rival demonstration nearby, 20 men chanted, “Dress up. We don't want this,” according to BBC News

But members of the larger protest, carrying banners that read “My Dress, My Choice,” said it was time for people to speak up in a country where sexual violence against women often goes unpunished.

Ciru Muriuki, a local radio producer, was one of them.

“African women are given a long list of things they need to do to earn respect, whereas men are respected just because they are men,” she said. “This is our way of saying, it's my body and I can dress it any way I see fit.”

Sources: ABC News (AP Story), Reuters, BBC News / Photo Credit: BBC News