Kenyan protesters have mobilized behind a young school girl who was brutally raped by a group of six men in the western region of the country last year.
The case initially gained international notoriety due to the punishment that was issued to the men responsible for the attack, who were ordered to cut grass surrounding the police station and subsequently let go.
The crime for which cutting grass was deemed an adequate punishment was the brutal gang-rape of a 16-year-old girl who has been known by the pseudonym Liz. According to Raw Story, Liz was returning from her grandfather’s funeral in June 2013 when the attack occurred, and the group of men dumped her bleeding and unconscious body in a sewage ditch where she broke her back and suffered internal injuries before being discovered.
Liz was familiar with some of the men involved in the attack, as they attend a school near her own, according to The Guardian.
Although protests took place online and worldwide after the initial story sparked outrage, individuals in Kenya have been vocally demanding justice for Liz now that the trial for at least one of the suspects has begun in Western Kenya.
Nairobi-based women’s rights activist Nebila Abdulmelik cited various reports that found eight out of 10 Kenyan women have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point during their lives.
“Letting rapists walk free after making them cut grass has to be the world’s worst punishment for rape. There is a silent epidemic in Kenya. It’s not as loud as in Congo or South Africa, but the statistics are high,” Abdulmelik said.