Let’s set the record straight

It’s now the third month of Rise Again Campaign and to be honest, I cannot believe we have come this far. You have been a pivotal part of this campaign and I am so so grateful. More so, the feedback you have given has gone a long way in encouraging me and shaping the posts and content I put up. Receive a warm hug right now from me and the Rise Again team in total gratitude. 

In the coming weeks, I hope to talk about some of the myths and misconceptions I have come across from your feedback and address them. It will be helpful if you share with me some myths you know of and next week, I will include them in the post. Remember, change starts with you and me, so also take time to share these facts concerning myths and misconceptions with the people around you.

  1. MYTH: People, especially women, who wear sexy clothes are asking to be raped!

Sexual consent is not a non-verbal cue; sexual consent has to be verbally shared between two people. When we say to a woman, “Look at how you’re dressed! You’re asking for it!”, we’re putting the blame on her; thus, removing the responsibility from the perpetrator.

Also, if this were true then how would you explain children, Muslim women, old women and men who are fully dressed and are still raped? Rape and sexual assault are crimes of violence and control that stem from a person’s determination to exercise power over another. (1) 

One line from RISE AGAIN SONG is, ” blaming my short skirts and late nights, but if only they understood that misplacing the blame only empowers you (the rapist)”. This is a fundamental truth that we need to actively digest. If we place the blame on survivors with regard to how they dressed then we will never hold rapists accountable because they don’t rape because of the clothes. They rape solely as a choice they have made.

2. MYTH: If a person goes to someone’s room, house, or goes to a bar, he/she assumes the risk of sexual assault. If something happens later, he/she can’t claim that he/she was raped or sexually assaulted because he/she should have known not to go to those places.

This is a common narrative I have seen on Twitter whenever someone shares her rape story and further describes the location. Once people hear the survivor was at the perpetrators home or in a club or out at night, the conclusion is that the survivor went asking for it. Even if a person went voluntarily to someone’s residence or room and consented to engage in some sexual activity, it does not serve as a blanket consent for all sexual activity. (2) Like I stated, consent has to be verbally exchanged between two people, more so it has to be given out of free will. 

3. MYTH: If a survivor does not say “no” or does not “fight back,” it is not sexual assault.

Have you ever been under any threat? They say most people have three responses, Flee, Fight or Freeze. Well for rape survivors they experience the same. Many survivors experience tonic immobility or a “freeze response” during an assault where they physically cannot move or speak. (8)  Tonic immobility may hinder them from fighting back, other survivors may not actively resist for fear of angering the assailant and causing him to use more force in the assault. Peer pressure to be liked and not be talked about negatively by a peer will sometimes cause adolescents or children to avoid fighting back or actively resisting. (6)

4. MYTH: If a parent teaches a child to stay away from strangers they won’t get raped.

While this can help prevent rape, this is a myth because it assumes that one single act can fully protect a child from being raped. The reality is that nearly 1 in 3 Kenyan girls under the age of 18 experience sexual violence; and as many as 68% of school‐aged children report having experienced sex under “coercive conditions”. (3) In many cases, children are raped by people who they know or the family members know. 

More than 90% of rape and sexual assault survivors know their attacker, a new study of almost 1,000 survivors revealed. (4) Another study showed that over 90% of child survivors know their offender, with almost half of the offenders being a family member. Of sexual assaults against people age 12 and over, approximately 80% of the survivors know the offender. (6) Child sexual abusers often develop a relationship with a child to manipulate him or her into compliance with the sexual act, which is perhaps the most damaging component of child sexual abuse. (5) With such statistics teaching children to stay away from strangers will not guarantee that they are safe.

An article on Citizen Digital shared that Migori County Coordinator of Children Services John Odinya recently expressed that many children have been defiled by their own fathers while their mothers remain silent leaving them with nowhere to run for help. “The protection of the children should therefore not solely left in the hand of the parents because some of them are part of the problem facing the children,” he added. (7)

5. Myth: Getting help is expensive for survivors of assault.

This is a common assumption that we make. While affordable might be relative, there are free options available when it comes to dealing with rape survivors and getting them medical help and justice. Allow me to highlight a few organizations that offer free help or assist in referrals or advocacy.

  1. CHILDLINE KENYA

Childline Kenya works in partnership with the Government to STOP child abuse and provide a safe environment for all children. They offer the only nationwide helpline service dedicated to children that runs 24 hours toll-free and is accessible by simply dialing 116.

Childline Kenya assists on a wide range of cases – sexual, physical and emotional abuse and neglect. The helpline is attached to a referral network of supporting organizations that provide psychosocial support to children who call and are in need of care and protection. Childline Kenya employs volunteer counselors with backgrounds in counseling, psychology, and social work. Counselors undergo intensive training on child telephone counseling, communicating with children, child rights and related topics. They work in shifts to ensure around-the-clock support for children.

Contacts: 

Call : 116 , 0722 116 116

Email :116@childlinekenya.co.ke,

Website : https://childlinekenya.co.ke/

2. GENDER VIOLENCE RECOVERY CENTRE (GVRC)

GVRC is one of the few centers that provide FREE med­ical and psy­choso­cial sup­port to survivors of GBV in East & Central Africa. GVRC main purpose is to bring meaning back to survivors and their families by providing free medical treatment and psychosocial support. The treatment includes post-exposure prophylaxes (PEP) given within 72 hrs of assault to prevent infection of HIV/AIDS. Other treatments include prevention of pregnancy, STI’s and hepatitis B vaccine. Since inception

Contacts: 

Call : +254709667000 or +254719638006 (For emergency cases)

Email:

Website : http://gvrc.or.ke/

3.COALITION FOR VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN (COVAW)

One of the pillars of COVAW is Access to Justice. This pillar seeks to address challenges linked to limited access to information by women and girls about their rights, difficulty in obtaining legal services, as well as financial insecurities that affect their access to legal support, leading to difficulty in navigating court systems.

Also, their website has a variety of information you can look up, especially hospital and police procedures when one is sexually assaulted.

Contacts: 

Website : https://covaw.or.ke

4. WANGU KANJA FOUNDATION

Wangu Kanja Foundation is a non-governmental, non-political and not for profit making organization whose vision is a society free of sexual violence. They offer access to comprehensive care and support (medical, Psychological which includes counseling and dance therapy sessions and legal aid)

They operate a rape crisis center. Should you call them you expect to receive:

  1. Support from a counsellor on the 24-hour Crisis-Line
  2. Crisis appointment with a counsellor
  3. Accompaniment to the Civic Hospital
  4. Accompaniment to Police Services

Contacts: 

Call: +254 774 746 699, +254-722 790 404

Email: info@wangukanjafoundation.org

Website : https://wangukanjafoundation.org/

5.HEALTHCARE ASSISTANCE KENYA (HAK)

Healthcare Assistance Kenya (HAK) is a humanitarian, Non-Governmental Organization that operates the first and only, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Rapid Response System and Helpline 1195. The anonymous Helpline 1195 enables men, women, boys, and girls who suffer domestic violence to access quick GBV services such as prevention of infections such as HIV.

Contacts: 

Call : 1195, +254 705208065 / +254 733738626

Email info@hakgbv1195.org

Website : https://www.hakgbv1195.org/

6. ST. JOHNS AMBULANCE

St John Ambulance has partnered with Kenya Counselling Association and Amani Counsellors to give psychological first aid and post-trauma counseling to disaster survivors and their families. They provide mobile, face-to-face and telephonic counseling service, through dedicated and trained counselors. They can be contacted via telephone 0721611555 vct@stjohnkenya.org

Contacts: 

Call: (020)3340262/74/83 , 0721611555 /0733930000

Email info@stjohnkenya.orgvct@stjohnkenya.org

Website: https://stjohnkenya.org

7. FEDERATION OF WOMEN LAWYERS (FIDA)

FIDA Kenya in-house lawyers take up deserving cases and provide legal aid services in the form of advice, preparation of court documents and court representation. Lawyers in public practice have continued to volunteer to serve under the FIDA Kenya pro bono lawyer’s scheme. This has helped women who reside far from the location of FIDA Kenya offices be able to access justice at a minimum cost.

Contacts: 

Call: 0722509760/ 0710607241, +254-20-2604044/+254-200-2604043

Email: info@fidakenya.org

Website: https://www.fidakenya.org/

8.POLICE EMERGENCY NUMBERS

Police Hotlines:  999, 911, 112

Police Hq: 020-2221969

Central: 020 222222 0721 337999

C.I.D. Headquarters 020 2723090

9. PRESERVING HUMAN DIGNITY (PHD) MINISTRIES 

 You can apply for counseling with  Rev. Ken Aringo through this link                                         https://phdafrica.org/counselling/

10. MORE THAN BEAUTIFUL KE PARTNERS

We have partnered with a few counselors/therapists, send us an email if you would like to talk to someone.

Email  morethanbeautifulke@gmail.com)

Have you watched Libby Ndambo’s Debut Release song, Rise Again?

Let us know what you think about the post and series we have shared by writing on the comment box below or email us (morethanbeautifulke@gmail.com) and we will be sure to walk, pray and listen to you.

Please feel free to reach out through our social media handles.

facebook @morethanbeautifulke

Instagram @morethanbeautifulke

Snapchat @mbeautifulke

twitter @morethanbeautyk

If you’re a lady interested in sharing your story about surviving GBV or to be specific rape, to share hope to other survivors who are struggling to get better send us an email on morethanbeautifulke@gmail.com; and we shall be in touch. 

REFRENCES

(1) https://carleton.ca/sexual-violence-support/what-is-sexual-assault/challenging-myths-and-misconceptions/

(2)https://www.acesdv.org/about-sexual-domestic-violence/sexual-violence-myths-misconceptions/

(3) http://kenyalaw.org/kl/index.php?id=4521

(4) https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-43128350

(5) https://www.smart.gov/SOMAPI/sec1/ch3_typology.html

(6) https://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/mobile/Education_MythsAndFacts.aspx

(7) https://citizentv.co.ke/news/children-in-danger-as-parents-turn-predators-childrens-department-sounds-alarm-259967/?fbclid=IwAR3WmDDMzb8Sm_59ysHEzN0l_hBvsI_oOMAH5ov2cmyXe7n-Tz9ecwgSEf0

(8) https://www.ourresilience.org/what-you-need-to-know/myths-and-facts/#_edn1

(9) Images : https://unsplash.com/

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