Just last week a young woman was stripped by touts at the a bus terminus in Nairobi. The unfortunate incident was caught on tape by a bystander and soon enough it was on youtube. It has been the talk of town since it hit the mainstream media and internet and there are varied opinions about it, some opining that a woman who dresses ‘indecently’ deserves that kind of treatment.
What happened in downtown Nairobi is by no means an isolated case. Women have been put on the spot about their dressing many a times in different countries including Nigeria, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Egypt. Many have been harassed to varying degrees for their choice of clothing.
Women are not taking this lying down. For example, members of the 25,000 member strong Kilimani Mums Facebook group have rallied together and will hold a peaceful procession on Monday November 17th to stand in solidarity with the woman who was attacked and to send a message that violence and sexual assault against women will not be tolerated. This procession is also further in solidarity with a bigger movement under the hashtag #MyDressMyChoice – a movement that is demanding equal rights and respect for the female body.
The agenda of the procession is:
- To raise awareness of these heinous crimes against women and urge African States to recognize and safeguard their rights through readdressing the importance of the rule of law in such unfortunate situations.
- To urge governments to take appropriate and effective measures to adapt legislative, administrative, social and economic measures that are necessary to ensure the prevention, punishment and eradication of all forms of violence against women.
- To urge African leaders to safeguard the rights of women through implementation of the rule of law.
- To push for the immediate government of Kenya to speak about the importance of respecting all human beings in the country as per the Kenyan constitution, and in this case women who make up more than half the population.
- To urge the inspector general of police to report on whether the culprits of these crimes against women, and especially the recent case, have been arrested and when they can be expected in court.
- The movement also aims to push NGOs to come together and offer various services such as legal, that will ensure an end to this form of discrimination and loss of dignity among women.
- The #MyDressMyChoice movement wants to urge people across the political, religious and social divide to critically address the root cause of these actions and aggressively advocate for respect of humanity and individual dignity. Individuals are urged to oppose and report any incidences of harassment such as stripping women, and also to help any woman or girl who is being harassed.
The procession will begin Monday November 17, 2014 at 10am at Uhuru Park and the procession will march to Accra road. Hundreds of people are expected to attend. Kilimani Mums want anyone who believes in justice for women to attend. Wear a mini skirt if you feel comfortable doing so. White and purple are the official procession colors. The procession will be peaceful and safe.