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Women wear black to condemn rape

MAGDALENE WANJABy MAGDALENE WANJA
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Hundreds of clergy women from across the world who are attending a seminar under the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women (WFMUCW) in Nairobi yesterday held a procession to create awareness on gender-based violence.

Their key message was “Speaking out”, where victims of any form of gender-based violence are encouraged to report to the authorities.

The women took a day off their four-day conference to pass the message, wearing branded T-shirts bearing the message “Thursdays in black, towards a world without rape and violence.”

They were led by the Area President of the organisation, Ms Sipwe Chisvo, who called upon the society to embrace the campaign.

SPEAKING OUT

“Even if it’s your neighbour, you don’t have to keep quiet. Speaking out will bring about change,” she said.

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Ms Chisvo, who is from Zimbabwe, called on the Kenyan government to prosecute perpetrators of the most common forms of gender-based violence, which include Female Genital Mutilation and early marriages.

“The seminar could not have come at a better time, other than the United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. We condemn rape and any gender-based violence in its different shades and forms,” she added.

She noted that there had been an increase in the number of cases on violence against women, giving an example of a recent case where a woman cleric in South Africa was raped within a vicarage.

“We are pleased by the government’s intervention to introduce the Model County Law and Policy (2017) on gender-based violence. To reinforce this government intervention, we call upon social development partners and other stakeholders to join in combating these evils,” she added.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Church Women President Alison Judd also attended the meeting held in Lavington, Nairobi, and encouraged women to speak out and support the movement in addressing social ills.

A coordinator at the WFMUCW, Reverend Eunice Indangasi, noted that FGM remains a great challenge in Kenya and is the leading form of violence against women.

“We have trainings for FGM victims where we organise alternative rites of passage in the various parts of the country and, at the end of the training, they graduate,” she said.

She noted the church had already established rescue centres for victims of early marriages in Baringo County.

“The county has cases of girls as young as eight years getting married off and if we don’t speak out, no one will speak for them,” she added.

Women in the movement around the world wear black on Thursdays as a symbol of unity against rape and violence.