Sexual assault of men in Kenya is largely unreported

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Imagine walking home after a long day’s work, tired and hungry. Your head is probably preoccupied with the next day’s hassles and you are barely paying attention to your surroundings. Suddenly you notice a group of men who close in on you and drag you off into a thicket.In your head you prepare yourself for a good old fashioned violent robbery and you surrender all your valuables but you soon discover that’s not what they are after. You are pinned to the ground and your clothes are ripped off your body. You try to resist but they are just too many, too strong. You plead with them to let you go.What happens next leaves you so shocked you can barely shout for help.

You are left there in a daze,unable to process your thoughts.There are two places you need to go: the police station and the hospital. The shame however is too much to bear because you see you are a man.What kind of man allows himself to be raped by other men? Without a second thought you drag yourself home,vowing to never let anyone know about what happened to you.

Sexual abuse is a vice that has largely been associated with women. Rape, defilement, incest, statutory rape, all of these cases have women as the victims. However there has been a growing disturbing trend that goes unreported because of the stigma associated with it. Men being sexually abused be it through rape or sodomy. The attackers of these violent crimes are mostly men but there are instances of women being the perpetrators of these heinous acts.

In Murang’a County at Mukuyu Market there has been a gang that has been sodomising and brutally murdering men after the act. The County Police Director has been unable to act on this gang because no one has come forward to lodge a complaint. This is a classic case of same script different cast.

According to the Sexual Offences Act No 3 (2006) rape is said to have taken place if’’ he or she intentionally and unlawfully commits an act which causes penetration with his or her genital organs; the other person does not consent to the penetration; or the consent is obtained by force or by means of threats or intimidation of any kind…’

A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable upon conviction to imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may be enhanced to imprisonment for life…’

In the event that the vice is gang rape one is liable to a term of not less than fifteen years but which may be enhanced to imprisonment for life. I am not sure how many men have ever gone through this act but if what’s happening in Murang’a is anything to go by it might have to happen sooner rather than later.

Njoki Ndung’u in her fight against sexual violence was primarily driven by the plight of women.Thanks to her we now have stronger sentences and more avenues by which to seek help and put criminals behind bars.However there is obviously a problem we need to address as a society.

For a long time the man was a sign of strength, courage and security. Weakness was not a word that could stand next to the word man. In recent times however it is becoming a worrying trend that we empowered the women so much and equipped them with so many tools that we left the boy child behind. These men that are to be our security are not only losing their positions at work to more women but are nursing these wounds to their egos through alcoholism and crime.

Perhaps instead of treating the symptoms we should look at the root cause as to why a group of sane men would turn on a fellow man to commit acts that can only be termed as barbaric. Sexual freedom is a human right that has not been given the spotlight it deserves yet it is vital to the beginning of conversations that can not only break barriers but prevent crimes of this nature from even happening in the first place.

Human Rights Day is an annual event celebrated globally on the 10th of December. This year, BAKE in collaboration with the Canadian Embassy will be holding an event to commemorate this day.

The theme for this year’s Human Rights day is “Our Rights, Our Freedoms Always”. We all have rights fundamental human rights such as the right to food, education and shelter. Your rights regarding the issue of sex are not less important and we need to talk about it in the open without fear of victimization. Sexual rights are not about men or women but about human beings who all deserve to be respected no matter their gender.

Photo credit: africkerwgsst.weebly.com

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