Shifting the narrative on sexual harassment
Aug 16, 2021
In Kenya we talk a lot about rape but we rarely look at the other forms of sexual harassment, like the [non-consensual] touching, the commenting [catcalling]. We were able to come up with this graphical representation of different forms of sexual harassment and then use that to have conversations with young women about their experiences of sexual harassment.
This is significant because a few years back a member of parliament came up with a bill to have stricter sentencing for perpetrators of sexual harassment but it was shot down, partly due to a lack of evidence.
Currently in Kenya sexual harassment is only defined as being able to happen within formal institutions like employment and things. So being able to engage girls in the community shows that it can happen anywhere and anytime. We showed that it is the red flag towards rape, it isn’t something that just happens – it starts small, first they look at you then when nothing happens to them they start commenting, then when nothing is done about it they continue to advance [to more extreme sexual violence]. Addressing sexual harassment is a great way of fighting sexual violence. [due to the advocacy of Good Health Community Programmes, sexual harassment of girls in Kakamega has made national news and MPs have made commitments to supporting the sexual offences bill.]