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"VOF Week 2: (A pathway to breaking the silence)

When the call for applications to join World pulse, I immediately applied. I knew that I would meet women that have a passion to see others empowered and set free. I wanted to meet women doing my kind of work.

When I first heard about CREAW, I applied to volunteer. I was straight from collage. My experience is now over five years. I enjoy being at the Centre of change for women. Our Vision “is to realize a just and free society in which women and men have, exercise and enjoy equal, full rights and opportunities.

My friend sought help at the centre, after being raped on her way home from work. She was helped and has since moved on, and the scars healed. This made me join and be a part of their work. This was in 2002- 2003, when Kenya experienced a rise in rape and sexually violence to at certain locations. Upon joining CREAW, I we started a “Rape Red Spot” campaign that sort to identify these areas, mark them through use of billboards so that women got to be forewarned that these were dangerous areas, but more importantly bring in the duty bearers (police, city council, private sector amongst other stakeholders) to enhance security, lighting and clean out the areas thus re-claiming them not just for women, but for the whole society. This actually happened and most of these areas such as Globe Cinema Roundabout and the park near Serena Hotel , all in Nairobi, are now safer.

This is just one project. But, generally, I have come to realise that Violence against women occurs in, public, private and personal spheres that women cannot easily talk about-this is with in the family, places of work and at home. A survey done in Nairobi for example established that violence against women is not taken seriously. Men deny it, women hide it and authorities neglect it!! Kenya cannot continue to push for its development, when women are disempowered.
Incidentally, perpetrators of violence are known to victims. They are often husbands, employers and boyfriends. Often, an emotional bond between the victim and the abuser is common. It complicates the situation and magnifies the impacts of the abuse on the victim. The victims end up staying in the abusive environment, because of the children or economic dependency. Worse, they tend to feel responsible for the behaviour of the abuser and blame themselves. Through counselling (One on one) and community education and empowerment, our women are speaking out and seeking redress. It makes me cry when a woman is healed from violence and is restored to face life.

I want to see more women empowered through web 2.0. I want to see lives changed through the partnerships being formed. I am learning tips for incorporate development media in our programs so that more women can learn and be shaped to fight for their place in their homes, relationships and their workplaces. It is a long shot, but we will get there.

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