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NOT AT EASE

Women carry knives, pepper stray to fight rapists

"I walk with a pen knife these days so before you rape me you won't have one eye. I won't go down without a fight"

In Summary

•The number of persons reported to the police as having committed crimes against morality increased by 22.1 per cent last year.

• Those reported to have committed rape increased by 17.5 per cent from 784 to 921 in 2018

School children during a peaceful demonstration against rape cases in Mwingi on Wednesday
School children during a peaceful demonstration against rape cases in Mwingi on Wednesday
Image: /LYDIA NGOOLO

I learnt never to trust anyone apart from my family, Anna, 27,  told the Star when asked about the increasing number of rape cases.

According to the 2019 Economic survey, 131 more rape cases were reported to the police in 2018 compared to the previous year. 

Further, 181 more men were reported to have committed the crime in 2018 compared to 2017. However, the number of women accused reduced from 90 to 47 within the same period. 

"875 men were accused of rape in 2018, a rise from the 694 reported in 2017," the survey reads. 

Precautions taken 

Sue says that she never feels safe in the presence of men especially while she is alone.

"I was chased by about three men walking home and it was only around 8pm but they stopped as soon as they saw a figure approaching," she told the Star during an interview.

"Even then I began getting worried about who was approaching and what they wanted."

Sue says that she bought a packet of condoms and started carrying them in her purse because anything can happen.'

Faith states that she also carries a condom in her purse and thinks girls should as a major precaution step.

"I also walk around taking random selfies and recording what is happening around me because you honestly never know," said Faith.

Linda, 20 says she walks around with a weapon because she no longer feels safe anywhere.

"I walk with a pen knife these days so before you rape me you won't have one eye. I won't go down without a fight," she said.

"I know for a fact that most females don't feel safe. Even during the day. These streets are not safe."

Mercy says that she walks around with pepper spray and an electric shock her boyfriend bought her because she had a traumatic encounter last year.

"I was robbed last year by some vile men. I was lucky some passersby came to my rescue and since then I do not walk at night unless I am in the company of some one who can protect me," she said.

Anna says that she was also robbed at gun point and had to take up jiu-jitsu classes to learn how to protect herself.

"Safety starts with you always and I advise young girls not to place themselves in awkward situations such as getting drunk to an extent you are not aware of your surroundings," she said.

She encouraged girls to always trust their instincts and take extra measures to be safe.  

Idle Conquering

The survey released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics at the end of last month also shows crimes against morality increased from 5,142 in 2017 to 6,277 in 2018.

Crimes against morality include rape, defilement, incest, sodomy/unnatural, bestiality, indecent assault, abduction and bigamy.

Counselling Psychologist Zakia Rashid told the Star the increase could be attributed to continuous drug use, hopelessness and unemployment. 

The survey reveals that the Jubilee government has only created 1.8 million jobs in six years.

This is equivalent to 360,000 new jobs per year, which is 64 per cent less than the one million jobs Jubilee promised when it took power.

"There are very many people acquiring education in the country but they do not have jobs, they are idle and mostly resort to abuse drugs," said Rashid. 

"Because of this, they suffer from hopelessness and men will typically commit these crimes to feel as though they have conquered something."

The psychologist says that for most women they commit these crimes because of behaviours they pick up along the way. 

"With counselling and therapy, they can maybe be changed but the decline might also be attributed to the fact that it is hard to prove that a woman has raped someone," said Rashid. 

She encouraged embracing counselling and therapy and urged the government to allocate more funds to mental health. 

"Alot of what is happening is psychological and can be treated by mental health professionals," she said.