ACQUAINTANCE RAPE

Majority of sexual violence perpetrators are known to victims - experts

They say stranger rape is a small number of sexual violence cases.

In Summary

• Ruth Nekura, Legal Director at ISLA said that in the case of Acquaintance rape, it is always misconstrued that the women are always consenting to have sex.

• She said that the law needs to develop in a way that the issue of consent is applied realistically the way we know rape happens.

An illustration of a victim of violence.
An illustration of a victim of violence.
Image: COURTESY

A large number of perpetrators of sexual violence are well known to their victims.

This is according to legal counsels who constantly work with victims and survivors of sexual violence.

Ruth Nekura, Legal Director at the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA) said that there is a large number of Acquaintance Rape cases she has come across.

“So many rape cases happen by people that we know. Stranger rape is a small percentage of all the actual rapes cases that happen,” she said.

Mariam Kamunyu, a legal counsel, said that Stranger Rape is actually a myth because rarely are men or women sexually assaulted by random strangers.

“Often, the offender knows the victim well enough for them to, for example, open the door to their house for them without any qualms because they know each other and they have probably been friends or closer than friends for some time,” she said,

Felix Opondo, a Clinical Psychologist also reiterated this, adding that over 90 per cent of perpetrators of sexual violence know their victims on a personal level.

Nekura said that in the case of Acquaintance rape, it is always misconstrued that the women are always consenting to have sex simply because they know the perpetrator.

“It is not okay for people to assume that women are always consenting if they invite you into their house or their space,” she said.

She said that the law needs to develop in a way that the issue of consent is applied realistically the way we know rape happens, which is by people we are close to and not always by strangers.

“WATCH: The latest videos from the Star”