We must start accepting that we have a femicide problem

Women live in fear of men who cannot take no for an answer

In Summary

• It is alarming to see so many femicide incidents making the headlines so often

Image: FILE

I think I share in the same light with other women today when I say that I am scared and very much concerned.

I am scared that my family might wake up one day not knowing where I am.

I am scared that my loved ones might receive a text message demanding for some ransom or, even worse, wake up to a social media post with the tagline: “an unidentified woman”.

I am scared.

Not your usual Tamaduni article, but we must talk about this ill 'culture' that is robbing us of humanity. 

What happened to being safe around people we know and trust? What happened to having a safe environment?

What does being safe mean anymore?

To this day, I always entrust myself, entirely, to keep me safe and secure. I stopped relying on people around me for safety and security.

I have fully bestowed unto myself this responsibility but with a lot of alertness and wit, and also trained myself to avoid incidents where I find myself not knowing what to do. 

I have had experiences before where the people who were around me at a certain moment and who I had chosen to trust, attempted to take advantage of the situation.

Sometimes I might be just seated down and get triggered about those incidents, the scenes keep replaying, and then I start asking myself, what if this or that happened? What if I did this or that?

It is so alarming to see so many femicide incidents making the headlines and almost every other day, it is a new story. Whether the victim knew the perpetrator or not, there is always a new story.

We often see cases of women getting killed, and the incidents mostly revolve around relationships, money, sex and men. And online, the victim is torn apart bit by bit with very bitter comments of how she should have had or used her own money, or she should have avoided walking alone in the dark, to even that she deserved what she got and “hivi venye mnaongea ovyo ovyo ndio inafanya muuliwe.”

“Men just have the mentality of getting what they want and if not, then they need to punish the other person,” a male friend said.

Which begged me to think, what kind of culture is this that is being adopted by men? When did men start feeling the need, and as if they have a right to kill someone? Where is all the entitlement coming from?

What happened to “no means no?”

I remember having a chat last week with some of my girlfriends, and a major concern is how we, women, have all been turned into walking targets and that at any point and time you refuse an advance, that might be the last time any one of us sees the other person.

“I think from today, if any man stops me to ask for my number, I will gladly give it to them and then delete and block them later on,” one friend said in the group chat.

“You know, you might decide to ignore or bluntly say no and the man might pull out a gun or a hacksaw or even an axe and hit you just because you refused to give them the number. I would not want to take chances with my life.

“But you can just say no, kwani what is the worst that can happen? Kwani how do men handle rejection? Kataa na uendelee kutembea,” someone  commented.

“You can never be too sure because things are different today. One wrong move and you are gone,” another said.

As I walk around every day, I have to constantly be on high alert of my surroundings and note who is there, who has been following me and even who says or does anything.

I am worried the catcalling can turn violent and regardless of whether I know the man or not, I might be a statistic. Even with the extra caution, I am never too sure.

It is also sad to see a lot of victim-blaming online once a story breaks like in the instance of the recent social media engagement around prostitution and escorts.

As a man when you engage in those extracurricular activities, you definitely are aware of what goes on, so where does the rage come from when you feel dissatisfied with what transpired, and why feel the need to take someone’s life?

Everybody’s life matters and things definitely need to change.

We must do something to do away with this ill culture that is fast eating into our society, and in Mike Muchiri’s words, we first have to collectively accept that femicide is a problem.

Perhaps, let it start with our children.

We might even do as much with our pre-teens and teens, but the efforts must be intentional.

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