SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN POLITICS

Condemn Sifuna for rape slur about Jumwa

Sifuna’s remarks against Jumwa are representative of a man stuck to the notionmen are superior to women

In Summary

• ODM, which is a social-democratic party in ideology in promoting equality of men and women, should condemn him too.

• A progressive society upholds the dignity, humanity and respect for women and girls.

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna.
RAPE SLUR: Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna.
Image: FILE

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 on March 13, life as we knew it changed.

Lockdown measures to curb the spread of the virus, for instance, adversely affected women and girls as sexual violence increased.

Recent statistics from government data indicate 14 per cent of Kenyan women and girls between the ages of 15 and 50 have at one point in their lives experienced sexual violence.

For instance, Chief Justice David Maraga on April 2 announced a sharp rise in the number of sexual offences reported.

In the two weeks following the announcement of lockdown measures, sexual offences such as rape and defilement constituted more than 35 per cent of all reported cases, Maraga said.

Unfortunately, however, most victims do not report such violence to the authorities because of elusive justice and lack of proper medical care they need.

It is, therefore, barbaric to publicly proclaim in a cavalier manner anything surrounding rape without considering the victims of rape, the majority of them women and girls.

They are victims who have undergone unfathomable pain and trauma meted out to them by cowards. The devastating consequences of rape include serious physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health problems such as sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

But we have ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna, an advocate of the High Court who is supposed to be an intellect well-versed in human rights, casually making rape remarks against a female political leader at a Msambweni  rally.

She had claimed there were plans to rape her and he asked who would want to do such a thing. 

His remarks against Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa last Sunday  were extremely distasteful, ignorant, asinine, disappointing and very cowardly.

Since the elevation of women in political leadership positions, misogynistic men have always used violence as a ploy to intimidate their female competitors. This is textbook definition of chauvinism whereby cowardly men resort to violence — in whichever form — against their female competitors when they themselves lack ideas to win support.

Sifuna’s remarks against Jumwa are representative of a man still stuck to the notion that men are superior to women and that the latter should be put in their place “when they err” by invoking rape.

His rhetoric that rapists only engage in rape after assessing the attractiveness of their victim is indicative of a man who has lost empathy and common sense.

The youngest rape victim recorded in Kenya is that of a six-month-old girl, the oldest is a great grandmother aged 95.

Rape as a form of violence only exists because the perpetrator solely wants to demonstrate power and inflict harm on his victim. The perpetrator only feels powerful when he sees his victim cower in pain and in a traumatic state. Rape has nothing to do with lust or an assessment of attractiveness.

It is perpetrated by cowards.

The promotion of rape culture exists if men such as Sifuna do not have their feet held to the fire. It is not business as usual if he is still rewarded after making such remarks.

ODM, which is a social-democratic party in ideology in promoting equality of men and women, should condemn him too.

A society that upholds the dignity, humanity and respect for women and girls is a society that is progressive. We cannot afford to live in a society where women and girls have an innate fear of soaring high or being ambitious less they be threatened, attacked or raped.

That would be counterproductive as it will starve the country of talents and skills needed by the other half for a true, just and progressive society.

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