“Msupa, mbona unatembea solo?” Many men ask me when they find me taking a stroll. I had always wondered why men asked me this question and for a long time before I understood the implications of this question, I always asked them, “Kwani sifai kutembea pekee yangu?”
Years later, I finally understand.
Have you ever noticed that in the movies, when a woman is shown walking alone in the dark, there is always some element of danger? There is usually a man stalking her ready to maim or rape her. Well, that is not isolated to the movies. That is the society in which we live.
And its not only in darkness that the element of danger engulfs women, it always follows us even in broad day light. Women walk these streets in fear of men especially if they are not in the company of men. I can’t narrate to you how many times I have been spanked, my boobs yanked, been called “Malaya” when I do not return the lewd catcalls of men in the streets. Of course, I slap them, and they in turn, threaten to beat or rape me so I can learn how to respect men. And I am so fucking tired of this. I am so tired that ever since I was a young girl, I have roamed these streets like prey in a man’s world.
Beware of Men
As a young girl, I was always told to beware of men. And that’s not isolated to me, many girls are usually warned about men when they are young.
I remember a ‘girl’s talk’ back in 2001 when I was in class two facilitated by our female teachers who told us about the dangers that men posed against women. Thus, they advised us to get into girls’ circles and keep away from men for the better part of our youth. They also told us to dress modestly so we never rouse the desires of men, lest they rape us.
We were always told not to go outside when darkness came or not to hang out with boys because they could do bad things to us. Needless to say, I didn’t need the talk because by class two I had known the full danger of a girl in the presence of boys and men.
One of the Predators Will Rescue You
Funny thing is that, later on in our lives, we were supposed to get married to these men who posed nothing but danger to us. The deal was, close your legs, don’t interact with men until you are in university where you will meet a husband (as if he was not a man) to take to your parents. This husband would become the only man you had ever known, a man who you would keep your virginity for and he would lead you for life.
And true to that, the culture that existed before us was one where a woman died only having talked to four men in her life, her brother, her father, her husband and of course the pastor who sealed the bond of marriage for you.
With a man, a woman gets ‘protection’ from the rest of the men who could harm us. True, no? Whenever I walk with a man who men around assume to be my boyfriend or husband, they never touch me inappropriately, slut shame me or catcall me. Even those around a man who will try to look at me will tell them, “buda, huoni uyo ni bibi ya wenyewe?”
A Sick World
There is a sickness in this world that we have just subsidized with painkillers but we have never actually understood this disease. The lack of understanding of this disease has made us misdiagnosis for what it’s not and rather than deal with it, we are trying to bandage the wounds not knowing that the bandages have ripped off and the disease can no longer be contained. The disease is spreading to our children and to the rest of the society. If we go on like this, am afraid to think of the society that we leave for the future girls and women of our world.
Women are precious in this society. We are all here because of women. Were it not for the womb that held you, nourishing you and keeping you safe…Were it not for the strength, courage and bravery that women posses to rip out our vaginas and scream you into this world. The caeserian wounds that my mother nursed long after she had me. ‘Were it not for the milk that gave strength to your bones and eased you into eating food… None of us would be here. Were not for the care and love that our mothers give us, we would never have existed.
Yet as cognizant as we are of these facts and truths, we have evolved into a society that deems women as trifles. Small insignificant things, silent insignificant things, mere possessions of men, mere pleasures of men, things that men can do whatever the fuck they want with, small things that do not carry a brain, emotions-filled maniacs bleeding through the vagina.
The worst thing you can ever do in this world is to forget that you came from the same vagina (pussy) that you call weak, the same pussy you use to degrade women, the same boobs you associate with nothing but weakness, the same blood that you are disgusted with, is the same one that broke when you were ripping your mother’s vagina to come into this world.
Men are usually warned against going into the labor room of their birthing wives for they will be so disgusted watching her shit herself as she brings a child into this world, a child who will belong to the man once its mother’s bones have pulled apart and the small organ she uses for pleasure, coughs out the kid. If only men could be brave enough to step into that room and watch how his wife or partner suffers to bring a child into this world then maybe they could have some emotion in dealing with women and their children.
Funny, that’s the only time men will appreciate women in this world, when women have given them children- then women have cemented a role in this world and done their duty. You know, after the shit has been cleaned up and the baby is wrapped in a stunning blue or pink shawl.
Take a moment, listen to my words, listen please…. Isn’t this a fucked-up society?
Call the Rapist Out!
A certain pastor once told me that the desires of men are so wild that if it wasn’t for God, even their daughters would be a reliver of those desires. I am so glad I no longer go to church because if these are the ideologies that pastors have, then believe me, we are currently living in the era of the anti-Christ and he can be found right in the church.
But somehow this society has accepted and normalized this ‘weakness’ of men and their ‘uncontainable lust’ so much that when they violate women, even the women say, “ni mwanaume” bullshit!
It’s this normalization and defense of men’s ‘weakness’ that on May 22nd, a man in Nyandarua raped his two-year-old daughter to death. That baby Nuru Deen, a 18-months old baby was defiled and murdered in Kitengela. That a 14year-old girl was ganged raped by seven men aged between 42 and 47 in Nyasankia Sub-location. That some days ago, a man killed his four-year old daughter after his wife refused him to share a bed with their daughter.
When I was founding Sikimyii in 2018, I talked to a friend at a conference we had both attended organized by the Commonwealth. I asked him to help me brainstorm on ideas. He was dealing with the plight of the Muslim and Somali-origin individuals who the government and some of us always brand as terrorists. He told me one thing I will never forget.
He asked, “who is raping women?” I said, “rapists.” He told me, “you are wrong, its men who are raping women.” And for a while I was dumbstruck. “so, talk to the men and tell them to stop raping women!”
What Abdul told me that day is contrary to how most men see it whenever we have a discussion about the rape and murder of women and girls in our society. Whenever we talk about rape, men feel attacked. I don’t get it! The only reason a man would feel attacked when rape culture is spoken about is only when he has ever sexually violated a woman.
This is the reason why many movements and campaigns against rape culture are failing. Because instead of women and men working together to kill the rapists, women are busy caring about the feelings of men and taking care not to hurt men in the process. But we are forgetting that the lives and dignity of these women who are raped and murdered are more precious than the feelings of men.
A man like Abdul, who has nothing to fear won’t feel attacked because he and a few intellectual men have realized that in this world, there are stupid, dangerous and monstrous men.
Truth is, many men rape and prey on women. We have a global pandemic of rape culture. 1 out of 3 women walking together has been raped by a man. Now, we have approximately 5 billion women in the world. The mathematics tell me that more than 1.5 billion women have been raped in this world, which goes to say that men have raped 20% of the world’s population. That does not include the 150,000 children, both female and male who are sexually assaulted annually in Kenya.
This is madness. And we need to stop sweeping this under the carpet. Women are not things, we are not sexual objects, and more importantly, we are not prey in this world nor are men predators. We are living human beings and if you do not accept our existence, then you must be ready for our resistance.
“The patriarchy is a judge. That judges us for being born. And our punishment is the violence you don’t see.”