Conversations around #MyDressMyChoice

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mydress

The ladies of the Facebook group Kilimani Mums and other concerned parties will today have a peaceful procession to protect against the sexual assault against women and the violence perpetuated against them. The procession starts at 10 am.

Currently people have been using the hashtag #MyDressMyChoice as part of the campaign to demand equal rights and respect for the female body.

I am still trying to mentally get over the stripping incidents that happened to women last week.  There are ladies who were stripped last week not just of their clothes but also of their dignity.  I couldn’t believe that those men would carry out such acts in broad daylight.

I tweeted last week that those men carrying out these shameless acts are our friends, brothers, & relatives. They are not sorry but seem to enjoy it. It is horrifying that those men would act like beasts and others would tape it instead of helping. Those acts that will traumatize those women for life. The men who stripped those women went home to their wives, girlfriends, daughters, sisters and mothers. And they felt nothing. Those men don’t care that they ruined those women’s lives. They are unlikely to trust strange men again. Or go to the bus stop.

A friend of mine said that those men were “just a few rotten apples, most of us are very gentle” And I asked him “But the good men were there. Did they just stand and watch?”

In fact one of the conversations I am tired of having is with men who say but I am a good man. But then when a woman is being abused they just watch or walk away saying it is not their business.

Another acquaintance on twitter said “If it wasn’t recorded, would we’ve had such public outcry, or it would just have passed as another River Road story?”

How many times have we had online conversations about women being harassed? Then men just say we are being feminists and causing about nothing. The only difference between the public outcry and what has been happening in silence is that now there is evidence. The big question is why does there need to be evidence for you to believe there is a problem? Why can’t you take our word for it when we tell you that it happens?

Men do you know how many times we meet men who we must say hi to because we don’t want to be insulted or harassed? Men who assume that they have a right to make comments about your body. And if you don’t say thank you, you get insulted. Ati you are feeling good and you are probably a Malaya (prostitute). One girl who was stripped because of the reason that she refused to say hallo to a makanga. Since when was it a must that women must say hi to men they don’t want to?

That same day I heard a lady interviewed on Capital FM for a street interview. The lady said those women deserve to be stripped. That was the saddest thing. For a woman to condone such stuff broke my heart. No matter how indecently a woman is dressed she doesn’t deserve to be stripped.

Another friend (a man obviously) asked me whether I would wear such clothes in public.

I said it is not about me. If you think a woman is “indecently” dressed and she is a friend of yours or a family member tell her. Tell her about your concern. If you see a woman who is too glaringly obviously undressed give her a leso. That is what a woman would do. No matter how “indecently” a woman is dressed she doesn’t deserve to be stripped.

Another guy on twitter told me ladies should dress decently. I asked what is decent? Who defines the standards, is it men?

If you look at the women of the 1900 they did not wear bras or any blouses. Most women wore a covering over their “lower private parts.” They rarely covered their breasts or thighs. Westerners are the ones who came to Africa and told us what was decent according to them. Making us wear clothes that covered our breasts and lower private parts. And now they are the ones who dress in skimpy outfits and want to bare all in magazines and social media. So who’s standards are we using again?

Kikuyu women from the 1900s
Kikuyu woman from the 1900s

We were discussing the video in another forum and one of my friends said something I have thought for a long time. That we should not keep sharing those videos on our social media platforms. We are just adding to the victims’ shame. For me I am of the opinion that if people want to see the videos they are all over net. Let’s not be the ones further shaming victims by trending videos. That is somebody’s mother, sister, cousin, and daughter. If something happened to somebody that you love would you want the video to be doing the rounds? Let us be sensitive to the fact that these women have been through a traumatizing, damaging experience and they don’t want to have to experience it again and again when people tell them they have watched the video. This is also a way of shaming these women.

If the men (I assume) who took those videos had clean hearts they would have helped those ladies instead of shaming them by taking those videos and sharing them, probably to have a laugh with their friends. Men if you have ever taken a video of a woman being abused and you did nothing for the lady but share the video shame on you. That goes for those of you who take videos of men having sex with women who have passed out. As long as a woman has not consented to sex that is date rape just in case you didn’t know.

Xhosie said something important “@potentash it’s not even legal neither is it ethical for the media especially to reveal the identity of harassment victims @GeorgeAdulu”

George Adulu responded by telling us to read an article by UP Nairobi that talks about privacy and how the media has violated those women’s rights.  …

A friend of mine wrote a post yesterday. This part caught my eye.

”The morality debate is not just about miniskirts and the hemline, it is about everything we are willing to give latitude to as a society. The next things we will be seeing are prostitutes asking for their trade to be legalized and with the latitude we are extending they will get that, then we will stop asking questions when we see underage girls in night clubs and before we know it corruption will so much be within our rights.”

See how the conversation degraded to the issue of prostitution. I was like why do we always apply for women standards that we do not apply for men. That if we “allow” women to wear shorter hemlines then society will go to the dogs and the next thing there will be more prostitutes. It is like the decreasing hemlines are the ones that lead to decay in society.

In the Old Testament and the New Testament there were prostitutes. In those days women dressed in a way that they were well covered. Yet there were still prostitutes. Why because of men? Despite those men having decent women waiting for them in the house they went to prostitutes. So we should say that the issue has not been about women being decent it is men who have always been indecent and blaming it all on women.

This picture I received it summarizes it.

rape

Since we are on the issue of decency. These men who claim to have issues with decency are the same ones who pee shamelessly by the roadside. Women who are passing are forced to shield their eyes when passing them. That is the definition of indecent. Do you see women ganging up and stripping those men because they are showing us things we don’t want to see? Actually that is actually against the law – to pee in a public place. So before you cast the first stone, make sure you have no sin. Keep it in your pants then maybe you will have cause to start taking about decency.

Btw those men who attacked those women are cowards. One man wouldn’t dare do it they had to be in a pack. Those same men would not do the same thing even in a mob to a women dressed in the same way in an upper-class neighborhood. This is because they would not know whose daughter or sister that was. The fear of consequences would stop them from even considering it. The only reason they did it where they did was because they thought there would be no consequences. They did it where they have power.

Why do men not attack and strip women who are “indecently” dressed in the nightclub? Because they know that there would be consequences and hopefully because their mothers taught them to respect women no mater how indecently they may be dressed. These men believed that they are above the law and they should be taught that they are not above the law. These men need to be caught and they should be given a harsh sentence, so that “ikuwe funzo kwa wengine” as vioja mahakamani judge used to say.

Before I end this post let me say Thank you to that man who tried to stop those men from stripping that woman. He was alone against a crowd but he still did the right thing. That is the kind of man any woman would be proud to call her own. They say all that it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing. Many “good” men watched and did nothing. Only one stood up to be counted. We need more men like that. Men who stand against the crowd and stand by their principals.

My dressing is my choice. If you don’t like it politely tell me or approach a 3rd party and tell them to tell me. You have no right to my body, to strip me and shame me.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Unbelievably well written. It’s like you stepped into my head and articulated what I could not. Looks like I just found my new favorite blog!
    And that final image quote… Hallelujah! Do I hear an amen!

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