Rape Culture In Kenya #KenWaMwangi

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The hashtag #KenwaMwangi has been floating all over social media in the past weekend or so. Why? Because of his Facebook status update which as a ‘joke’ described how primary school girls’ pussy these days are so loose. He went on to use several ‘funny’ references to describe how loose they are.

Here is the interesting part. He got a lot of shares, likes, and laughter Emojis for this supposed comedic status. I have to ask Kenyans, what is the problem? Thankfully a lot of backlash has also been presented after the whole situation. People began fighting and asking for just punishment on social media, causing him to put the status down and post an apology status, -which I personally think was a lame attempt at keeping his job; any apology that comes with a defense is not genuine. If you say, “I’m sorry, but” then you are not actually sorry. – His excuse is that people were taking him too seriously when the post was meant to be a joke.

This post is not however focusing on this incident alone but on where we are as a society. I don’t know whether this man has had sex with children or not but I do know how the post twisted my insides and almost made me wretch at the thought that one day I will bring a daughter into this incredibly messed up world which could very easily rid her of her innocence before she even knows how to spell the word ‘innocence.’

Rape has become a background setting in our society. It’s ever present, but silently ignored as long as it doesn’t affect us directly. It seems to become less and less of a concern as time moves on because we become normalized to rape stories. We become desensitized to the victim’s faces. The biggest problem becomes that we don’t think we are part of the problem.I heard someone say something that we all need to understand,

It is not enough to not be an abuser.

This #KenwaMwangi situation may just be a wakeup call that Kenyans need to hear. We have allowed rape jokes to become okay in certain settings. We not only allow them but consider them acceptable and defend them in certain situations with statements like, “You don’t have a sense of humor,” “It was just a joke”; “You take life too seriously.”

Well, considering the fact that rape is about power play taking one’s humanity away causing them in most cases to stop living and to merely exist, and in some cases to stop existing all together, then, yes I do take life seriously. When did it become okay not to take life seriously?

YouTube Video on Rape Jokes in today’s T.V shows

We see evidence of rape culture seeping in from Western Media as well as lyrics in music videos, and finally finding its place in our everyday language. It needs to stop. It’s dangerous in that it is counterproductive to eliminating sexual violence from society. And if we don’t understand the meaning behind the concept of rape culture, or if we have a skewed interpretation of the meaning in our minds, we may find it easy to deny its existence.

Rape culture is intertwined with objectification of women, and the sexualizing of body parts. Ken wa Mwangi’s post got a lot of attention, as rightly it should have, especially because he was talking about little girls. If he was talking about eighteen year old girls would that have been okay?

A woman’s (and man’s) body cannot be treated, or discussed as an inanimate object.

Her pussy is not her.

That’s where we need to start. That is what objectification is. As I mentioned earlier, it is to remove one’s humanity, reducing them to a thing. So what can we do to fight this disturbingly acceptable culture?It’s sad that this something that isn’t automatic but we have to unlearn, we have to condition ourselves to not use violent language in our everyday conversations. We have to become socially aware of the things people say, to consciously make the decision not to support entertainment that promotes the objectification of human beings or rape culture, to question people –even friends and family-, to speak up on social media and in real life. We have to change the way people view rape.

For a little more reading on the subject check out, 25 every day examples of Rape Culture and How Rape Jokes contribute to Rape Culture by Huffington Post.

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