The Pain of Love: Nearly 40% of Kenyan Women Encounter Physical or Sexual Violence in Romantic Relationships.

Love does hurt if the recent survey by the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) is anything to go by.

The statistics reveal that over 40 percent of women in Kenya have experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner during their lives.

We’ve witnessed celebrities publicly denounce their partners for domestic violence, and these dramatic situations unfold in the public eye.

A notable example is the recently separated celebrity duo, Avril and J Blessing saga, where the producer openly admitted to succumbing to anger and causing harm to Avril on two separate occasions. You can find the full story in the link below for further details.
Additionally, approximately 1 in 4 girls get married early, and 1 in 5 undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) in the country.

To address these alarming figures and mark the commencement of the global sixteen days of activism against gender-based violence, a powerful campaign named “Activate Nairobi” was launched at the University of Nairobi.

The campaign aims to raise awareness about the pressing need to combat gender-based violence.

The campaign is a collaborative effort between Kenya’s Department of Gender Affairs, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (Aics), the Italian Cultural Institute (IIC), and the Offices of the Embassy of Italy in Kenya.

The inauguration event, graced by Ambassador Roberto Natali and Deputy Minister Anne Wang’ombe of the Department for Gender and Affirmative Action in Kenya, featured a round table discussion.
Four inspirational women leaders, including Charlene Ruto, Elizabeth Wathuti, Francesca Di Matteo, and Professor Mary Lucia Mbithi, shared their strategies to combat climate change—a cause intricately linked to the empowerment of women.

The round table discussion concluded with the opening of the ‘I Want You to Know’ photographic exhibition by Gaia Squarci, a National Geographic scholar, highlighting the strength and resilience of women.

“Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are essential to eradicate poverty and build a global society based on sustainable development, social justice, and human rights,” emphasized Anne Wang’ombe, Deputy Minister of the Department for Gender and Affirmative Action.

Statistics from The Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW-Kenya) reveal that in 2022 alone, over 3,762 cases of Gender-Based Violence were reported, with 2,985 cases by women and 777 cases by men.

Ambassador Natali stressed the importance of education and dialogue, stating, “It is imperative to sensitize, to talk, to inform, to educate our children: educate about respect, about equality, educate about the idea that force can never be an instrument of dialogue.”
Charlene Ruto, Youth Champion, emphasized the significance of including young women, especially those living with disabilities, in policy formulation and implementation.

“Moving forward, let us continue to champion inclusivity, amplify diverse voices, and create opportunities that empower women to lead the change against global warming.”

The campaign, organized at the University of Nairobi and attended by over 500 students, centered around the relationship between climate change and female empowerment through the testimonies and experiences of four women activists.

Giovanni Grandi, Head of Aics Regional Office of Nairobi, highlighted the pivotal role of cooperation initiatives in empowering women across all sectors of society.

Elena Gallenca, Director of the IIC, declared:

“Culture is a bridge between nations, and unfortunately, women’s voices are historically underrepresented. The activities of the Activate campaign aim to bring Italian culture to the forefront in the global fight against gender violence.”

The ‘Activate Nairobi’ campaign is set to run until December 10, featuring impactful events such as a theatre performance, stand-up comedy, film screenings, and forums dedicated to survivors of gender violence cases in Kenya, authorities, and stakeholders.

The campaign seeks to shed light on the magnitude of violence against women and encourage collective efforts to create a more equitable and resilient future for all.

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