This is not what my blog is about anymore. I do not remember the last time I came here just to vent, or to look for an invisible shoulder/ soapbox to climb on and rant.
I was at the protest the other day where girls were asking to be left alone, to dress however they want without the threat of being sexually assaulted. Then came the hailstorm of videos; the second, third and fourth. All of women being stripped to shame just because a few men could not stand how they dressed, ati their dresses showed too much skin. At that point, I was angry. Pissed off because a few fellow men have turned the entire male species into ogres in the eyes of women.
Then today happened. I watched as a gang of men confronted a woman. Lifted up her fairly decent dress and forced her to lie on her back as they fondled her vagina. Touching it, playing with it like kids excited about a new toy. One man was wearing wedding band on his finger, and I do not know whether he thought about the woman he swore allegiance to. Who gave him that ring, and who taught him how to use it like that?
I had just come from the #OcuppyHarambeeAve protest where Boniface Mwangi was leading a demo against the insecurity status in Kenya. At this protest, some chokoras came to cause chaos, some of them even daring us to a fight.
When I watched the video of this woman being humiliated like this, all the goonship in me melted.
These people pushed the envelope further. Stripping them naked in the street was not enough. It was not enough that the woman in the coast was scared for life. They had to go ahead and grope her, jeering.
I do not remember the last time I was a woman, but I remember the last time I was a human being – which is every day of my life.
My deskmate from M. M. Shah Primary School has survived three rape ordeals. The last ordeal gave a choice she never asked for; a kid. When she asked me to tell her story, I couldn’t find the right words to say. The toughest story I have ever had to bang out.
Rape is not something that people just wish away. You cannot forget being strangled, having your clothes ripped off, and have somebody crucify you to the ground, hit you, and rape you while you taste your own blood. It will take an eternity to put that behind you- to even have sex later on. To wake up every morning and realizing that it wasn’t a dream, that it actually happened. Nothing can obliterate that from memory.
We might pretend and say that what is going on in our streets today is not rape, but that would be ignorance speaking. In our laws rape is having carnal knowledge of a person without consent.
So yeah. We live in a country that watches clips of rape doing rounds on social media platforms, and do nothing. None of the 47 women representatives in Kenya have come out to speak against this kind of inhumane treatment of constituents whom they fought to represent and swore to stand for. It is as if keeping silent is the only thing they know how to do correctly.
I have nothing against a cool president who takes selfies, I really don’t. I have a huge problem with one who won’t give even a drunken ear to the plight of the people who nurtured us into being whoever we are today.
But most heart-breaking, is a president who plays me for a fool. One who, while campaigning for votes, says that personal and national safety will not be threatened during his tenure, and then comes around to convince us that a Top Chef knows the first thing about internal security. One who accepts so much tax, and then comes around to say that security is a historical matter that has been here for ages, and that it is not their fault that all this is happening. However, I do not remember anywhere in that golden manifesto, in which they made a disclaimer like that. Do you?
Does anyone remember 2013 when CORD and Jubilee were thumping their chests and grabbing their crotches like hiphop artists from the 80s, bragging about whose balls are bigger? During that time, who remembers any of those people saying that they will only try to provide security, and that if they fail, they will pin it on the past?
The most sincere and honest amongst us will blame themselves, and most probably come to their senses. It has never been about us, when it comes to politicians. It is always about them. If you want security, you have be a Bwana Mkubwa, or know a Bwana Mkubwa. That is the only way you can have a full armoured car. That is the only way security will function for you- they will track down your missing car to Uganda if they have to.
As for the rest of us mere mortals, we are left to stew in our own fat as we wait helplessly for our turn to fry.
So one would imagine that since we are alone, we can protect our own, right? Wrong!
Look what we have done.
We, the hoi polloi cannot even understand that the women we have so painfully shamed will never have the courage to walk free in this country? They have slave shackles around their necks and feet – chained to their homes because they can no longer reconnect with the world?
I saw Robert Alai at the #OccupyHarambeeAve demo. I wanted to stop and ask him what kind of super powers he has – the kind that allow him to swing from one heroic end that was the Westgate tragedy, to the other end of assholery that is supporting the assault on the women population. Powers that transform him from the social media hero who supported Linda Okello, into the douchebaggery that is approving the act of matatu touts.
I wanted to ask him if it is personal or just business for him; I mean, does he just come up with things like #NudityIsNotMyChoice just to create a storm and book another TV interview? It is because of his outrage that things have gone a notch higher. Now look what he has done; the makangas he supported now want to insert bottles inside the vaginas of female passengers. And that is on you, Alai.
I wonder if this Alai dude has a daughter, and if he does, whether he can afford for her to be chauffeured about. I wonder whether his sister or mother or daughter uses public transport. If he would look at her after being defiled by greedy, cunt-thirsty matatu touts and tell her that she wanted it; that she had it coming; that nudity is not her choice. I wonder if he would look at the recorded video of his daughter’s vagina being ravaged by nameless assailants and tell her that boys will always be boys.
I did not get to talk to Alai. But I pray that no tout ever finds his children’s dresses short enough to strip them naked along Tom Mboya Street, to break them open and make a self-righteous example out of them.
November is the month we men are celebrated. Those with beards let them grow, and every morning they stand in front of mirrors and stroke them with pride and smile at them as if they are fat envelopes containing good news. It is the month we celebrate International Men’s Day. But as a man in this city, this month has given me nothing to celebrate. Our women have asked an important question: are we really men, or is our manhood merely an accident of genetics?
As men, we need to start asking ourselves whether sexual violence is the heirloom that we will pass down to our generations to come. We need to ask ourselves if that will be our legacy. But most importantly, we have to ask these questions with regret.
Like I said in the beginning, I only came here today to let off steam. I am good, for now.
Happy International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, folks.