Before the government restricted passenger capacity of public transportation in 2003, syphilis was but a bus ride away in Kenya. I am not kidding.
When she was 14, a friend was commuting to school while squished on a bus. The adults around her were packed like maize on a cob, and their eyes were focused on the window to keep track of their location. My friend felt something hard against her rear that kept poking her. She ignored it thinking it was people’s bags and the usual jostling.
But the poking persisted so she turned.
An old, sweaty man had his penis in hand and was ramming himself on her. She was stunned and didn’t speak.
She just moved away from him. She didn’t know what else to do. But he was already finished with his sexual assault – which took place in full public view – and put his junk back in his trunk.
She was wearing her school uniform.
When I was 17, a matatu tout rubbed himself against me, full frontal. It caught me by surprise so it took a moment before I started punching the living daylights out of him. I was left distraught – and wondering why no one did anything as I screamed for him to stop and get off me.
I was wearing baggy jeans and a t-shirt.
Skirt past knees
Another friend told me about the time she walked to work in a skirt with ejaculate all over her butt region. The stain had 'magically' appeared after a ride on a matatu. She was only made aware of it when a man walked up to her and said, 'Next time, make sure you clean up when your husband finishes.' She felt stunned, ashamed, and hurt.
Her skirt went down to her shins.
Think of your mother
It’s not about what a woman wears. It’s about Kenyan society finding it normal and okay that women get sexually assaulted.
Whether it's ejaculate on your skirt or being stripped naked with violence.
For decades, the perversity of our minds has eroded our dignity. And in the process, the respect for your sister, mother, cousin, wife and aunt has been forgotten.
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