Life can be cruel. The kind of cruelty that no words can describe. Cruelty that stems from individuals who are akin to savage beasts. Imagine having to endure gang rape by six of these beasts on your way from your grandfathers funeral. Never mind that your emotions are already battling with the loss of your granddad, the beasts decide to rape you until you lose consciousness. After which they throw you into a pit latrine.
This is what happened to 16-year-old ‘Liz’ (not her real name) from Busia, Western Kenya. She had to endure what I can imagine were the darkest hours of her life in the latrine until she was found the following morning. Never mind that when she went to report to the police station, they asked her to take a shower. And just like that, critical evidence to put the beasts behind bars was lost. ‘Liz’ was sexually assaulted, beaten and as a result suffered spinal injuries and obstetric fistula.
Punishment for the savage beasts you ask? Well, all they did was cut grass at the police station and walked home scott free. Both local and international media has been awash with condemnationof the atrocity that was committed against this girl. And rightly so, because this girl must have wondered how cruel this world can get.
It got me thinking how people often feel that civil society groups and like-minded advocates “are always making too much noise” about the injustices that women go through. Isn’t it enough? some will ask. And the answer lies therein in Liz’s traumatising ordeal. It clearly is not near enough. We live in a system where most of the structures and systems that are supposed to give us refuge don’t. Somewhere in Busia, western Kenya, is a police officer who believes that cutting grass is befitting for a rape crime. These systems are comprised of some individuals who do not have an inkling on the kind of effect these crimes have on the lives of women that have to go through them.
So we cannot make enough noise, we will blare the horn ever so loudly until beasts that perpetrate these acts are give sentences so punitive that they think twice about committing these crimes . We do this for future generations who will not need to have protests to highlight such brutality to the powers that be. We do this because even if the world shows its cruel side through such senseless beasts, we show that it has its beautiful side that offers refuge to those that need it the most. We do this for ‘Liz’.