The alleged sexual assault on the Kenyan poet has sparked a hot discussion in the country social media and literary circles. The accused, a journalist and writer, denies the claim.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday September 25
On Saturday September 20th, Standard Group columnist Mr. Tony Mochama committed an indecent act upon the person of poet and activist Shailja Patel, at a gathering in the home of Professor Wambui Mwangi in Spring Valley, Nairobi.
Today at 12 noon, Ms. Patel filed a police report at Spring Valley Police Station. She was accompanied by her lawyer Ann Njogu, Chair of CREAW (Centre for Rights, Education and Awareness for Women), high Court Advocate Betty Kaari Murungi, eD of COVAW Joan Nyanyuki, representatives from FIDA, and friends and supporters.
Ms. Patel had previously stated that she would seek restorative community justice rather than engaging the judicial system. Following consultation with civil society colleagues and consideration of all parties involved, she decided to file a police report for the following reasons.
1) To facilitate the need for corroboration, substantiation, triangulation.
2) To support the decades of work of Kenya's women's movement has spent to improve reporting procedures for SGBV survivors.
3) To move forward policy and practice on on sexual violence in public life on the basis of evidence.
4) The women's movement has fought hard and long for sexual violence to be treated like the crime that it is. We must uphold that struggle by being as rigorous as possible when we make our claims and the demands thereof.
Ms. Patel said:
"Each time a man sexually harasses or assaults a woman with no consequences, he is emboldened to repeat and escalate that behaviour. It becomes a pattern. Sexual predators are not born; they are the product of patriarchies and rape cultures that teach men they are entitled to the bodies of all women.
"When a man invades a woman's body space without her invitation, touches, grabs and gropes her without her consent, he violates her sovereignty of person. He evicts her from her own body. Our bodies are our first homes. If we are not safe in our bodies, we are always homeless.
"Let us stand with all victims and survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Let us create a society where sexual violence is unknown."
Ann Njogu, Chair, CREAW, Centre for Rights, Education and Awareness for Women
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