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Our Guest writer is Arudi Mainjila, a 16 year old Kenyan currently residing in New York City, who like many women around the country was enraged when she watched the video of the lady who was stripped in the CBD in broad daylight for wearing a mini skirt.
November 7th 2014. A woman is stripped in broad daylight by touts in Nairobi, Kenya. Reason: she was wearing a miniskirt. A crowd gathers as the touts forcibly remove her clothes. Some bystanders try to intervene by insisting that she should be left alone while others just watch.
The barbaric actions of the perpetrators just goes to show how deeply engrained misogyny is in what are deemed to be modern-day societies. Every woman has the right to wear whatever she feels comfortable wearing or decides to wear without having to worry about being shamed or blamed. Why? Because IT IS HER BODY and she therefore has the power to make decisions regarding her body. A lot of the “moral standards” and “decency” arguments and justifications for acts such as these are invalid because who sets the so called “moral standard” that dictates to women what they should or should not wear, what they should or should not say or how they should or should not act? Today’s patriarchal systems help push such ideals that greatly disfavor and shame women who do not comply with them.
Responses such as, “if she would have worn something decent, it would never have happened to her”, “what was she thinking walking down the streets like that?” and “She deserved it because wasn’t she looking for attention dressed like that in the first place?” are not uncommon in such scenarios and they were not lacking in this case. It is reasoning like this that immensely feeds into perpetuating rape culture and victim blaming. Because if a woman is raped she must have provoked it. If a woman is raped it’s because of what she wore. It’s her fault that her being at the place she was wearing what she was wearing that her innocence and power of choice was taken away from her. It’s all her fault. Her mere presence and existence invoked emotions that made it justifiable for her to be raped. The cause of rape is not the victim, THE CAUSE OF RAPE IS RAPISTS. The fact that blame is too often shifted to the victim on the receiving end of the injustice is wrong, disgusting, unacceptable and absolutely HAS TO STOP.
Every human being has the right to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of race, colour, gender, religion, language, ethnicity, nationality, gender expression, sexual orientation and dress. The injustice committed on the 7th of November is absolutely inhumane and nothing short of barbaric. No woman should be subjected to any sort of verbal or physical abuse because of what she chooses to wear.