Stigma and Victim-blaming have been cited as the main reason as to why many women do not openly speak about their experiences at the hands of violent men I the society. The #MeToo campaign is now up and running giving a platform to African women to have discussions that revolve around gender based violence and more specifically violence against women.
One of the victims who sought anonymity speaking to AFP that she has been a victim and came to realizes that it is a widespread phenomenon for women to be abused and it goes as normal thing in the society.
“It is even that is normal and we don’t talk about it, how does the #MeToo movemet..how do we interact?
“The issues definitely affect us but the blame is always shifted back onto the woman, that it is her fault, her dressing, her speech or she needs to be taught a lesson because she is too strong. It’s not only men, bit women who are thinking that way,” she added.
It has been noted women are not having these discussions in public forums but rather in private spaces like Whatsapp and Facebook groups.
A Member of Parliament from Uganda Onesmus Twinamasiko faced a lot of backlash from the online community after an explosive television interviews in which he said its justified to beat up women.
“Yeah, you need to do a little beating, it shows the love even,” said Twinamasiko.
He later on recanted his sentiments and apologized but no legal action was taken against the legislature.
Sex for better grades in educational institutions is also very rampant especially in Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya. One student from Freetown Teachers College South Africa speaking to AFP said she had to deal with sexual advances from her teachers.
“One of my science teachers demanded sex for a favorable grade after our final exams a year ago,” she said.
Nairobi, Bamako, Johannesburg, Kampala and Lima have been ranked as the most risky cities in the world for sexual assault and rape according to a report done by Plan International.
The long judicial process has been faulted as on of the reasons many women fail to follow up on assault cases terming it as unsympathetic justice system and the #MeToo movement has come to the aid of such women.
“The whole system that needs to be supporting you is trying to traumatize you more,” said Wangechi Wachira, head of the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) in Kenya.
The most recent case is the one touching on US Supreme Court president nominee Brett Kavanaugh who has been accused by Christine Ford for sexually assaulting her having been mocked by the Donald Trump. This is a clear evidence that the African women are a facing very many challenges according to Monica Godival Akullo, a Ugandan lawyer.
From Uganda to the US, our societies still don’t believe women,” said the lawyer.