A 16-year-old girl is gang raped and thrown into an outdoor pit latrine. She named her rapists, and the men were punished. But the way they were punished has sparked an angry protest. The accused gang rapists were sentenced to cutting grass in the police compound's lawn. For raping a girl and leaving her for dead.
This happened in a village in western Kenya in June. The girl, known as "Liz," was on her way home from her grandfather's funeral. Her back was broken when she was thrown into the sewer, and when she gained consciousness, she still had to crawl her way out and scream to her neighbors for help. She uses a wheelchair now. Meanwhile, the accused were never formally prosecuted; instead, they were given chores, like they'd been caught vandalizing a building or something.
It really tells you a lot about how rape is viewed there, but this casual attitude toward rape isn't unique to Kenya. I think we've seen similar views here in the U.S. Look at what it took to get police to make a serious investigation into the alleged sexual assaults in Maryville, Missouri.
In Nairobi, women's groups gathered to protest the light sentence handed out to the men accused of raping Liz. They dubbed the protest "Keep off our panties." And a petition by the group AVAAZ, Justice for Liz, has gathered 1,315,000 signatures so far.
You shouldn't have to gather over a million signatures and hold a march. And a victim shouldn't have to reveal herself on national television. None of this should have to be necessary for local police to take rape charges seriously. I hope we're all getting the message, finally.
Why do you think police fail to take rape allegations seriously?
Image via NBC