The culture of the MeToo Movement has had definite pros and cons, particularly in Kenya, where we seem to thrive in a society that hates women.
Why do I say so, you ask? Well, think about what Kenyan men generally say about Kenyan women. We have ministers and holders of public office talking blithely about raping willing women. Countless cases of harassment where these officers are concerned are consistently dropped.
And more recently, when a woman in Kenya is killed by a man, men all over perform the most contorted of gymnastics to prove exactly why the death of the victim is the victim’s fault.
Take, for instance, the recent killing of Ivy, a Moi University student, by her long time stalker. Not only did headlines sanitise this murderer’s actions by calling it a love gone wrong (for the record, as an adult, that isn’t love, that is obsession, and it is unhealthy and creepy). Several cases of similar outcomes are also referred to as lover’s quarrels when in actuality, the men are just killers.
Somehow, it always becomes the women’s fault. Many blame it on money that is exchanged between the two parties, or given freely, when more often than not, the money is not the reason. Ivy, for example, had repeatedly said no to this man for years. He finally sent her money for her birthday – a supposed gift, from which it was clear he expected something in return. There was only money in one instance. Was Mercy Keino thrown onto the road because of money? Was Sharon stabbed several times in the stomach because of money? How about all the women who are killed for returning money?
It seems that woman can’t win in this situation. You’re killed if you take the money, and killed if you don’t. You’re killed for saying no, and killed for saying you won’t. Either way – it’s our fault.
Jalang’o, a popular radio presenter, in all his power and influence, made myopic declarations about how women should not accept gifts from men that they haven’t asked for and did not put a gun to one’s head to offer if they are not going to give anything in return. I say myopic because women are killed for far more, and less, and in fact, gifts often feature very rarely in these deaths. As if giving of a gift is automatic reason for justification of murder. I don’t understand his reasoning, but it would seem many men in Kenya do, and we are still not safe.
And that’s the root of the problem – Kenyan men and their inability to deal with rejection. At this point, men are operating on a level worse than animals. Even animals, for the most part, give gifts or perform dances or build nests and such for potential mates in an effort to woo them into partnership. If their potential mates choose someone else, they simply move on to the next mate, without spilling blood alongside their tears. It’s an act of nature – not everyone will say yes to you. Even animals understand that entitlement to bodies or mates is not a thing.
There is some good that has come from this. There has been a generation of discussion, which is good, both online and offline. And at least, for the men who are more obvious about what side they stand on, women can tell who to avoid from who is making stupid shoka jokes, and think that women’s bodies are at their disposal.
After all…security starts with us.