Kenya’s rape culture is rarely discussed in the news, but it is a very serious and emerging problem in the country. Back in 2016, it was said that there are at least 300 rapes in Kenya a day that are actually reported, while the unreported rape amount was left unknown. The problem stems from the fact that in Kenya, rape culture is very much normalized and it is common to hear rape jokes among men. There have even been outcries on social media surrounding this topic and on Kenyan news. This leaves victims of rape feeling unsafe about speaking out about what had happened to them, since in Kenya it can be socially damaging to do so.
There is also a lack of trust in the law, as many victims actually do not even trust Kenya’s security agents. This is because there have been many cases of abusive officers linked to sexual assault which the state fails to recognize and punish.
Since 2009, IMpower has taught a curriculum to school children in Kenya which helps fight gender-based violence. It is a dual-gender program that is taught in classrooms in 2-hour sessions each week, consecutively for six weeks. The program totals 12 hours and is relatively affordable at a cost of $1.75.
Both the boys and girls, through the simple and effective methods taught, are able to learn how to protect each other and reject gender-based stereotypes that are very much a part of their community in Kenya.
IMpower started when its founder Lee Paiva, back in 2006, came across a village in Nairobi, Kenya, and saw how her translator talked about how numerous women in the community had been affected by sexual assault. She then felt compelled by her experience to start IMpower to develop an educational curriculum to combat the injustices currently being made.
IMpower has proved to be a great solution with statistics proving that there has been a 51% decrease in occurrences of rapes among Nairobi participants a year after going through the program. IMpower, a part of No Means No Worldwide, has allowed students to feel empowered and has reduced rape in the city of Nairobi by teaching the students how to respond to attackers and how to recognize sexual assault attempts.
IMpower helps stop the cycle of violence in Nairobi and helps boys and girls create gender equity by providing students with the right tools to prevent gender-violence and enact change in their communities.
By allowing boys and girls aged 10 to 19 learn how to recognize and respond to sexual violence, IMpower is definitely an organization we should keep our eyes on and implement in more locations around the world. We need to prevent the continued normalization of rape culture in our world today.