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Response to Male Violence in Lamu Featured

During this research study I’ve had the chance to hear stories about brave women who decided to break sexist rules and to move forward. Accepting a job, disposing of their money, divorcing their husbands or refusing to see their daughters being forced to marry. But I have also learned about their context and not everything is positive.

Lamu is a city of very traditional and sexist cultural norms and massive economic poverty, just like the rest of the country, just like many other countries in Africa and all over the world. This makes it very difficult to find a way out of male violence against women. The police station receives about 4 or 5 reports on the issue each week, but nearly 100% of the reports end there since the police themselves recommend to talk to your husband, or to the people’s authority, in order to tackle the issue and reach an agreement to “forgive the first mistake”, because “you’re not going to put your husband in jail”.

Comisaria policía

Then, if you have broken through your own fears and achieved to file the report not letting your parents, friends or relatives persuade you, you must go to the hospital and pay about €10 to get a medical certificate assessing your injuries. This may not be shocking, but here the average salary is €30, and given that the vast majority of women don’t have access to the labour market, it is an unreachable amount for many of them.

However, not everything is negative. Lamu currently has a female judge committed to women’s rights, who works with female lawyers’ associations to enable women to defend their rights in court for the lowest possible cost. Before I talked to her, many people told me how great she was doing because she was starting to impose heavy sentences on rapists.

Lamu violencias machistas

Thinking about what is the most positive aspect of the research study, I would say women’s fighting ability. When you spend time sitting next to them and listening to them, you don’t come across women who are tired of life because they work all day, inside and outside the home, experiencing all kinds of violence and discrimination. You come across cheerful and smiley women, eager to make a joke, ask you things about your city, to learn and dream. You can find a woman who, while breastfeeding her child and moping the floor, tells you that she wants to open her own beauty salon in two years. Another woman, while she takes her child to the hospital, tells you on the way there that she wants to work her way up to get money to build a second floor at her home, hers and her children’s home. That is why, they are not women who have given up, they are women who keep fighting to improve their lives and their families’ life.

To conclude, all that remains for me to do is thank every person who has made this project possible, specially to Lola and Merche for making it happen, the coordinators team and former coordinators who have joined me along the way, and particularly to the women who have been part of this paper, for every glance, every handshake, every kiss and for sharing in such a pure and real way their outlook on life. It has been a real challenge to conduct a research study on this topic here, but it will always be the best decision of my life.

Asante Sana.

Badaee.

 

Author: Ana Fernández | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Read 542 times Last modified on Saturday, 11 November 2017 18:42
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Afrikable is a Spanish charitable organisation, registered in the National Register of Associations under number 1/1/594088 and in the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID)'s Register of Non-Governmental Organisations under number 2033.

 

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