(Formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

New IRIN film: Still Standing

Still Standing

The gang rape of a 16-year-old Kenyan girl, and the laughable punishment given to some of her attackers - they were made to cut grass for an afternoon before being set free - has made headlines around the world.

More than 1.3 million people have signed an online petition to demand justice for Liz*, who suffered horrific injuries and is now wheelchair-bound, and for the police involved in her petition to be disciplined.

The most unusual aspect of the case was not its brutality - Liz was thrown down a deep pit latrine and left for dead - nor the fact that her attackers, despite stiff penalties for rape being on the statute books, remain free, but rather the fact that, in a country where impunity for such crimes has become normalized, Liz’s ordeal generated so much publicity.

“Kenya as a country tolerates a culture of violence against women and… values and positions women much lower than men,” according to a recent government report.

Acts of sexual violence rose sharply during the mayhem that followed a presidential election in December 2007, with most such crimes targeting poor women in their homes.

“Still Standing”, IRIN’s powerful new audio slideshow, tells the story of one such rape survivor, Ziborah Iala, and her seemingly endless quest for justice and healing.

Having kept silent about her ordeal for several years, Iala found through counselling both the strength and the determination to speak out, so as to improve her chances of gaining redress and to encourage other women in the same position to do likewise.


*Liz is a pseudonym

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