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
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
Hundreds of thousands of readers trust The New Humanitarian each month for quality journalism that contributes to more effective, accountable, and inclusive ways to improve the lives of people affected by crises.
Our award-winning stories inform policymakers and humanitarians, demand accountability and transparency from those meant to help people in need, and provide a platform for conversation and discussion with and among affected and marginalised people.
We’re able to continue doing this thanks to the support of our donors and readers like you who believe in the power of independent journalism. These contributions help keep our journalism free and accessible to all.
Show your support as we build the future of news media by becoming a member of The New Humanitarian.