A new report from Amensty International confirms what we have seen and heard in our own work in Nairobi's slums: a lack of planning contributes to sexual violence against women, including rape, and the spread of HIV/AIDS. The Amnesty report, called Insecurity and indignity: Women's experiences in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, documents the experiences of women living in four of Nairobi's slums, Kibera, Mathare, Mukuru Kwa Njenga and Korogocho. Of course, planning is not solely to blame, but lack of adequate toilets, places to bathe, lighting, housing, and other place-based issues make life insecure for many girls and women living in slums. Violence against women also happens inside the home, at the workplace and is unacceptable anywhere, anytime. Compounding the problem is that violence against women, from rape to domestic abuse, often goes unreported and unspoken about, adding to the trauma. Police presence is rare in Nairobi's slums and in Mathare and Makuru, where we are working, social control is more often by youth gangs than any government authorities. Another horrific outcome of violence against women is the spread of STDs, especially HIV/AIDS, and the burden this places on women, families and entire communities.
For more media coverage of this important issue: Fears of rape in Kenya's slums 'trap women'