STRIPPING OF WOMEN IN KENYA

Recently, there have been several cases on unjustified stripping of women or attempted stripping in Kenya. Men are the custodians of these barbaric acts in the name of morality and upholding Kenyan cultures while ruling out ‘westernization’. What men are not aware of is that they are addressing morality in a criminal way which can be prosecuted.
Stripping of women is an abuse to dignity for women in Kenya and stripping can’t be an answer when a woman wears short or tight clothes. There is no justification for stripping on moral basis because men wear tight jeans, sagging jeans and even shirts with cleavage and no one has ever complained of this. Another thing is that you will not miss men who will make inappropriate remarks when a woman is wearing baggy jeans or long skirts. So when we talk about conservative moralism, it is men who need to change because there are the one who are raping women and defiling young girls. Is this moral and stripping of women is it moral too? This shows that men remain as beasts in age of justice and equality and that there are not ready to appreciate freedom of expression and choice and elimination of all forms of discrimination.
Kenya is a democratic nation with laws governing our country and this means that people has a right of choice and freedom of expression. Thus, everyone must respect and accept other’s people choice because choices lie with that person.
Stripping is an act of aggression and humiliation against women. It is a sexual assault and we have laws that condemn such acts. Our Constitution for example upheld the right of inherent dignity and the right to have that dignity respected and protected (art 28). It also rules against subjection to any form of violence from either public or private sources (art 29). This means that we are all protected from degrading acts and women are protected from public stripping. But continuance of stripping shows that Kenyan men are not ready to adhere to the provisions of our supreme law which should be governing us. There is also the Sexual Offences Act of 2006 which condemn sexual assault but it is vague when it comes to stripping and this should be amended to include stripping as an offence.
On the other hand, Article 27(5) of the Constitution stipulates that a person shall not discriminate directly or indirectly against another person on any ground including race, sex, culture, dress, etc. this means that the act of stripping women is an act of discrimination as men wears the way they want but when it comes to women, there are denied this freedom. Discrimination against women is condemned in our Constitution and other Kenyan laws but discrimination continues to exist in Kenya and such discrimination violates the principle of equality of rights and respect of human dignity.
Kenya is a patriarchal society and men still thinks that they have control over women especially on their sexuality. Traditional and religious attitudes perpetuate this because women are regarded as subordinate to men as having stereotyped roles and this perpetuate widespread violence against women. Effect of such violence on the physical and mental integrity of women is to deprive them the equal enjoyment, exercise and knowledge of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In conclusion, I will quote Art 5(a) of Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which stipulates that ‘State parties should take all appropriate measures to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view of achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on the stereotyped roles of men and women.’ Thus men should not feel being superior to women and should not be the judge on what women should wear or not wear because this will be discriminatory against women. But the questions which remains and which still need to be addressed by the law to fill the lacuna are:
1. Who are the police of morality?
2. Who are the judges of decent dress?