Breaking cycles of violence against women can be harder in some countries than others. When generational, misogynistic mindsets are deeply rooted in cultures, they become a norm that is not easily changed. Rape becomes unpunishable and rape talk becomes taboo.
According to GIRLTALKHQ, “In Kenya, 8 out of 10 Kenyan women have experienced physical violence or abuse during childhood.” In 2006, a report from Kenya’s national commission on human rights found that a girl or woman is raped every 30 minutes. High rape statistics are prevalent in a continent like Africa and it comes as no surprise that violence against women is continuously being swept under the rug by corrupt governments.
Leave it to a new Kenyan program however to spark a light of hope. A Kenyan charity took it upon themselves to create a new program that teaches boys how to stand up to violence against women and identify a potential attack. ‘Your Moment of Truth’, run by the Ujamaa African charity, has provided training that intervenes with boys’ actions when it comes to rape and violence against women.
Proving highly effective, a study by researchers from Stanford University, University of Nairobi and United States International University-Africa found that “training increased boys’ successful interventions when witnessing physical or sexual assault by 185 percent, from 26 to 74 percent” (StopStreetHarassment.org). Additionally, rape by boyfriends dropped form 61 to 49 percent, researchers said.
Collins Omondi, who teaches the program, quotes: “Our main focus on the curriculum is positive masculinity for the boys, positive empowerment, and actually making them gentlemen on issues to do with the prevention of rape and standing up for the rights of women. If they say the boys are actually the problem, we the boys can actually be part of the solution.” Omondi continues, “before the class, more than 80 percent of boys said that girls wearing miniskirts were inviting boys to have sex with them. Afterwards, it dropped to 30 percent.”
As a firm believer in including men and boys in rape talk, ‘Your Moment of Truth’ makes a crucial and clever move by including boys as part of the program. The only way to demolish and defeat this dangerous cycle is to begin with the root of the problem. It is necessary to implement these types of programs globally, especially in parts of the world where consent is not clearly defined nor established. Moreover, training boys to have the courage to speak out against issues that should not be considered normal, is the first step to decreasing acts of violence and rape.