Today is International Day of the Girl.
I woke up thinking of Liz, a 16-year-old Kenyan girl who was gang raped, beaten and dumped in a pit latrine three months ago. She was walking home from her grandfather’s funeral when she was attacked by six men, some of whom she knew by name. More on Liz’s story here. Liz suffered a spinal injury and has developed obstetric fistula. Her rapists were told to slash grass as punishment. Really?!? Slash grass!? Whatever happened to the police “protecting and serving”!?!? It’s all simultaneously heartbreaking, frustrating and disturbing.
We, as a society, need to take action to ensure that this doesn’t happen to our girls. We need effective action. We need mechanisms in place that not only protect girls but also allow us to thrive and live free of the fear that our lives are constantly under threat. Measures need to be taken to punish rapists not enable them. They absolutely cannot continue walking away with a slap on the wrist.
We need justice for our girls. Liz was denied justice from the get-go. If there was justice she would have gotten home safe that day. Justice would be Liz being able to get to her destination without being attacked physically and verbally. She didn’t get that and the system continued to fail her from then on. The police didn’t follow the proper procedure in dealing with the case. Her rapists are free and have been tormenting both Liz and her family. Higher authorities have been dragging their feet on this and many other similar cases. Something’s gotta give…we need change and we need it now.
There is a petition calling for justice for Liz. Yes, I know, we shouldn’t have to sign a petition for her or any other victim to get justice. It should be a given but sadly that is not the case. The Kenyan system is failing our girls and we cannot stand by and let it. Please sign the petition. There are also details on that page on how you can donate money to pay Liz’s hospital bills and ensure that she can get the surgeries and treatment she needs.
As we observe International Day of the Girl, let us ask ourselves what we can do to ensure that girls worldwide have a nurturing environment that will allow them to realize their full potential.