Intelligent. Kenyan.

Published: 3 years ago

I Just Wanted To Go Home

On Saturday, the 14th of March, my friends and I had had a great evening catching up over drinks, after which we decided to check out a 50% off offer on burgers at a local coffee chain. They did not have the buns we wanted, though, so we decided to go home. I decided to take a matatu home. They asked me, “Will you be safe?” and I said “Sure! It’s not even 10 pm yet! It’s still safe!”

I was wrong. I arrived at my bus stop at 9.40 pm. At this time, the matatus that serve my route are no longer at Bus Station, but in front of Argho House, which is all the better as the area is much better lit. They are usually parked bumper to bumper, and one has to walk in between them as one would in a maze to get to the one that’s boarding. It was a routine I was used to. Only that this time, a makanga decided to stand in my way and block me from getting to my vehicle.

“Madam, si ukuje twende?” he said while hovering in my personal space. “Mimi siendi South C,” I replied. Normally, this is where other makangas would move out of my way and let me pass. This turned out not to be a normal day. The man did not move. Instead he grabbed my arm, and continued to harass me.

“Ai madam, kuja tu twende!” he said while trying to push me in the direction of his matatu. “Niachilie!” I said. I tried freeing myself of his grip, but his hand fit firmly around my arm, and I was unable to. I repeated myself, and he still would not let me go. “Niachilie ama nitakugonga!” I said, realizing that I would have to resort to violence if he did not let me go. At this point, another makanga, presumably from the same route, came and tried to ask him to let me go. “Manze, achana na huyu dame.”

He still wouldn’t let me go, and kept trying to push/talk me into going with him. So I punched him in the face, hard. The look on his face was one of horror and disbelief, as if he did not expect that I actually could, or would, hit him. I ran through the maze and emerged near my route’s matatus. The two makangas ran after me.

“Shonde wewe! Wewe ni shoga! Fala! Unajua tunaweza kufanyia nini wewe? Tunaweza kukuvua nguo, hata suruali! Malaya wewe! Tutakustrip! Tutakupiga wewe!” They were right there in my face, and people watched as they threatened me, and they did nothing. The makanga who had started all of this came and hit my right breast. All this was happening so fast, but somehow, I managed to rein in my anxiety and stand up to them.

“Ati mtanipiga? Mtanivua nguo? Kujeni basi!” I gestured to them to come nearer and attempt. They came nearer, but did none of what they were threatening. Instead, they kept screaming in my face, and I kept daring them to try. It was as if my apparent lack of fear is what stopped them from physically attacking me.

I could not continue for much longer, so I walked to the South B matatu that was boarding and told them that if they didn’t call their Sacco officials immediately to handle the issue, I would not rest until I shut their Sacco down. They quickly offered that the guys harassing me were actually South C makangas, under 12 C Matatu Sacco, and called two of their officials. The officials came, and asked me to tell them what was wrong. It was here that I learned through experience the violence we subject people to whenever we ask them to recount acts of violence committed against them. I recounted what had happened to the Sacco officials, and they tried to get the two makangas to apologize to me.

Instead, they moved closer and continued insulting me, threatening to beat me up and strip me. The original aggressor came too close for my comfort, and just before he could touch me or harm me in any way, I slapped him and threw him on the ground. When the Sacco officials asked the makangas to state their case, they lied that I had found them standing there and hit the first makanga when he asked me if I wanted to board their matatu. I actually laughed at how much the story of what actually happened had been changed.

By this time, the Sacco chairperson had been called, and he came and made me recount my story yet again. Only that unlike the two officials that came before him, he seemed to firmly be on the side of the makangas. “Madam, in situations like these unafaa kunyamaza na kunyenyekea na uache wanaume wa-sort it out.” He had a problem with how assertive I had been, and I could tell from the look of scorn on his face that he only planned on making the situation worse. When I asked him to handle the situation with the members of his Sacco, he looked at me with a smug look and said “Hizi ni vitu tuta-handle wenyewe kwa wenyewe, sio hapa, na sio saa hii.” He completely refused to accept that his staff were on the wrong, and he made the situation worse.

I stepped aside and called my mother to ask her for the phone number of any senior policeman she knew. She struggled to hear me over the noise, but later on she sent me an OCS’s number. I called the OCS just to let him know where I was and what was happening, in case I ended up injured, raped, or dead. The matatu people overheard me, and when I got off the phone, they started taunting me. “Unadhania ni wewe tu unajua polisi? Sisi tunawajua wote. Hata ukiwapigia, sisi pia tutapigia polisi wetu, na hutasaidika. Hii kitu tuta-sort wenyewe, hakuna polisi atakusaidia.”

This was when I lost it, and started yelling at the crowd of men that had gathered around me to spectate but offer no help, wondering what the point of having all those witnesses present but being unable to obtain some form of justice was. My attackers continued to verbally attack me. The Sacco chairman continued to stand by, looking smug. The two other officials stood by, doing nothing. Then, a huge man started approaching us, and my attackers ran off suddenly, while the matatu they were filling up sped off.

The man demanded to know what was going on. “As who?” I asked. He was a policeman, apparently. Again, I found myself recounting my story, reliving the violence. I expected that he would be of some help, but it seemed that he was in cahoots with the Sacco. “Utafanya hivi. Enda Central Police Station, uandikishe hii kisa, halafu utapewa OB number. Ukishapewa hio OB number, kaa nayo, halafu kila siku ukuje town, uangalie kama utaona hao makanga. Ukiwaona, just stop the nearest policeman na umuulize awashike. That is what you can do.”

It was now 10.10 pm. The man wanted me to go to the police station at that hour, never mind how dangerous that may have been. What was even worse was his ridiculous suggestion, that I should spend my days in town seeking my attackers, and upon seeing them, I should run to the nearest police officer and ask for them to be arrested. All the while this man was talking to me, the Sacco chairman stood by with a smug look on his face. I let them know that that was about the most ridiculous suggestion I had ever received: it was inefficient, time wasting and insulting. He shrugged his shoulders and asked me “Sasa unataka nifanye nini? Hio ndio hali ya vitu madam!” The Sacco chairman repeated the statement, just to infuriate me. “Unaweza kushika hawa watu wa 12 C Sacco wamesimama hapa, they were witnesses to what happened, and they stood by and did nothing,” I said. The policeman insisted that he could not arrest them because he cannot compel them to testify to something they did not participate in. I was stumped. He then started taunting me. “Nionyeshe hao wenye wamekuumiza, nitawashika saa hii!” knowing very well that my attackers ran off as soon as they saw him.

The group of men that had surrounded me then started offering me unsolicited advice. “Madam, unajua utafanya nini I was so deflated, I just tuned them out and walked away. I gave up, sat on a flower bed and called my taxi driver to come pick me up. After that, I burst into tears. I had never felt so hopeless.

I got home and had an altercation with my mother, who was insistent that I explain everything to her regardless of the fact that I had no energy to do so. I got into my room and called 999, and was advised to report the case to the nearest police station. The attendant I spoke to was optimistic, because in cases against Saccos, the threat of collective discipline is usually enough to get them to co-operate.

On Wednesday, 18th March, after telling my father what had happened, he accompanied me to Industrial Area Police Station, where I was seen by a female police officer he knows. It was a relief, because she did not engage in blaming me for what happened, and she did not ask me any insensitive questions. The incident was recorded, and I received an OB number and a P3 form (for assault). The policewoman filled her part of the P3 form, and told me to go to a hospital for assessment of my injuries (I did not have any, but when claiming assault, you have to go through this), get a summary report, then take this report to the police doctor, who would fill in his part of the P3 form. Then, I was to bring this form back to the police station, find out the policeman/woman who had been assigned my case, and then record a statement.

I followed her instructions. I went to a private hospital, where I recounted what happened to me and was assessed for injuries. Then, I headed to the police doctor. It struck me as insane, the fact that we only have one police doctor in Nairobi (he sits at Milimani Police Station) and that he does not work in the afternoon. I did not know this beforehand, so I went to the police doctor’s office at 2 pm. I had been warned of a long, winding queue that starts as early as 4 am, so I chose to go there at the time I am least productive. I had been told by my policewoman friend to call her in case he gave me any trouble.

His receptionist was a kind man, interested in helping me. He asked me what had happened, and I recounted yet again what had happened. He was empathetic, then he informed me that because he felt sad on my behalf, he would let me see the doctor; that the doctor’s hours end at lunch time. He wrote that I was a student on my form, to make my visit smoother, and I thanked him and told him that next time, I would come early. “Tunaomba kusiwahi kuwa na next time,” he said.

Upon entering the doctor’s office, he asked me what I was doing there, and I told him I was there to get my P3 form filled. He told me to sit down, and asked me to recount what had happened, so I did, again.

“Sasa mama mkubwa kama wewe, unaweza acha vitu kama hizo zifanyike? Kwa nini?” he asked. I was incredulous. “Ati sasa walikushika? Kitu ndogo kama hio, huwezi achilia? Lazima ufuatilie? Ai!” So I explained that the men actually threatened to physically harm me, to which he laughed. “I will never understand how women are assaulted and raped. Why do you have a mouth?” I thought this was a rhetorical question, so I did not respond. I just wanted him to fill my form so that I could get out of there. “Why do you have a mouth? I am asking you!” So I said “To eat and speak, I guess.” “And when the worst comes to the worst, what do you do with that mouth?” “You bite, I guess,” I said. “Exactly! You bite! So how are women attacked and raped all over and they have mouths!” Then he laughed for what seemed to be an eternity. “In fact, when someone is threatening to rape you or hurt you, you do not resist. You let them think you are actually going to let them do it, and then when they get near, you bite!” He continued to laugh.

“Where do you go to school? What do you study?” I cooked up a story that involved me being in my final year at a private university. “Do you have a job lined up? Have you even ever had an internship?” I continued to cook up my story that involved my being an undecided final year student who did not know what she wanted to do. “And now, this case, you plan on going to court? And pursuing it?” I answered yes. “Just because you were touched and threatened with stripping?” He continued to laugh. I lost my patience, and told him that I did not come to his office for his misguided remarks or unwanted counsel. I just needed him to do his job and fill in the P3 form, which he was yet to do. Instead, he had spent almost fifteen minutes taunting me, and I told him that for a medical professional, he should be deeply ashamed for saying the things he had. I could tell that he was not used to people speaking their minds to him.

He filled in the P3 form, and then asked me for KES 300. I only had KES 1000, but he told me he would give me change, which he did. It was then that I realized why the receptionist had insisted on writing that I was a student: I may have been charged more or never been attended to otherwise. He handed me my P3 form, and I asked him for my receipt. “Ati receipt? For what?” To which I responded “If you are mandated to charge me for this service, you should have a receipt book, therefore, I want my receipt.” He started laughing and said “Kumbe wewe ni mwerevu sio kama wale wengine? Leta hio mia saba.” I handed him the KES 700, and he returned my thousand shilling note. He pulled it out of a huge wad of notes, which I assumed was what he had managed to swindle out of other unfortunate people who had to see him, seeing as there was no other alternative.

I managed to get my P3 form back to the station and record my statement. On my way out, I went to thank the receptionist for helping me, to which he said “Nakuelewa tena sana. Hao watu wa matatu hawana heshima. Inabidi uwaripoti, hio kitu walikufanyia ni mbaya sana, nakutakia kila la heri kwa hio kesi.” I wished he was the doctor instead. The investigation on the case is ongoing, and I have learned a lot of things from this experience.

Every time I have been made to recount my story, it is as if I am reliving the violence. This is why we must be careful whenever we unnecessarily ask victims of sexual violence to tell us what happened. We are forcing them to relive the violence. I always knew that the stripping of women never has anything to do with what a woman is wearing. It is an act committed by men (or women) who wish to disempower a woman when she acts in a manner that is too empowered for their tastes. It is a cowardly act. I have experienced several people asking me “What were you wearing?” as if it matters. I was dressed in my regular uniform, a shirt and pants, and the issue of stripping only came up when I punched the makanga who thought he had a right to my time, space and body. When I showed him he did not, he aimed to humiliate me in the worst way he could imagine.

The fact that I seemed not to care about being beaten and stripped took the joy and satisfaction they would have got from doing it away, which was why they did not do it. The beating and stripping of women is meant to humiliate them and cut them down to size. I also always knew that asking “Did you report it?” is a harmful question, but I have learnt it anew because of what the system puts women who report through. I can only imagine a woman who has been raped or beaten up being forced to go to the police station, answer intrusive/insensitive questions because she did not have the privilege of having a relative with an empathetic police friend, then go to see that police doctor, who does not understand how women get beaten or raped. I can imagine him taunting them, laughing at them, asking them how they could let it happen. I can imagine him asking them why they have mouths, then signing their P3 forms and demanding for money for a job the government already pays him to do.

I have learnt that too many men feel entitled to a woman’s body, such that street harassment is a regular thing, and when you stand up to it, you get threatened with violence, and you get laughed at by insensitive doctors. Women are thought of as a resource that exists to satisfy men’s needs. Which is why a statement like “pesa, pombe, siasa na wanawake” exists. Women are not people, they are playthings for men, and when they prove otherwise, they must be cut down to size.

I have been asked why I am doing this; why I am pursuing justice through our legal system. It is because I want to stand up so that other women may never have to go through what I went through, or worse. So that people can see that even when you do everything right, our system will still let you down, and punish you at every juncture to get you to give up. I am doing this to teach the two makangas a lesson. When I offered them an opportunity to apologize, they did not, instead, they insulted me and threatened to beat/strip me. They thought they could threaten my life? Well, I will shit on theirs.

I am doing this so that whenever a man thinks of harassing or assaulting a woman, he will think twice, because he doesn’t know when he will run into a woman like me who will punch him in the face and get him thrown in jail. I am doing this so that everyone knows that “What were you wearing?” is an irrelevant question.

Most of all, I am doing this because I cannot believe that this is what can happen when a woman simply wants to go home.

83 Comments.
  1. mumbi kinyua says:

    I salute you, very very brave.Hope n pray that you find justice.

  2. Stella M says:

    I’m filled with so much anger I even want to cry…even with all your efforts and braveness I would still feel your desperation, how powerless you must have felt and hopelessness. How the world has taught our children, our men that we are objects subject to their desires. This is why I am hell bent on starting a mentor-ship program for boys to enable them grow into responsible men who not only respect women but themselves and life as well. I am so sorry my dear, pursue the case with all you’ve got and let nothing stop you. Those touts must face justice and if not at least may the process put some fear of God in them. Shameless bastards.

    • Irene says:

      I wish you all the best in your mentorship program for boys and perhaps you will share in the details of your organization for awareness and such.

  3. Malika says:

    only the brave ones can do this!I wish we could all learn from your experience and report any act of indecency.It would have gone a long way!

  4. Nyawira says:

    Thank you for being brave, and being an inspiration to women

  5. tabbie says:

    Clearly, you’re a strong, focused and elloquent woman. I salute you, and wish you success with this. Will follow keenly to see what happens. Blessings and hugs…

  6. Sandy says:

    I admire your courage. Dont lose hope. Am sorry for what you went through. Most women know only too well what you went through and most men know nothing or rather could care less about what happens to women. Especially young women. Lets strive to try and create change.

  7. Mutua Kiluti says:

    My God! Bree, I am so sorry. That the system has failed this badly, that there can be so many bystanders as your safety is threatened! But as long as conscientious people exist, this is a war that will have to be fought.

  8. Maureen says:

    I salute you for your bravery and courage. You are speaking up for the rest of us who use public transport especially at night. Thankfully I have never been harassed but I can imagine that there are many ladies who have suffered mercilessly in the hands of such makangas and that doctor.

  9. I commend you for having the courage to speak about it. We are a very sick society that doesn’t seem to understand that we are all people regardless. The ones who are meant to enforce the rule of law are at the forefront of breaking it. Pole sana my friend.

  10. Vicky says:

    I salute you dear, with your experience I now know that keeping quite on something as sinister as this is not a solution. I wish we all had the courage that you portrayed on this matter. And please men, please be your sister’s keeper whether blood related or not, today might be me, tomorrow your sister, mother or daughter. Is this something you would wish on any of your relations? Kindly if you witness something like this brothers, help a dear sister out instead of just standing there and doing nothing unless of cause you are of the same calibre.. Wishing you all the best and May you b get the justice that you deserve.

  11. Wang says:

    I salute you for your brevity! I pray justice is served to those makangas!

  12. teresia says:

    Thank you for being very brave, we need to protect ourselves, i know witnesses are keen on observing and recounting the details of the incident to other people who don’t matter, but when you need them to talk to people who matter like the police then they ‘didn’t see’ anything. My sister wrestled with a thief who’d snatched her phone in town in front of a restaurant with security men, people just watched as she got slapped by one out of the 7 men before i joined in to protect her. No one even came close to us as we faced the men. Its sad how people don’t care and its even worse when people in authority don’t do their jobs. I don’t expect a policeman to care but he should at least do his job, which my hard earned salary pays for.

  13. Nicole says:

    Thanks for sharing your story Brenda! I had an ex that hit me, and I’m constantly shocked that when I tell people here they ask ‘What had you done?’ as though there is justification for a man hitting a woman and scaring her body.

    The more we speak up the more we can help to reduce the stigma and hopefully change minds.

  14. Beatrice says:

    Thanks for sharing and may you get all the justice required and get to instill the sixth sense in those touts

  15. mols says:

    I salute you and will pray that God opens all doors for U as U humbly expose the rotten society we have.

  16. Patricia says:

    I don’t know you personally but I commend you for your bravery and resilience. I pray that you get the justice you deserve.

  17. Muthoni says:

    Thumbs up for your brave and unshakeable character. It’s high time we stood up as women and showed the whole world that strength is not based on gender. It’s said that the brain is our strongest weapon and its the brain that kicked your survival instincts to gear. Their weak brains made them fear your bravery. The justice system in our lovely country is crap and as such many victims are forced to drop their cases due to idiots like the ones you faced. You should also look into seeking help from Maendeleo ya wanawake. They will help fast track your search for justice and authorities that are more focused on helping your rather than increasing their waist size.
    All the best my dear, we are all routing for you.

  18. Ian says:

    Sad to hear that ladies still get harassed by these morons and the law enforcers let it slide like it’s nothing. Hope justice prevails and these bastards are put behind bars to serve an example to the rest of the rotten lot out there in the streets

  19. beverly says:

    strong lady there thanks for everything you have done.

  20. whisperywind says:

    I can only wish I had your courage. You are a strong woman and I hope you keep the strength to see this till the end. May this serve as a lesson to all the rotten people out there. All the best. Xx

  21. simone says:

    You are a powerfull woman, experiences like this need to be published thanks for sharing!

  22. Irene says:

    We have a very serious problem in Kenya and a lot of us just suffer in silence. This young woman exposed just how dire our need for change is. I mean, from manambas, to cops to businesses and even government, there needs to be a complete overhaul of how things are done. It will definitely take time (a long time) but she stepped up, we can too. Her story was just incredible and i applaud her for talking about and not letting anyone silence her. I also commend the receptionist at the police doctor’s office for doing the right thing – goes to show that somewhere someone is just waiting for the opportunity and perhaps strength in numbers to take on a giant.

  23. Rosa Ogallo says:

    This suddens me deeply.

    I know how it feels…that feeling of helplessness, hopelessness and anger.

    Anger that becomes Rage because you are powerless.

    I am truly sorry my dear, and telling you take heart is an injustice.

    But you are a brave one. On that i must commend you.

    My dear, these are hard and difficult times.
    Because we have to deal with uncouth men.
    My advice to you and women out there is to invest on a pepper spray…one that is intense darling to teach anybody who wasn’t raised right manners.

    You have destroyed all hope I had in the police.

    Knowledge is power.Thank-you for this information.

    I am sorry :’-(

  24. kiplagat kotut says:

    I am teary & shocked. Our touts must be rehabilitated. we must force change slowly. I am happy you are doing it. I appreciate young men like the Doctor’s receptionist who through experience goes an extra mile to ease the pain. let us ease the pain of those in pain with our actions & words of encouragement.

  25. South C Ward says:

    Hi. If you wish, kindly reach out to us, your fellow South C residents for support. This story has been posted on our page on http://www.facebook.com/southcnairobi and a residents’ Whatsapp group hoping to offer support

  26. mercy says:

    Thank you for being a brave woman and doing this. May God give you more strength…i have actually teared right now if this is what is happening to women being raped and stripped..i have a small daughter and pray to God all those wicked men who do that will get the full wrath of God; coz clearly our system is not for the faint hearted.

  27. Luke W says:

    Lady, first of all i am deeply sorry for what happened and i am truly awed by your bravery. You have inspired me in many ways. Those makangas should be given a life imprisonment for what they did…

  28. Belinda Adhiambo says:

    Your bravery …. is beyond words. Am reading through your story and I feel like it was happening to me. Just because it could happen to me. Mostly I am pissed the fuck off. …. excuse my language…… that other women would stand by and let this happen to a sister, mother, daughter, niece, aunty. We are a formidable presence as one….. what do you think we are as 2,3,4,5,6,7,8. We are impenetrable wall dammit. Stop stand and ask when you see a woman in distress. She is going through this alone, scared of what they would do to her. But still standing up for herself, so what are you scared off. Am getting infuriated. …..Seriously what do you say when you go home ……. imagine niliona huyu dame akiwa harassed. And ???? If we do not look out for each other. Who in the hell will. The men who were around her…… they did nothing. And it would have taken just one of them to step up …….. just one……. I have been through this and I was younger then, but my perpetrator was policemen. And like my attitude was back then and still is know. Only know am way more educated and intelligent. I’ll be damned if any man tried/ tries to make me feel less of a woman. Whichever person wrote down “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned” must have had me in mind….. We can teach these particular individuals a lesson….. we can do it together. Am pretty sure there’s a lot of influential young women out here. Please reach out. Am so sorry you had to through this, but I am so happy you stood up for yourself. You are what an African woman is made off.

  29. “They thought they could threaten my life? Well, I will shit on theirs.” Thank you for sharing your experience.

  30. Steffi M says:

    Thanks for sharing! So brave! May justice prevail

  31. Jane Mwangi says:

    Hugs and strength to you. Whatever the outcome of this case, you are a hero to me

  32. Esther says:

    surely this is what happens hence most of the cases never even get to the Initial stage of being addressed.May God give us strength

  33. dorcas says:

    Am shocked !I thank you for speaking out.

  34. gee says:

    This is so wrong on so many levels. I am sorry you had to go through that, even if I don’t know you. And I know those makangas, who are even rough with men. Keep knocking those doors, because it matters. I wish you courage.

  35. patrick ngaira says:

    Absurd. DPP and Chief Justice, please help intervene here. LSK, for the sake of women in this country, your mothers, daughters and sisters, pls pick this up…

  36. Indigo_Red says:

    Thank you for your courage, amazing woman. Thank you. For your defense of the dignity of both men and women, for demanding that the men of our nation be better than the beasts (with apologies to beasts who are so much better behaved) that many of them have descended into.

    Thank you for your sacrifice of time to bring a mirror to our Kenyan faces.

    I wish the police would start to become the sacred force they are called to be. I wish the Government elected would start to take the well-being of its citizens as a holy calling, and weed out avaricious creatures who prey on the vulnerability of those they are supposed to help. What is that police doctor still doing at work? How can there be only ONE police doctor in this Kenya? Why would anyone call himself a policeman and proceed to transform himself into a vulture in public? Whatever happened to inner values of valour, honour, nobility and courage in men? Do they set out to deliberately recruit cowards?

    Dear Kenyan men, please, read this. We the women of Kenya ask you to be better than this, for that greatness is within each one of you. Why do you choose to act like slime when you can be honourable and noble? Why would you decide to be less than you are called to be? Don’t be such disappointments all the time. Grow some real ones, please.

  37. Nzi Mul says:

    I’m all about ShoutingThe Silence! I will repost this. You go girl! And let every woman know that you can and have the right to stand up for and own your time, body and space. There is yet work to be done to fan this fire!

  38. Malaika says:

    Hat’s off my sister for having the courage to see this to the end. I think our society has degenerated so much that any woman that dares to defy a man gets abused and/or assaulted for it. I heard on a Kikuyu radio station not long ago a female presenter narrate how she has been abused on the road,by a tout for refusing to give way to an overlapping matatu. She was lucky, she was able to get justice and he was arrested, but from her narration, it caused her many sleepless nights. It’s time we stood up to them.

  39. Mercy Mutua says:

    I clearly understand how hopeless it feels to be treated like that,,i pray that you get through with ur plan. Congrats for being soo brave

  40. J Gichuki says:

    I don’t know how or if this would work but I hear there is a special police unit for dealing with sexual assault in matatus or by matatu crews. I expect that they would or should consider working with you to set up a trap for that or a similar group. Yes, you would have to be willing to endure further involvement in this affair but this may be all that is left in a world where might conspires illegally with law to get right. As you have come so far, perhaps you will consider going a bit farther to get a more satisfactory outcome. As the father of two young women who travel on matatus I worry that they may be in just such a predicament as yours and I am filled with rage that everything you have tried so far has failed because people don’t care.

  41. Kashem says:

    I respect what you are trying to do and it is sad that, what what you went through happens to so many females in our streets . I personally have been verbally harassed in a similar fashion. In as much as I stood up to them and I did not show them how afraid I actually was; I wasn’t strong enough to pursue the case further. I let it go for the sake of my own personal peace. I applaude you for taking the next step. You are one very strong girl.

  42. muthoni says:

    My eyes welled up as I read this. Would these by standers watch as their sisters or mothers got harrased? Really?

  43. Ian Mutuli says:

    Pursue the case by all means because those two makangas and that doctor deserve to rot in jail. The doctor is a corrupt fellow even worse he is such a despicable human being for his profession. For the touts, many of them behave like this and your case will serve as a lesson to many others. Nonetheless, you are a very brave woman and kudos for fighting for your rights in every possible way. Update us here on how everything goes. Sorry for everything went through. Best of luck.

  44. Am proud of your courageousness to speak up, and not give up at all. i wish action will be taken against the makangas and the sacco as a whole, they had no right to touch you. This are incidents that happen every single day at the bus terminus, atleast you had a taxi to come pick you up. What if you had to use the same means of transport? am sure it would be worse. I pray that one day they will be a system that will discipline this people, Am scared every time i have to board a matatu.

  45. Sue says:

    Thank you for telling your story, I’m impressed by your strength.

    Can’t get over the police doctor though, to me he kind of seems worse than the matatu guy. You say the investigation’s ongoing, I take it for the first crime? Do you think there’s anything you can do about the other???

  46. Debra says:

    I salute you. Never be cowed. These touts no different from the terrorists attacking our country. You are starting a revolution. Nobody should take violation of personal space and/or rights lying down. There is nothing to fear but fear itself. The only way to mend our broken systems is by standing up to their inefficiencies.

  47. Hi Brenda,

    I am writing to you on behalf of an organization called Hollaback which is now also setup in Nairobi. We aim to end all forms of street harassment which is very much what you experienced. If you can please go through our website on nairobike.ihollaback.org. If you feel this is something you would like to be a part of please get in touch with us on nairobike@ihollaback.org as I would very much like to meet with you.

  48. jmuiva says:

    I am sorry for your terrifying experience! But I’m glad that somewhere within you found strength to stand your ground.

  49. FRANCO DECHE says:

    Pole Brenda…had I been there I would have defended you with all I got. I do not understand why people continuously stand by and do nothing…. all I ask is what would it take for you to stand up and speak for someone else? or you only wait when you are affected or those close to you to speak out,and at that time those who you need to speak for you will not…..pole sana…how I wish I was there… hao watu wangeona moshi…

  50. Job Ogaro says:

    Brave gal soldier on

  51. jane says:

    conductors/touts should learn to respect people; they act like thugs/ hooligans- Im glad you were assertive & stood up for yourself- its wrong for anybody to take advantage of women like that – I find it disturbing that they call us Malaya/shoga these derogatory comments – the MOA needs to look into these issues keenly- this is a culture in the matatu industry that needs to stop- passengers also are to blame for letting this injustices go on, why are they watching helplessly? we should all be a part of fighting this vice

  52. Vera Moses says:

    some of them think that we are just a thing. They choose to treat women like trash. That is why they will do like they did to you or will abuse if women can’t give in to their demands. I read of a man who called a lady a lesbian just because she refused to be his girlfriend. One wonders, don’t we have rights? What happened to respect? I believe we do and no one should treat us as they wish,so i encourage you to go on with the case.Go on girl.

  53. You are strong and courageous I pray that you get Justice because you deserv it and they deserve to be thrown in Jail! so shameless!

  54. mafaruqq says:

    hey, i applaud you for your bravery, i hope and pray that you do get the justice that you are seeking. i can offer you post traumatic counseling just to help and empower you on how to reduce the effects of the harrassment, if intrested email me mafaruqq@gmail.com

  55. Sylvance Odongo says:

    my sister that is one of the worst experience ever encountered before acrowd which would have offered you both physical and mutual support, and for your info, i believe 99% of the crowd were men…why…because they enjoy staring at women’s p’ parts when exposed and that is what they were waiting for and NOT YOUR RESCUE. It is ill informed of such men as tratus as were never given birth to by same women…you are strong and feel more encouraged…be blessed

  56. Chao says:

    I am dumbfounded! That the makangas attacked you is amazingly animal behaviour but that there were bystanders watching silently is even more animal. Those matatus should be boycotted by the residents.

  57. Esther says:

    Sorry dear sister, I thank God for His mercies and protection upon your life. You went through alot of humiliation and psychological pain in the hands of those touts. Follow it up until you get justice, so that they can be trimmed to size. Would they have been very happy if what they did to you was done to their mother, sister or daughter? You may seek counseling sessions to get over the trauma dear,thanks for the officer who assisted you. God bless you

    • Fondo says:

      I encourage you to pursue the matter to dead end so that the stupid makanga is brought to book or the Sacco is shut down

  58. Enricah says:

    Thank you for beig brave. Do you have legal representation in Court? Kindly get in touch if you don’t have.

  59. Faith says:

    I am so sorry for what you’ve had to go through, I also commend you for your bravery and resilience, don’t give up, justice is on its way. You are an encouragement to women out here.

  60. This is so brave of You! I pray and hope that you get the Justice you deserve.

  61. Jay says:

    This entire post reeks of an entitlement mentality. You create a fracas and expect people to drop everything and be all Captain America for you and when people don’t act the way you expect them to act, you blow your lid and act a victim.

    You were attacked, and reported the case. Good for you. The unnecessary vilification of bystanders who had no obligation to you and people’s right to hold and air their opinions is merely an attempt to magnify your ‘victim’ mentality. Oh well…

    • bintiM says:

      Of course you’re entitled to be a douchebag, it’s within your rights to be an asshole, but I just have one request, sir. Can you please post a pic of yourself so that people can know who to avoid when in trouble?

  62. Belinda Adhiambo says:

    Jay, the guilt is killing you.Maybe you should acted like a man insteadof a 2 year old and said something……entitled mentality” my ass. Men like you are the exact morons who disguste us women…… For you to think a woman attacked in such a manner does not warrant questions on the bystanders. Is incredulous. So spare us your bullshit thoughts because clearly you were born by a man and not a woman. FYI when you decide to come for me trust and believe I will make you feel like the pea brain you are.

  63. Mwangi says:

    You are brave lady and an inspiration to many. people we should respect each other and live harmoniously. Never do to others what you wouldn’t like done to you.

  64. mary says:

    Am really sorry for you experience the courage to speak it out that police doctor taunted me some years back he is still the only one people have to queue from 4 am.
    Where is fida bin this where are all the female mps elected to parliament?
    Yours is a case study they can use to mobilise for support to act on the s account that molested you.

    Now the magistrate will expect you to recount that humiliating experience again in court in the presence of the same makangas while they make faces.
    Email me for psychological support my dear.
    all the best

  65. veronica says:

    People claim that they do not have the social responsibility to stop something when it is wrong. Well you do. If you do not at least call the police, then you have in a great way fascilitated the act. Mind you, there is a charge such as aiding and abetting.
    Lets not be self centered, today it is them, tomorrow it can be you. Everyone wants help when they’re in such a situation. It isn’t an equal fight there.

    On a moral level, what does it say about you if you find such a situation acceptable? Perhaps you are as bad as they are.

    I’m so proud of the stand she made. It’s inspiring and eye-opening. She didn’t get them behind bars, but she got them to think twice. They will hesitate next time.

    All reported cases need to come together and have Sacco suspended and these men looked for. What the government fails to realise is that this is a gang. The stripping catastrophy displayed this. They control these areas completely because nothing happens. That’s why they threaten to strip, because they know they can get away with it.

    This just blows my mind, they’re huge providers of public transport and this is the standard?? damn, if anything it’s the passengers we should be afraid of.

    What an infected country we’re in.

  66. John Kibe Kamunyu says:

    That’s a great and justifiably stand you are taking. It is true what the sages said; “Njamba tî îkere îkere”. Translation: Bravery is not defined by the size of your bisceps.

  67. Kechy says:

    Hi dear. very unfortunate that this happened to you. Please search on facebook a lady called Gladys Some-Mwangi, she knows authorities that can help you and even persecute those policemen. I have posted your story on her wall. I hope she will be able to help. Lets pray for the best.

  68. David Muli says:

    It is quite sad what you went through.I sympathize with you and feel your pain.On the flip-side it exposes alot about me,you and everybody else in our society. We only care when we are the ones affected and we only get to experience the real incivility of who we are as a people in these situations, however you have gone beyond and asked for your right which is a first and big step to working through our indiscipline, lack of decorum and etiquette.I congratulate you and admire you for that…to cut the long story short..where you have lost (dignity,insults et al) you have gained (insights into the other side of society and what you can do to change it). All the best.

  69. Muthoni says:

    Hi.you are truly a lioness. ‘Let the weak say I am strong’.in your pursuit of justice, you should consider reporting the police doctor to the medical practitioners board.his conduct was completely unprofessional and unethical.

  70. captain says:

    Every woman reading this should buy a paper spray for such stupid men…They taint the reputation of men…those are ones I feel like I would shoot down if I had a gun. Everyone should be treated with respect regardless of their gender…pole sana and if they don’t help you…The police… get a good passionate lady in the media who might be a TV or a radio personality and make the stupid police move their asses.

  71. Charlie says:

    It’s great that you chose to report this… It’s shitty what you were subjected to and it should be stopped.
    However, don’t you think that by posting this you harm your case? You’re not supposed to comment on the case in public (sub-judice, I believe). You might be charged with contempt of court…

    Success in your legal proceedings, in any case…

  72. Kechy says:

    Hey I finally got help for you. The lady I wrote to replied. She works for a body that arrests and prosecutes I am wondering if to give you details here. inefficient and abusive policemen. Trust me something will be done about it. Kindly email me on kechyaimba@gmail.com so I can give you details. Or instruct me if this is safe enough.

  73. George says:

    I Salute you, Lady. It is persons like you who make a difference and leave an indelible mark in Society. By Standing up to the uncouth ‘Makangas’, you showed that you care for what is right. I am glad you have IPOA’s Attention. Don’t relent or give up. That stupid police doctor belongs to prison, not public Service. I know their Kind, drunk, uncouth and corrupt as hell. Keep on keeping on, Salute!

  74. Too much for one night. Admire your bravery though, you are untamed. Those men are our fathers, brothers and sons maybe, we all gotta figure a way of dealing with them.
    Wish you all the best though

  75. arqia says:

    I salute you for your courage.You are a brave lady that we definitely should take lessons from.I wish you all the best as you pursue the case.

  76. Derrick Roy says:

    I am so sorry on behalf of men! That we have laid back and allowed our women to be so verily be demeaned is a major failure! It is my contention that men are supposed to protect and value women! This shameful heinous act that you in representation of so many women have experienced should be loudly spoken against by we men ourselves! May you and no other woman have to experience this again! In this fight! Forge on ahead and all the best may you emerge victorious and successful!

  77. Mutinda says:

    What an awful, awful story. I’m really sorry that it happened and that you had to relive it again to write it.

    Having tried to reason with stupid makangas for years I finally gave up and nowadays I just let them be. I’m not saying that’s what you should have done; you had every right to protect yourself. Please follow those pricks to the ends of the earth and make sure they get their just deserts.

    We once used to be packed like produce in matatus and no one ever thought things would change until Michuki came along. May you be the Michuki that helps free women once and for all from these air-brained psychopaths. Bravo.

  78. hey.i think we can do more with your story.please get back to me. my e mail charitymoraa@gmail.com says:

    hey.i think we can do more with your story.please get back to me. my e mail charitymoraa@gmail.com

  79. Jerith Weru says:

    I’m sorry you had to go through that .
    Thank you for sharing and being a source of encouragement to others and shame on anyone who asks you why you are pursuing this, I wish you all the best

  80. Change occurs one person at a time. Thanks for sharing and for taking action. I am a guy but I totally understand what you went through. I do video interviews and would love to interview you someday about your experience, if you would be interested, let me know. Inbox me at david at e-labz.info

  1. By THIS HAS TO STOP! – Styles of Muia on April 11, 2015 at 9:33 am

    […] “Sasa mama mkubwa kama wewe, unaweza acha vitu kama hizo zifanyike? Kwa nini?” he asked. I was incredulous. “Ati sasa walikushika? Kitu ndogo kama hio, huwezi achilia? Lazima ufuatilie? Ai!” So I explained that the men actually threatened to physically harm me, to which he laughed. “I will never understand how women are assaulted and raped. Why do you have a mouth?” This is an exerpt from an article I read recently written by a young lady by the name Brenda Wambui you can read her full story here. […]

  2. […] I Just Wanted To Go Home […]

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