The First YouTube channel

Here is the 1st YouTube video of the very much promised channel “Khachina and Cherrie”. I haven’t had the opportunity to put this in writing but truth is; I wanna talk about women, what affects us, and the choices we make with consequences as well. ps# I did not forget to comb my hair, it is always as nice as it looks in the video. HAHA!

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When an insult becomes a statement

I reached for my phone after the most exciting day of being a panelist at the #girlsintech forum last month. I have always been a nervous woman growing up. I could barely speak at a job interview, and here I was- discussing “leveraging mentorship and networking in women entrepreneurship.” Why? I could finally do it. I finally believed in myself enough to trust that I could do it.

“Hello nerdyclues, how is your love life? Must be pretty dope huh? The dates must be significant.”

Emails like this make me laugh.

They force me to sigh, and this one has got me typing.

On Friday, I was invited by a 21-year-old for a drink. One of the many invites I get. I was broke. Flat broke. I had a little money to spare for two bottles of beer and an Uber. I wore a black trouser, black t-shirt, and a jacket, got into a cab and left to have the drink. I had no idea what I was doing. I just got a new fantastic job working with great women, and I needed to have a drink and celebrate that. An invite seemed like a perfect excuse to let loose. I needed to dance too. I am an awful dancer. Trust me; my dancing is a comedy. I would win an Oscar for best comedian ever, just for standing up and dancing.

The agreement was, “you will get home safe.” I trusted that. I got home safe, at 5 A.M in the morning. I had a bottle of whiskey and some beers, texted a few guys that I liked and made a resolution not to explain myself to them the next morning. Lately, I never do. I believe that every human being has the freedom to do whatever they want. The shame of drunk texting never chooses whom and why. You just do it. Your heart and brain become friends after a few shooters, and your fingers do the work. So yeah, I did text 2 or 3 people. The date pretty much ended with my friend asking me to call an Uber and pay for it while waving goodbye to me while seated on the lounge.

Here is the downside to being a writer. I rarely talk about myself or my close friends, or my best friend and roommate. Here is her blog. She writes too, is younger than me and is as fierce as any dangerous woman can be. I regularly call her a photographer and she gets angry; she is a filmmaker. Filmmaker, she insists, and that is true. I would share a link to her film, but I believe her work is too good for free airing. You can look at my very boring YouTube video here instead. I have been encouraged lately to do more videos so yeah, it’s decided. Follow my YouTube link and subscribe- it is all crazy and fun out there from next week.

I was having a conversation with my movie guy; he had worn some Yeezy t-shirt (I think that is what Kanye West calls his designer clothes); so torn he looked like he was out of t-shirts. I didn’t know that was fashion when I pointed out that he needed to get the t-shirt mended or buy a new one. I was genuinely concerned about why his shirt had so many holes. A t-shirt, not torn goes for as little as Ksh 30 in some place- I was nice. That’s an ex-movie guy now. I only do business with respect.

I got called ugly today. Ugly, lazy and possibly gay, he said. You have an equally gay friend here; he pointed out at my best friend and roommate. That was his response to a fascinating conversation that started out with me, calmly asking him why he wore a torn shirt. More than ten holes is a genuine concern. I would say beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder but whom am I kidding- I had unknowingly bruised his ego and he needed to show me who is Boss.

He went ahead and mentioned names of men he thought would be interested in fucking ugly women. That’s when I realized, shitness… I just got insulted. He described our bodies as anyone would describe a car model and called in his friend to voice an opinion on it. They talked about us, trying to put us down for a whole 20 minutes. All that while, I was waiting for my thumb drive. And he took his sweet time with it.

Women, get insulted a lot. I have been abused so many times; it never bothers me but when it is done to someone else that bothers me. We allow women to be abused and violated everyday. The worst part? It is done by men and women that have no morals compared to the victim. They have intense expectations and nothing to offer in return.

Weak people abuse, and insult people and I make it a point to talk about it. We get so humiliated when people abuse us; it is time to channel that energy to talking about it and that is where my YouTube channel comes in- I and Megan (the writer and best friend), will be talking about our everyday life while addressing issues that we go through as women. We will be having a guest blogger once in a while, man, woman or transgender as we believe in equal human rights and no one should think that they can take away that from anyone and this platform “Khachina and Cherry,” we will be talking about issues we are so afraid of talking of, a vlog at a time.

rape

When the sun sets in the East.

According of FBI; the penetration, no matter how slight, of the genitalia with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim is rape. If the word “rape” mysteriously disappeared from the English language, we would have absolutely no problem expressing the concepts it besets as Africans. We could say “sexually violate, forced to have sex, sexually assault, forcibly penetrate…” and other terms that could mean, “stripping off the dignity, paining someone or dishonor someone.”

Rape in Kenya; law aside, societal perceptions discussed, is the horrendous act to a woman to the point that she could barely walk, talk or have the zeal to live. Unless someone was hurt and blood is involved- they let you know and beget with actions, that you do not know what ‘true’ rape is. This, has been illustrated in so many instances.

In 2013, 3 men accused of brutally gang raping Liz were ordered to cut grass as punishment. 16 year old Liz was walking back home after visiting her grandfather’s home. She was beaten, gang raped, had her back broken, and was thrown into a pit latrine and left to die. The officers on duty, recorded it as an assault, and released the suspects after making them cut grass in the compound as punishment. It took about a million people across the globe to sign a petition seeking the arrest of suspects who gang-raped her. After the re-trial, they were given 15 years in prison. In 2029, Liz might just bump into her rapists. I hope and pray such a day doesn’t come by. A quick follow up, indicated that Liz and her family left the village due to threats from the village, the rapist’s relatives and friends.

In 2015, a 26 year old woman was raped in Kilimani Police station by a police officer. In her lingering quote, “anyone but the police,” she explained her ordeal in an article published by The standard media. After the rape, she spent the night in a cell, passed out. The OCS of Kilimani Police station, called her delusional and epileptic after she reported that she was raped until she passed out the following morning. The mother of a 4 year old by then, was also thrown out of the police station half naked.On top of that, they refused to give her, her belongings. She had no money, no clothes and no means of getting medical help. An assembling crowd made her get the attention she needed, that enabled her to seek medical help, record a statement, get the attention of the press and actually prove that she was indeed raped (she had severe injuries) but, at the time the article was being written, she was contemplating of withdrawing the case due to the number of threats she had received.

It is a big shame to be raped in Samburu and if your child is a result of rape, it is given Tobacco hence it dies. That is, something you pick up through the painful documentary on the rape of the Samburu women by the British soldiers. From as old as 1988, 500 – 600 Samburu women living in the villages of Sechen ( a village entirely made of ex-communicated women), with mixed race babies have for years, been trying to prove that the British soldiers raped them, with no avail. The Royal Military Police did an internal investigation and cleared their soldiers of wrongdoing. These women, do not understand why God is punishing them, one of them with a beautiful baby girl that clearly feels that pain says. She lost her family and community. Yet, for over 50 years the British have maintained their TRAINING camp in Samburu. The pain in those women’s eyes and the voice, is enough to make you wonder; what the hell is being done about this? The video can be seen here.  Beatrice Chili has been a great help in helping the Samburu women, see beyond being misfits.

In 2007, more than 900 women were raped by their neighbors, strangers and family during the Kenyan Post Election Violence. They are yet to receive any justice. The various articles you grab your hand on, will break your heart. Heartbreakingly, the boy child, is raped day in, day out and I am yet to see reports that shed light on it. Truth is, the Kenyan culture has associated rape in men with weakness, in women- great shame. If a non virgin is raped, no one takes it seriously. After all, they say, she’s not a virgin. She has lost nothing.

A young man was raped in Western Kenya and instead of being given medical help, he was scolded, mocked and hidden by his family. The young boy is at risk of rape as much as a woman. In the Kenyan slums such as Dandora, in 013; gang rape of young boys had become the order of the day. None of these cases were reported until an affirmative action was taken in sensitization and awareness of the boy child rape.

The Kenyan slums have so many rape cases, we cannot begin to list it all. Children from as young as a few weeks old are raped and killed. I remember writing about the 8 year old from Kibera that has gone mute, after her case dragged on for 18 months. She is yet to get an justice- after all, her grandmother missed the court case due to heavy traffic (she was testifying for the 3rd time). A missionary in 2015 was given 40 years for molesting children in a children’s home. 40 years? Well… That’s the magnitude of his act to our law. 40 years. BUT Heck, no one saw it that way. It was a just sentence and so was Liz’s 15 years to Liz’s mother because rape convictions are a rare thing.

In Kakamega, a blind girl in Western Kenya; was raped by her teacher and is 7 months pregnant as aired by one of Kenya’s mainstream media. The teacher has disappeared (of course a few people know where he is), so justice is not done yet. In Migori, I gathered from the residents that an MCA raped a child because the mother was not around to satisfy his sexual needs. He was having an affair with the young girl’s mother and when the mother was a no show, he raped her daughter. In Nyanza province, in 2015, someone was serial raping old women. It was featured in a mainstream media. No hashtags. Nothing. Just a feature, some sad faces and that was it. That was hushed upon by us, not the media but us; they did their part. DID WE? 

Most Kenyan women, are sexually harassed; daily. From the verbal insults by the touts in the buses we take to the unwarranted and forceful touches such as the case of the circulating  touching and relatable post of Lynn Angela and heck to the many incidences such as occasions where women have been sexually harassed in a Matatu; literally. The woman that was sexually assaulted in the bus and no one wanted to call it rape. We just wondered what happened to her, no one called HER a rape victim. She was called a drunk girl and immoral men. No one called them rapists.

What were you doing with those men, is the Kenyan national anthem to rape victim? Why were you dressed like that? Why did you visit him alone? Those are the questions we ask the rape victims. We do not ask, are you okay? What can I do to help? We say sorry and whisper. We repeat the whole ordeal and subconsciously victimise the victims. The stares they get. The silence when they enter a room is enough to scar them further.

Any time a man or a crowd paces towards me in a lonely street or at night, I wonder, is this it? When I go to the bus station to get a bus, I pray and hope I will not be stripped, assaulted or raped as people watch. What happens if someone I know rapes me? Will I get justice or I will be forced to repeat the ordeal over and over until I go mute? What happens when I have a daughter or a son? Will they be raped? Will they rape? Will they be safe? Will my flesh and blood hurt or be hurt?

Until the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, I will not walk around knowing that I am safe. Until the sun rises in the west and sets in the East; I am a woman who fears that justice for rape, is just another foreign concept. When the sun will rise in the West and set in the East, rape in my society will be, more than just sexual penetration and I will be safe. Sigh…