Un-silencing the voices of the victims of sexual violence

Un-silencing the voices of the victims of sexual violence

By Zawadi Onyango

In early 2020, a press release statement announcing a book deal co-signed by Adelle Onyango, to co-author a book with Lanji Ouko-Awori stirred an online conversation around gender, the law and violence in Kenya and East Africa. The authors recently revealed the cover of the latest book titled “Our Broken Silence”. Published by the internationally-acclaimed publishing firm, Goye Publishers, “Our Broken Silence” was recently awarded the Writer’s Guild of Kenya Impact Literature Award. 

In the form of diary entries, the book explores the murky journey and plight rape survivors, observers, family members, activists, nurses, and lawyers, among others, who offer glimpses and perceptions into gender violence violence and access to justice.

Alarming statistics

Kenya’s rape statistics are quite alarming; one in three women have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Furthermore, during the first three weeks of the COVID-19 induced curfew in 2020, reported cases of sexual violence tripled compared to 2019.

Through their book, the authors seek to continue to break the silence and victim stigma around rape by speaking about the disruption to the victims’ lives as a result of one of the most reprehensible forms of violence. “Breaking Our Silence” will be launched in June.

The effects of sexual and gender-based violence live in the victims for their entire lifetimes, and “Our Broken Silence” tries to interlink the experiences of the victims and those in their support system, to paint a picture of just how massively sexual violence affects individuals and societies. Through the book, Adelle and Lanji seek to disrupt social constructs of inequality and injustice around sexual and gender-based violence.

About the authors:

Award-winning media personality Adelle Onyango is a rape survivor who has gained international recognition for her efforts to empower African women and youth. Additionally, she is celebrated as one of Facebook’s 2019 Icons of Change, Africa Youth Awards 100 Most Influential Young Africans for 2019, and BBC’s 100 Inspirational and Innovative Women in the World for 2017. Adelle is the founder of the Adelle Onyango Initiative, which works to create awareness on gender-based violence. She also runs a cost-free group therapy program for rape survivors.

Lanji Ouko-Awori is an author, lawyer and gender justice consultant. She is the founder of Crevit Mulier & Co., a legal bureau working on contemporary African issues focused on gender justice policy reform and intervention in various fields of law through litigation. Crevit Mulier is also a training institute, research centre and boutique publishing firm since 2015.

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