Fiona Sampson, executive director of The Equality Project, in Kenya who works with Mercy Chidi spoke about legal action she has instituted against the government of Kenya on behalf of girls. She told the story of Milly, one of the 160 girls who was treated by Mercy's group.
Mercy Chidi says her organisation has rescued more than 270 girls - mostly cases of sexual violence. The youngest survivor is 3 years old and the oldest is 16. 'Their stories are very devastating,' she says. Her organisation, Ripples International, is trying to hold the state accountable for failing to protect the girls. 'We have very good laws but they need to be enforced'. Mercy is working with Fiona Sampson, of The Equality Effect, to try and enforce legislation. Fiona is speaking now about the #160girlsproject in #Kenya #twconf12
Under Kenyan law, the term 'defilement' is used instead of rape, suggesting women and girls are viewed as property as this is a term that's generally used for property, says Fiona Sampson #twconf12
Sampson said Millie -- not her real name -- had been defiled -- an old term that refers to the defilement of property -- i.e. raped and had become pregnant, Sampson said. Millie stood up at a community gathering and told the meeting that she has a baby that she doesn't want and that is keeping her from going to school. She pointed to a man in the room and accused him of defiling her, asking why he remains free and she is not free.
The Equality Project has developed a legal advocay initiative to hold the state of Kenya accountable for the rape of girls--and to shift the stigma from the girls to the perpetrators, said Sampson. @trustwomenconf #twconf12
Sampson said the suit would bring age and sex discrimination violations under the auspices of the new Kenyan constitutions. On Oct. 11, International Day of the Girl Child, Equality Project took the case to the highest court in Kenya. Now, making submissions to the court in the months ahead.
Alison Smale introduced Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Pakistani-Canadian journalist and award-winning docmentarian for "Saving Face," which chronicled the plight of an acid attack victim.
Journalist and filmmaker @sharmeenochinoy #SharmeenObaidChinoy takes the floor @trustwomenconf #twconf12 she won an Oscar for 'Saving Face' a film about acid attacks on women
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy said she has been focusing on women who are using culture to fight culture. One special focus has been the victims of acid attacks, such as Rukhsana. Her father had thrown acid on her and her mother-in-law threw gasoline on her. He face looked like melted wax as she spoke to a doctor.
Obaid-Chinoy said she was cajoled by her own parents not to complain and send her husband to prison as there was no precedent for a woman from her village to do that. @trustwomenconf #twconf12
Laws can protect women but if their families don't allow women to take advantage of the law, the law can't help them, says @sharmeenochinoy #twconf12.