Legislating against sexual violence in Kenya: an Interview with the Hon. Njoki Ndungu

Reprod Health Matters. 2007 May;15(29):149-54. doi: 10.1016/S0968-8080(07)29286-9.


Sexual violence is rampant in Kenya and the law was not adequately dealing with it. This is an interview by the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) with the Hon. Njoki Ndungu, a Member of the Kenyan Parliament. It is about the history of the development and passage of the Sexual Offences Act, which came into law in Kenya in July 2006. The law contains 14 offences; it has created minimum sentences and criminalised sexual harassment. The media and radio stations had a big role in getting everyone talking about the issues, and support was widespread. Women's organisations and women's rights advocates played an important role, including lobbying members of Parliament, but there were some disagreements about tactics, such as whether demonstrations to support the bill were a good idea or not. The opposition claimed the bill would encourage women to make false rape allegations. As a way to discredit it, they also falsely claimed that it would legalise same-sex relations and abortion. Work is now in progress on a curriculum for training the police, public administration and judiciary on the new Act and its application, as well as a public awareness programme aimed at encouraging people to report incidents of sexual violence.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Mass Media
  • Politics*
  • Public Opinion
  • Sex Offenses / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Women's Rights