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Gender-Based Violence and the Invisibility of Women in Kenya: The Role of Imperialism, Nationalism, and Culture

Jane M. Mugambi


The review of historical and current literature on the experiences of Kenyan women reveals that gender-based violence in Kenya remains an issue that needs to be addressed. This essay examines gender-based violence since Kenya’s colonial period through its attainment of independence from the British in 1963 to modern times. An analysis of current Kenya’s history shows that there has been an alarming escalation of incidents of violence against women. By focusing on gender-based violence during colonialism and post-election periods, the paper analyzes the impact of imperialism, nationalism, and culture on the lives and experiences of women. It notes that notwithstanding the country’s ethnic diversity, there are some commonalities and challenges that Kenyan women share in their daily lives. It examines why most Kenyan women remain silenced and invisible even as gender-based violence escalates, and notes that the examination is necessary so that Kenyan women can come together in solidarity to reclaim their place in society.


Kenya; Women; Gender-based violence; Invisibility; Solidarity; Feminism; Post-election violence; Politics

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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