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Activists mark ‘Dark Valentine’ over femicide

Femicide Activists in Mombasa held a vigil and a memorial event in remembrance of women murdered by their loved ones.

The women held a ‘dark Valentine’ event at the Swahili pot hub, graced by Governor Abdulswamad Nassir. Some of the highlights of the event include a candlelight vigil and performances that resonate with femicide to create awareness.

“The name Dark Valentine symbolises shuttered dreams; short-lived lives ended tragically. It’s not a good day for us because we are doing this in remembrance of people who were murdered,” said Joyce Achieng, a Feminist Organizer

She added that the main objective of the event is to remember the lives of women who have been murdered by either their lovers or strangers.

“It’s Valentine’s Day, a day known for lovers, and these women who have been murdered did not make it today to spend time with their lovers,” stated Achieng, urging women to look out for each other and to continue creating awareness about femicide.

Ajra Mohamed, a member of the End Femicide KE Movement, said the event is a way of showing love to women who lost their lives to femicide.

“We also want to show our love for justice and the country. We want the country to be safer for women, not to live in fear of being attacked or subjected to Gender Based Violence (GBV). Femicide is one of the most extreme forms of GBV,” said Mohamed.

The activists want statements of demand delivered to both the National and County Governments to be implemented. Some of the demands are for the judiciary to expedite femicide cases and the establishment of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence centers in counties.

On his part, Governor Abdulswamad Nassir advised youths to positively accept rejection from women they are courting instead of using their hands to kill women because of love.

“A man of strength doesn’t cause violence but controls his heart not to harm anyone,” he said.

According to Africa Data Hub, a website that tracks femicide cases reported in Kenyan newspapers, they have documented 500 cases from January 2016 to December 2023.

“Intimate partners and family members perpetrate the majority of killings. Our analysis shows that in 75% of cases, killings were committed by a person who knew the murdered woman—an intimate partner, relative, or friend,” reads in part a statement from the Africa Data Hub website.

By Sadik Hassan

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