Kenyan school for rape prevention story

Students at a school in Kenya. Photo by Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Creative Commons license.

Kenya’s aggressive anti-rape campaign should serve as a model to the world. The country focuses on teaching both boys and girls how to prevent violence against women.

It all started with teaching Kenyan women and girls self-defense in the No Means No program. When organizers listened to their students, they learned that the boys themselves were said to be the problem. Students said that their boyfriends were their most common violators.

The program directors then did something revolutionary: they listened. Not only did they listen, they implemented change.

Program founders then developed The Moment of Truth, a program aimed at boys. In conversations with both the folks in No Means No and The Moment of Truth, they learned that many boys believed that rape was all right if the victim was out alone after dark, wore revealing clothing or was taken on an expensive date.

WTAF?

The Moment Of Truth has since been used to teach boys about pivotal moments in their life, including consent. As a direct result of these conversations, rape has dropped by a whopping 20 percent among students in schools participating in the The Moment Of Truth program.

Not only are boys less likely to commit the act itself, they are more likely to protect victims and intervene. On top of this, there has been a reduction of harassment of female-identified students. (Unfortunately, the study does not have data for trans or nonbinary-identified folks.)

Rapes have dropped 40 percent among girls who have gone through No Means No training for at least one year.

Imagine what the U.S. could do if sex education was tweaked to reflect consent and safety?

Instead of saying that the victim is “asking for it,” let’s teach those who may become rapists to actually ask for “it” — and how to process rejection without violence.

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