Someone to talk to: in Kenya, a hotline for women—and men—in crisisTirus Wainaina
Under COVID-19, when schools are closed and many people are staying at home, a gender-based violence hotline in Kenya provides vital support to men and women. Its call volume is four times the previous year-to-date number. Counselors take calls 24-hours a day.
Somewhere in Kenya, an early morning in July: A woman organizes a once-in-a-lifetime “ceremony” for her 11-year old niece where the girl’s genitals will be cut off as part of her cultural transition into adulthood.
This procedure — known as female genital mutilation — is forbidden in Kenya and has been practiced less and less in recent years. But COVID-19 has led some families to revive it. All schools have been closed for months. No classmate will notice the girl’s absence, no teacher will be aware and report the case to the police. The school community cannot protect the girl now.