BHESP participates in Women’s Run 2018 to launch 16 days of activism

Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Programme (BHESP) Sunday joined hundreds of women in Nairobi to participate in the Women’s Run 2018 as part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign with calls for protection against victims of gender-based violence and shifting the blame from the survivors to the perpetrators.

From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

Led by Advocacy Officer Mary Mwangi, BHESP team donned red t-shirts labeled “Women Run 2018” braved the chilly Nairobi morning to participate in the 10 kilometers run to support female sex workers who are victims of violence.

According to the National AIDS and STI Control Programme {NASCOP} 2017 polling booth survey {PBS}, there is an increasing trend in police violence against female sex workers.

The report findings indicated that 56% of female sex workers in Nairobi were arrested or beaten up by police or askaris in the past six months compared to 42% who reported the same in 2015.

Mwangi, who has been at the forefront of campaigning for sex workers rights, said female sex workers are women who need to be fully supported and protected against gender-based violence.

“Sex workers continuously face violence and we are here to pass the message that sex workers are women and their rights must be upheld and protected. We are running to call for an end to all forms of gender-based violence,” she said.

On her part, Nancy Wanga, 28, said she is running to ensure women and young girls don’t face violence anymore and perpetrators are brought to book.

“Women who have faced violence are ashamed to come out and tell their story or even to report to authorities. However, when we come out in large number to such events then women will have the courage to come out and speak about gender-based violence and perpetrators will be afraid to do the evil,” she explained.

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