Grandmothers in Nairobi’s townships fight off rapists (2017)
In the Korogocho and Kibera slums in Nairobi, Kenya, one in four women are raped. Older women in particular have been targets in these small villages, as some young men, often under the influence of drugs and alcohol, believe a widespread superstition: that having sex with a grandmother cures HIV and washes off all sins. Recently, with few options, elderly women have begun to fight off these rapists using self-defense techniques. Organized by the international NGO No Means No Worldwide, in collaboration with Ujamaa Africa, a local NGO, groups known as the Shosho Jikinge (“grandmother defend yourself”) have been formed. There, the members, aged between 55-106 years, learn how to identify potential attackers, use their voices, trick their way out of dangerous situations, and fight back.Nowadays, many of the Shosho Jikinge participants have successfully fought off attackers and effectively prevented sexual violence: the number of reported cases of rape on elderly women in Nairobi’s slums has reduced significantly. Through their self-empowerment, the Shoshos are functioning as role models, influencing the perception of women in Kenyan society for future generations in a positive way.