Human Rights, Violence Against Women, Internally Displaced Persons, Kenya


The Kenya 2007 December presidential election results were violently challenged. For months, political protests accompanied by violent attacks and violent reaction by government security forces, led to “ethnic cleansing” particularly in the Rift Valley region resulting in deaths of more than 1,500 people and internal displacement of about 450,000 others. Women and young girls experienced various forms of gender violence during and after the conflicts in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. Using in-depth interviews with women living in a camp, NGOs and government agencies, this article focuses on the continuing bodily violence that internally displaced women face in their everyday lives in camps. I demonstrate how a range of structural level violence - economic inequalities, unequal power relations between men and women, social acceptance of violence, inaccessible justice systems for reporting violence against women, and lack of basic services - shape and intensify intimate violence experienced by women and girls. I argue that their experiences require us to expand our understanding of violence against women as a human rights issue and for human rights scholars to engage more with the IDPs issue.