Global Resources

Risking Rape to Reach a Toilet: Women’s Experiences of the Slums of Nairobi, Kenya (in English, Swahili, French)

Publisher: Amnesty International
Publication Date: Jul 2010
Women and girls living in the informal settlements and slums of Nairobi live their daily lives under constant threat of violence: in their own homes, at work, and in public spaces. Sanitation facilities inside slums are few and far between and residents are forced to walk through unsafe areas to reach the nearest communal facilities. Women and girls are some of the most vulnerable because they risk sexual violence as well as assault or mugging as they travel to and from these facilities. This report identifies some major factors contributing to this dangerous situation: the shortage and inaccessibility of sanitation facilities in Nairobi’s slums and the lack of recognition of women’s vulnerability in the limited improvements that have been made; and the low police presence in the slums, along with a lack of faith in the justice system and low reporting and prosecution of gender based violence. Recommendations include: ensuring residents of slums and settlements have equal protection under the Public Health Act so that landlords must construct bathrooms close to each house; increasing policing in consultation with residents; improving channels of communication so that women feel able to report crime; and ensuring that gender based violence is investigated and perpetrators brought to justice.