After two years of bringing the #JusticeForLiz narrative to life on stage with our production of “Blurred Lines of Justice” it’s great to finally see the three men who committed this act of gender terrorism against Liz convicted and sentenced.
Still, despite Monday morning’s conviction of the three men to sentences of 15 years for rape in addition to seven years for exacting grievous physical harm, this outcome is not justice, but rather an outcome emanating from the resolve of women in Kenya and around the world to not back down in the face of injustice.
The Kenya that Kenyan women and girls deserve is not a Kenya in which over three-hundred girls are raped weekly. The Kenya that all people of Kenya deserve is not one where a girl, the potential of a nation, a region, continent, and the world, with her inalienable right to autonomy, dignity and respect comes to fruition by the government of Kenya and civil society working together to take proactive measures to make women’s rights realized.
A courtroom cannot reverse experience Liz was subjected to, when she was brutally raped. A courtroom can and should exact punishment to those who committed this crime against Liz’s right to live in peace in claim of her innate humanity. Now, we must define justice so this epidemic crime does not happen again, anywhere, which requires the unity of force and heart to speak progress in effort to redefine all societies, all over the world, every continent, in the image of justice that reflects every girl, every woman, from every walk and way of life, right to exist as a human being, with the rights of a human being, and the liberty pursue the human potential.
The Kenya that Kenya deserves, the world that humanity deserve, is a living existence in which no girl, no woman, no one, ever, anywhere, has to worry about gender violence, sexual violence, or any other form of violence against their identity fueled by entitlement grown from patriarchal ideas and ideals that circulate misogyny into physicalized hyper-masculine structural and physical violence.
It’s time we reshape our vision of justice to fit the work of the world we seek to bring into existence.
#JusticeForLiz doesn’t stop here. What has been proven through this judicial outcome is that people around the world can come together and need to come together at the grassroots level in unity, in diversity, empowered, in courage, in time, and spirit to end this global, intellectual, cultural, social, economic, division of humanity between genders and between sexes until the systematic violence against women and girls ends.
It is through this unity, through diverse utilities of sounding off diverse voices, wisdom, ‘her’stories and experiences that we will heal. We will heal by dismantling and we will heal by reconstructing. It is in this action and wisdom that healing will end all the forms of exploitation and oppression that misogyny and patriarchy have waged on our common humanity. It is in this fight, carrying the burden of oppression and dismantling oppression, while supplanting oppression with unity, to end this, the largest human rights scandal in history–violence against women, in all its forms. It is at this place, in this time, with the wisdom of ‘her’stories from around the world that we converge in intersections of activism, art and policy to end racism, xenophobia, occupation, division of labor, and environmental injustice that have plagued our humanity for too long.
This is what we owe to Liz. This is what we will call #JusticeForLiz. This is what we owe every girl and woman on this planet. This is what we owe a future not yet born.