Quote of the week

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by Cynthia Vukets on September 7, 2009

“I’d rather be crying in a Mercedes than laughing on a bicycle.”

- Patricia Nyaundi, of Kenya’s Federation of Women Lawyers, recites a proverb.

I’m at her Nairobi office to talk about women’s rights within marriage and in society. We’re discussing marital rape and the treatment of women in Kenya’s (deeply underground) pornography industry. Neither really “exist” here. The perception is that men can’t rape their wives because after paying a dowry, you’ve effectively paid for the woman and she’s yours to do with what you like. As for porn, it’s illegal and distasteful so people prefer to deny its existence.

Patricia is telling me that domestic abuse cuts across all segments of Kenyan society but that affluent women are far less likely to report their partners for fear of screwing up life inside the “Mercedes.”

Personally, I like bicycles just fine.