Centre of Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) Kenya, a feminist organization with a mission to champion, expand and actualise women and girls’ rights & social justice has expressed dissatisfaction with the court’s ruling awarding journalist Tony Mochama over defamation terming it as a dangerous precedent regarding cases of sexual violence and harassment.
Tony Mochama was accused by poet Shailja Patel and Prof Wambui Mwangi for an alleged sexual assault on September 20, 2014, at a lunch meeting at the home of Prof Wambui. The meeting was to discuss the business of the Africa Poetry Book Fund with the Fund’s founder, Prof Kwame Dawes, who was visiting Kenya for the Storymoja Hay Festival. But Magistrate Obura ordered Shalja Patel and Prof Wambui Mwangi to present Tony Mochama with a written apology within 14 days and pay him Ksh 9M.
According to CREAW, the court ruling has far-reaching consequences and seeks to not only gag survivors from speaking out about violence but also to completely silence them through the fear of being slapped with massive punitive damages for speaking their truth & speaking out against sexual abuse.
1/6 @CREAWKenya together with other interested partners are studying the decision of the court in the matter of Tony Mochama Vs @wambui_mwangi and @shailjapatel which has set a dangerous precedent with regard to cases of sexual violence and harassment. pic.twitter.com/R44ieTDRAM
— CREAW Kenya (@CREAWKenya) August 22, 2019
The ruling if unchallenged will see perpetrators of sexual violence will hide behind this judgment & demand punitive damages against their victims when they speak out. As members of the organization, they have sought to support Professor Wambui who is in CREAW Board of Directors in her quest for justice and on behalf of every other survivor of sexual violence who may not have the courage or strength to speak out for themselves.
CREAW say they are looking forward to a decision from Courts that will ensure justice is reached through by protection those who are brave enough to speak out against sexual violence in all its forms. The organization together with other interested partners are currently studying the decision of the court on the matter.