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Kenya, Hospital rape allegation,

These Kenyan women aren't just speaking out against sexual violence. They're fighting back.


NAIROBI AP) -Women in Kenya are joining the global movement of standing up to sexual assaults and exploitation.

In one of Nairobi's poorest neighborhoods, where women are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence, they're learning not just to speak out, but also to fight back.

Hundreds of women took to the streets demanding an end to sexual violence in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, after several women claimed they were recently raped at one of the countries public hospitals.

Kenya Hospital Rape Allegation
Protesters march along the streets of Nairobi holding placards against the rape allegation by staff of Kenyatta national hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. Protesters allege it is difficult for victims of sexual assault to go to police, and want swift investigations while demanding changes to make women safe at hospital.

Sexual violence in Kenya often goes unpunished. Many women chose to remain silent afraid of the stigma that comes with being sexually assaulted.

But in one of Nairobi's poorest neighborhoods, 30 year old Sarah Ndisi is becoming a role model to the Kariobangi locals.

The featherweight boxing champion is helping women to fight back.

After deciding enough was enough, youth leaders started "Box Girls" - a program for young women to learn how to box.

Ndisi says it's not just for the sport of it but for survival as well.

"They are able to create an opportunity for themselves and for others," Ndisi says. "In the area that we leave in, Kariobangi, we come from marginalized communities where there is so much violence going around. So with the kind of sport that they are doing, they are able also to defend themselves."

According to a Kenyan government report, "Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014," physical attacks are more likely to be carried out on women than men.

"Boxing" has become more than just a sport here. It is growing into community awareness.

"Boxing out early marriages," is another message that "Box Girls" wants to get out to their impoverished communities where underage marriages are common.

The founder of "Box Girls" and boxing coach, Alfred Analo says he wants women to feel empowered and capable of fighting back.

"The reason why it is very important for girls to have this skills is for girls to manage themselves in this kind of environment, Kariobangi being one of them, which is very prone to violence. We work with girls in this kind of situation, schools. We also work in Kibera, its not very different from Kariobangi. Korogocho, Kayole, Huruma, all these are ghettos. So that is why that is number one because this is the areas where violence was really meted to young girls and young mothers, women as per se."

Analo wants to expand the "Box Girls" program across the city into other ghettos with similar problems.

There are also plans to move into primary schools to teach young girls to fight earlier in life.

Sofia Omar is a 19 year old volunteer with the "Box Girls" program and wants to reach out to young children in schools.

"Also I joined boxing for self defence in our society and also for that respect, you know when you walk around the streets, and some of your friends will be just be respectful to you that 'this girl she is a boxer' yeah."

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