Kenya women march for right to wear mini-skirts

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

18 PHOTOS
Kenya mini-skirt protests
See Gallery
Kenya women march for right to wear mini-skirts
A Kenyan woman protesting with others for the right to wear whichever clothes they want, blows a kiss towards the camera, at a demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. A recent incident in which a mob of men surrounded a woman and tore her clothes off, leaving her naked on the street in front of a bus stop after alleging that she was improperly dressed, is one of several such videos that have surfaced online in recent days leading to a groundswell of anger that on Monday prompted around 1000 demonstrators, including a number of men supporting the women's cause, to march through the capital and protest online using the hashtag #MyDressMyChoice. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Kenyan women protest for the right to wear whichever clothes they want, at a demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. A recent incident in which a mob of men surrounded a woman and tore her clothes off, leaving her naked on the street in front of a bus stop after alleging that she was improperly dressed, is one of several such videos that have surfaced online in recent days leading to a groundswell of anger that on Monday prompted around 1000 demonstrators, including a number of men supporting the women's cause, to march through the capital and protest online using the hashtag #MyDressMyChoice. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Kenyan women protesters pose for a friend to take a picture of them, as they demonstrate for the right to wear whichever clothes they want, at a demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. A recent incident in which a mob of men surrounded a woman and tore her clothes off, leaving her naked on the street in front of a bus stop after alleging that she was improperly dressed, is one of several such videos that have surfaced online in recent days leading to a groundswell of anger that on Monday prompted around 1000 demonstrators, including a number of men supporting the women's cause, to march through the capital and protest online using the hashtag #MyDressMyChoice. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Kenyan women protest for the right to wear whichever clothes they want, at a demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. A recent incident in which a mob of men surrounded a woman and tore her clothes off, leaving her naked on the street in front of a bus stop after alleging that she was improperly dressed, is one of several such videos that have surfaced online in recent days leading to a groundswell of anger that on Monday prompted around 1000 demonstrators, including a number of men supporting the women's cause, to march through the capital and protest online using the hashtag #MyDressMyChoice. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A Kenyan woman with part of the slogan "My dress, my choice" written on her cheeks, protests with others for the right to wear whichever clothes they want, at a demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. A recent incident in which a mob of men surrounded a woman and tore her clothes off, leaving her naked on the street in front of a bus stop after alleging that she was improperly dressed, is one of several such videos that have surfaced online in recent days leading to a groundswell of anger that on Monday prompted around 1000 demonstrators, including a number of men supporting the women's cause, to march through the capital and protest online using the hashtag #MyDressMyChoice. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Kenyan women protest for the right to wear whichever clothes they want, accompanied by a male supporter, left, seen reflected and through the windows of a minibus, at a demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. A recent incident in which a mob of men surrounded a woman and tore her clothes off, leaving her naked on the street in front of a bus stop after alleging that she was improperly dressed, is one of several such videos that have surfaced online in recent days leading to a groundswell of anger that on Monday prompted around 1000 demonstrators, including a number of men supporting the women's cause, to march through the capital and protest online using the hashtag #MyDressMyChoice. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A Kenyan woman protests with others for the right to wear whichever clothes they want, at a demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. A recent incident in which a mob of men surrounded a woman and tore her clothes off, leaving her naked on the street in front of a bus stop after alleging that she was improperly dressed, is one of several such videos that have surfaced online in recent days leading to a groundswell of anger that on Monday prompted around 1000 demonstrators, including a number of men supporting the women's cause, to march through the capital and protest online using the hashtag #MyDressMyChoice. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Kenyan women protest for the right to wear whichever clothes they want, at a demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. A recent incident in which a mob of men surrounded a woman and tore her clothes off, leaving her naked on the street in front of a bus stop after alleging that she was improperly dressed, is one of several such videos that have surfaced online in recent days leading to a groundswell of anger that on Monday prompted around 1000 demonstrators, including a number of men supporting the women's cause, to march through the capital and protest online using the hashtag #MyDressMyChoice. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Kenyan women protest for the right to wear whichever clothes they want, at a demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. A recent incident in which a mob of men surrounded a woman and tore her clothes off, leaving her naked on the street in front of a bus stop after alleging that she was improperly dressed, is one of several such videos that have surfaced online in recent days leading to a groundswell of anger that on Monday prompted around 1000 demonstrators, including a number of men supporting the women's cause, to march through the capital and protest online using the hashtag #MyDressMyChoice. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Kenyan women protest for the right to wear whichever clothes they want, at a demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. A recent incident in which a mob of men surrounded a woman and tore her clothes off, leaving her naked on the street in front of a bus stop after alleging that she was improperly dressed, is one of several such videos that have surfaced online in recent days leading to a groundswell of anger that on Monday prompted around 1000 demonstrators, including a number of men supporting the women's cause, to march through the capital and protest online using the hashtag #MyDressMyChoice. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Bus passengers look out of their windows as Kenyan women protest for the right to wear whichever clothes they want, at a demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. A recent incident in which a mob of men surrounded a woman and tore her clothes off, leaving her naked on the street in front of a bus stop after alleging that she was improperly dressed, is one of several such videos that have surfaced online in recent days leading to a groundswell of anger that on Monday prompted around 1000 demonstrators, including a number of men supporting the women's cause, to march through the capital and protest online using the hashtag #MyDressMyChoice. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Women chants during a rally in protest against violence towards women, on November 17, 2014 in the kenyan capital Nairobi. Some 200 women gathered to rally in support of a woman who was attacked and stripped last week by a mob at a bus stop, in an incident that was captured on video and went viral online. She was accused of 'tempting' men because of her clothing. AFP PHOTO/SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)
A women shouts slogans during a rally protesting violence towards women, on November 17, 2014 in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. Some 200 women gathered to rally in support of a woman who was attacked and stripped last week by a mob at a bus stop, in an incident that was captured on video and went viral online. She was accused of 'tempting' men because of her clothing. AFP PHOTO/SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman takes part in a rally to protest against violence towards women, on November 17, 2014 in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Some 200 women gathered to rally in support of a woman who was attacked and stripped last week by a mob at a bus stop, in an incident that was captured on video and went viral online. She was accused of 'tempting' men because of her clothing. AFP PHOTO/SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)
Women rally in protest against 'violence against women', on November 17, 2014 in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. Some 200 women gathered to rally in support of a woman who was attacked and stripped last week by a mob at a bus stop, in an incident that was captured on video and went viral online. She was accused of 'tempting' men because of her clothing. AFP PHOTO/SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)
Women hold up placards and shout slogans during a rally against violence to women, on November 17, 2014 in Nairobi. Some 200 women gathered to rally in support of a woman who was attacked and stripped last week by a mob at a bus stop, in an incident that was captured on video and went viral online. She was accused of 'tempting' men because of her clothing. AFP PHOTO/SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)
Women chants during a rally in protest against 'violence against women', on November 17, 2014 in Nairobi. Some 200 women gathered to rally in support of a woman who was attacked and stripped last week by a mob at a bus stop, in an incident that was captured on video and went viral online. She was accused of 'tempting' men because of her clothing. AFP PHOTO/SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - The grainy mobile phone video shows a mob of Kenyan men surround a woman and grab, grasp and yank her clothes until she is naked. Several such videos have emerged recently of attacks by males who deem a woman to be provocatively dressed. The attacks have created a groundswell of anger that saw mostly women protesters flood downtown Nairobi Monday.

The hashtag #MyDressMyChoice is trending in Kenya's social media, as this East African country sees a clash between new, Western lifestyles and traditional African ways.

Rachel Machua wore what she called "a little black dress ... my normal outfit" to Monday's protest. She views the recent attacks as stemming from socio-economic conditions: Lower income men are attacking successful, well-dressed women.

The attacks are not overtly religious in nature, though this is a conservative, mostly Christian country. The women at the march described "normal" levels of sexual harassment over the years and said that peers will warn other women that "you're gonna get undressed" for wearing a particular outfit.

"Kenyan men are in different groups. My father wanted me to be here and said you can dress however you want. Then there are others who think you are out of their reach and they try to victimize you," said Machua, 26, who runs an aid group called Transforming Generations.

Women play an active role in Kenyan society. The country's foreign minister is a woman, though few women hold high-ranking elected office. Parliament is a virtual men's club, unlike in neighboring Rwanda, where more than half of parliament is female.

After the recent attacks, elderly Kenyan women are said to have rescued the naked victims by giving them a shawl to cover up.

About 10 percent of the approximately 1,000 people marching through the streets were men. James Wamathai, said he was marching because he believes in equal rights.

"I think it's really horrible and no women should have to go through that," said Wamathai, 33, who does commercial media work. "It's a weird sexual fetish. If you see some of the videos some of the men are groping the women. ... But it's not based on anything (like religion) because in Africa we didn't used to wear clothes."

Just 100 meters (yards) from the march's meeting point, park worker Ulda Akinyi emptied trash. Akinyi looked at the demonstration with disdain, and said she has instructed her three daughters to dress conservatively for fear of attracting unwanted attention. "Wearing miniskirts is the devil's work," said Akinyi.

Men gathered against a nearby fence. Most said they didn't support the cause. A man who gave only his first name, John, said he didn't want Kenya's women to "seduce" him by wearing revealing clothing.

"It's like three-quarters naked if you are wearing one of those short skirts," said David Ndongo, who works on one of Kenya's mini transport buses known as matatus, where women can also face harassment.

Robyn Emerson is a 43-year-old American from Texas who has lived in Kenya for a decade. In America, she said, women talk about issues like equal pay and abortion rights. Kenya is just a couple steps behind, she said.

"I think there are so many things happening in Nairobi and Kenya all at once, a new way of living influenced by modernity which runs up against cultural stances," she said. "But at the confluences we can't say we want some parts of modern things - we want to be a middle income and have modern technology - and not the other things that come with it."

More from AOL.com:
Numerous crashes block I-74 near Indianapolis
Maine teen charged with naked break-ins
Reports: State Department email system hacked

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners