BBC Digital: The Kenyan widows fighting ‘sexual cleansing’

To watch the video click here…


This year I visited an amazingly brave group of Luo women who have come together to fight forced ‘sexual cleansing’. This old Luo ritual requires women to have sex – often with strangers – when their husbands die.


The tradition is not widespread, but for this group of women it is a reality. Refusing to take part could mean losing your children or your property. And so, many do not have a choice.


The men who “cleanse” them are sometimes HIV-positive and do not use protection, as Pamela explains in the video (link at top and below).


Here we see the beginnings of a feminist revolution. Women who are beginning to talk about the practise, raise awareness and create change.


For these women, ‘sexual cleansing’ has been a normality for years. It’s all they’ve ever known and been taught. Now, Roseline, who leads group therapy sessions, says she sees women ‘waking up’ daily to a new reality, one which they are creating from scratch.


I left these women also feeling more ‘awake’, wondering which parts of my own life I considered to be ‘normal’, based on what society has led me to believe. Roseline calls it ‘un-learning everything we have been taught’.


To support them and learn more, please visit:

To watch the video click here…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s