Counting Dead Women: Towards a Femicide Observatory in Kenya

Final project
Year of publication:
Supervisors: Milica Minić


Despite the 2010 promulgation of a constitution that guarantees equal rights of the sexes and criminalises discrimination based on gender, Kenya very much remains a patriarchal society where girls and women are not safe from gender-based violence. Femicide remains a stark reminder of the subordinate position that women occupy in society. Not only does it brutally rob girls and women of life, it also takes away any potential for positive societal transformation in the aftermath, as the reactions to their killings are often nonchalant at best and disparaging at worst. This is a result of cultural and social mores that consider domestic violence as an inevitability of social and romantic interactions between women and men, rendering women highly vulnerable to abuse, and ultimately accepting their deaths as an inevitable outcome. Despite the high number of femicides reported in the media in Kenya, there is still a gap in collection and collation of data. There is also a dearth of research on femicide, its root causes and effects, as well as strategies and approaches on how to reduce the phenomenon in the country. Kenya has a long way to go in terms of identification, investigation, and prosecution of femicide cases. There also exists a knowledge and expertise gap within the police force and the judiciary on the investigation and prosecution of domestic violence and femicide. This project therefore aims to address the existing research gaps in the literature and country-specific policy responses on femicide. It also aims to provide specialized and targeted training to the police, the media, and the judiciary on handling (investigating, prosecuting, and reporting) on femicide cases in a way that respects the dignity and honour of the deceased and their loved ones and transforms the way of institutional operations in order to identify and mitigate the likelihood of fatal outcomes for other women at risk.