University of Nairobi apologises for blaming rape victims

The University of Nairobi has issued an apology to its students after a memo blaming the victims of sexual harassment and rape caused a huge uproar.

The university's Vice-Chancellor Prof Stephen Kiama termed the memo insensitive adding that the institution was committed to ensuring the safety of all the students at all times.

“I have noted the memo was insensitive and does not represent the corporate values and the image of University of Nairobi, and is highly regretted,” the memo dated February 25 read in part.

Prof Kiama also advised the students to call the University’s Directorate of Security and Safety Services whenever they are faced with security challenges any time of the day.

In a memo, dated February 24 and signed by the University of Nairobi head of security, the varsity had said that it was "recklessness" that led to the rape of three female students last year.

“In all the three incidences reported last year, a clear case of recklessness on the part of female students could be drawn,” the memo stated.

It further highlighted a case where one of a female student who was gang raped while drunk next to KEMU buildings at around 5am. She was on her way back from a “partying joint.”

“A female student entertained herself in various joints in the City and decided to walk all alone (drunk) from City centre to the hostels at SWA. Unfortunately, she met her assailants.”

The memo identified three black spots with worst cases of rape which include University Way area next to KEMU building/Cooperative bank, St. Paul Chapel and University Way roundabout area along Nyerere Road adjacent to Central Park.

A section of netizens criticized the memo accusing the varsity of blaming the women for the rape incidences and not mentioning how they were combating sexual assault and addressing insecurity at the institution.