Nine of every 10 women in the country have been sexually harassed either through a phone call or text, a report by a caller-identification app has revealed.
The survey that was carried out by Truecaller between November 22 last year and February 24 also showed that one of five women in Nairobi receives calls of a sexual and inappropriate nature.
Forty-seven per cent of the sexual harassment calls and texts were traced to inmates in the country’s prisons, with the remaining 53 per cent coming from unknown people and stalkers.
“The fact that the harassers are selecting women at random is perplexing and irritating, especially in a country like Kenya where the level is high,” says the report
The survey was also conducted in Brazil, Egypt, India, and Columbia.
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The report combined quantitative research conducted by Ipsos in each local market, with face-to-face interviews with local women to give context and reality to the data.
Surprisingly, only 11 per cent of the women considered the lewd calls and messages to be harassment, the report shows. Few harassers, it added, are identified.
“How can someone just call you out of the blue and start telling you how they have been liking you, how they really want to meet you, and you have no idea who this person is,” the report quoted a businesswoman who only gave her name as Lucy, as saying.
The survey revealed that women in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu and Nakuru received the most nuisance calls.
The most common reactions by the recipients were anger and irritation, although the women also tended to worry and fear for their safety.
“Up to 53 per cent show anger, 42 per cent are offended, 30 per cent show irritation, 27 per cent are troubled and 26 per cent show fear,” the report said.
The survey further noted that only two of 10 women in Kenya had the courage to take any action against their harassers, which included reporting the matter to authorities.
“For Kenyan women, with little support from authorities and local attitudes, harassment often has to be severe before they speak out. Blocking phone numbers is the number one action taken to stop harassment calls followed by ignoring them,” the report read.
According to the survey, Kenyan women have become careful about sharing their phone numbers.
Ten per cent of respondents said they shared their number once a week, five per cent said twice a week, seven per cent said three to five times in a week while three per cent of women gave their numbers at least six or seven times in one week.