In their quest to earn a living, bodaboda operators in the country meet all kinds of customers.


A bodaboda driver in the Kangemi area of Nairobi narrates his ordeal, saying he has been raped not once or twice but four times.


He says he refrained from reporting these abuses for fear that the rapists might change the information.


"You meet with a female customer who has bought a chair or a cabinet, and she wants you to carry it and also deliver the luggage to the apartment where she lives.


"When she arrives, she tells you that she cannot carry it alone. You help her keep the house. Suddenly, the agenda changes.


Bodaboda rider carrying a woman

 

"In one case, I took the cabinet to the customer's house, and immediately she closed the door and forced me to sleep with her," says the BodaBoda rider.


He is the father of four children, and he says he finds it difficult to report such cases to the police station because he fears that things may change and be turned into targets.


He even says the police may have laughed at him instead of helping him.


"I hesitate to come forward and say that I have been raped. In this country, police officers cannot be trusted. Another thing is that society cannot accept that I have been raped. Things will be turned upside down because people will ask the woman who rapes you to come," he narrates.


Another Kawangware rider in Nairobi has the same plight as his colleague in Kangemi. He also says that a certain client of his has been hunting him for more than seven months.


One day, his long-time customer closed the door and threatened him that he would shout if the rider refused to do what she wanted.


"I arrived at the house and unloaded my client's load, but before I left, my client closed the door. Little by little, I saw my client without clothes. I tried as much as I could to defend myself; she threatened me that she would shout," said the bodaboda.


Health and reproductive rights officer Ms. Elsie Milimu from the Kelin organisation says stigma and social ideologies prevent men from coming forward to sue for this type of abuse.


"There is that fear of suing. The law does not discriminate whether you are a man or a woman. In police stations, there is confusion. They feel that they will be asked by a woman who rapes them to come," said Ms. Elsie.


Rape does not only affect women. Men are also abused and harassed. Research shows that seven percent of men are raped here in Kenya. 


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