Report: 1 out of 5 women in Kenya receives sexual harassment calls and SMS

Truecaller, a smartphone caller-identification App has released a sexual harassment report with revelations that one out of five women in Kenya receives a sexual harassment call and SMS.

The report which was carried out between November 22, 2019, and February 24, 2020, revealed that 9 out of 10 women in Kenya receive harassment and nuisance calls and SMS.

It also shows that sexual and inappropriate calls are common among women in Nairobi, where 1 out of 5 women receive this type of communication.

47% of all the sexual harassment calls/SMS comes from inmates in Kenya, and 53% come from unknown people.

“The fact that the harassers are selecting women at random to harass is perplexing and irritating, especially in a country like Kenya where that level is high.” Says the report

Despite it being common for women to receive sexual or inappropriate calls and SMS, there’s a low percentage of women who think these types of calls constitute harassment. Only 11% of all women who have received sexual harassment calls/SMS consider it as harassment.

Women in urban areas (topmost affected areas) are Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu and Nakuru with the most affected by sexual harassment calls/SMS.

The research revealed that harassment elicited strong reaction from women. Anger and irritation were the most common feelings towards sexual and inappropriate calls and SMS.

Fear and worry were also common feelings that arose when women receive these types of calls.

Only 2 out of 10 women in the country have exhibited confidence to take action against harassment calls, with only 6% of them reporting this to the authority.

For Kenyan women, with little support from authorities and local attitudes, harassment often has to be severe before women speak out. 

It revealed that only 49% of women who have faced these type of harassment have blocked numbers of the caller and 32% called for help from the operator. Whereas only 29% of them told the harasser to stop and 6% reported to the authority-posing as the most common actions poem have taken against such calls.

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.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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