Nearly two-thirds of Kenyan girls experience sexual assault. In 2012 the Kenyan High Court found that police failure to enforce existing rape law had created a climate of impunity. This project is working to change this culture through police trainings, education, and creative legal advocacy projects.
Existing rape laws in Kenya designed to protect girls from rape were not being enforced, and a climate of impunity for rape had resulted in unacceptable tolerance of child rape.
160 Girls is about achieving access to justice for girls who are rape victims so as to end impunity for child rape, hold perpetrators accountable for their sexual violence, and reduce rape through deterrence.
As a result of 160 Girls, the police are now not only just enforcing existing child rape laws, but also providing international leadership with respect to child rape investigations and advancing girls'/children’s rights. As such, the project has had a positive impact on all 10,000,000 girls in Kenya and beyond. Student leaders in the equality effect's 160 Girls Justice Clubs describe 160 Girls as "a WOW experience," highlighting the positive benefit of the project for the beneficiaries.
There are 5 main factors contributing to the 160 Girls success:
- The 160 Girls High Court decision provides a powerful guiding reference;
- The work is developed and executed by collaborative, peer based, inter-disciplinary, international teams;
- Top-down endorsement, e.g. the Inspector General of the National Police Service and the President of Kenya, and bottom up endorsement, e.g. the girls who are the beneficiaries of the work;
- Education is integrated into systems, e.g. police colleges;
- Creating systemic change that gets at the root source of the problem, i.e. discrimination against girls.
Impunity for rape is an international problem, and the 160 Girls approach is transferable to other parts of the world where a functional system of law and order exists to allow for ensuring accountability through the approach of combining human rights law, police engagement and community commitment to change. 160 Girls is scaling up in Kenya and has initiated work in Malawi, and is exploring opportunities in other country contexts where invitations to partner have been extended.