The brutal gang rape of Sheila for being a lesbian sparks a wave of outrage in Kenya
The recent murder of Sheila Lumumba has revived the debate on collective rights LGBTIQ+ in Kenya, a country where homosexuality is still illegal. According to the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission of Kenya in the last year there have been at least 600 cases of LGBTIphobia. In Kenya homosexual relations are persecuted and can reach sentences of up to 14 years.
The lifeless body of Lumumba was found in central county of Pain, several days after he disappeared when he was with some friends, as reported by K24TV. Although the police in the area have not yet clarified the underlying motivation for the crime, nor what exactly happened to her, reports show that she would have been raped. Sheila was defined as non-binary, that is, with a gender identity that falls outside the male/female classification.
"Because I was a lesbian"
The human rights activist Njeri wa Migwi on her Facebook account, after speaking with the best friend of Lumumba she states that the rape was caused by six men who entered her house and gang-raped her, furthermore, according to the autopsy, they broke her leg and in the end they killed her. «Why?«, He wondered migwi in the same post. «Because she was a lesbian. My heart is more than broken«, was answered immediately. «You hate women. You kill us every day and at every opportunity. The lives of women that matter. Your life mattered, Sheila“He concluded his message between tears.
From Amnesty Kenya They have also denounced the murder: «No one deserves such cruel treatment. Sheila shouldn't have been in all that pain.. "
No one deserves such cruel treatment. Sheila didn't have to experience all this pain. We are standing in solidarity with the family of Sheila Adhiambo during this trying moment and we shall follow up on this case until justice is delivered. #JusticeForSheila #QueerLivesMatter https://t.co/K3eJ0VOtwT
—Amnesty Kenya (@AmnestyKenya) April 21, 2022
«Sheila didn't have to experience all this pain. We stand in solidarity with Sheila's family in these difficult times and will follow up on this case until justice is served.«, assured the organization, accompanying its message with the 'hashtag' #JusticeForSheila y #QueerLivesMatter. In the same way, to the complaint of Amnesty International Numerous activists from the LGTBIQ+ collective have come together to claim their rights and expose the stigma and discrimination to which their members continue to be subjected in the country.
Up to 14 years in prison for having homosexual relations
The case has once again highlighted the criminalization of homosexuality in Kenya, where homosexual relationships are particularly persecuted, considered against nature, with penalties of up to 14 years in prison. The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission of Kenya has assured on Twitter that the case of Sheila Lumumba is not specific . According to this organization, violence against the LGTBIQ+ community in the country is frequent: in the last year they have known up to 600 cases of LGTBIphobia towards homosexual, bisexual, non-binary or trans people in Kenya.
These latest episodes come after the High Court of Justice of the African country ruled, in 2019, against some of the activists who were fighting to decriminalize homosexuality. The strict considerations contained in the Kenya Penal Code (Article 165) regarding same-sex relationships does nothing but perpetuate a pervasive climate of homophobia. The murder of Sheila and all those that preceded it are proof of this and reflect that, although the law refers to men, bisexual, lesbian, non-binary or trans people are also in danger.
In fact, last year, the hashtags #JusticeForErica y #JusticeForJoash They were also a trending topic in the country after the murder of the trans activist Erica Chadra and the LGTBIQ+ activist Joash Mosot.