Crowds of protesters wore miniskirts while marching through the streets of Nairobi on Monday as part of a demonstration held in solidarity with a woman who was stripped of her clothes by a group of men at a bus station in the Kenyan capital earlier this month.
Protesting for an end to all violence and sexual assault against women in Kenya, the demonstrators made their way to the original location of the attack, the governor's building, and the police chief's office. Both men and women carried signs covered in lace underwear or scrawled with the slogan "My dress, My choice."
The event was sparked by the November 7 bus station assault, which was caught on video and quickly went viral, inspiring the #MyDressMyChoice Twitter campaign.
— Kathleen Ndongmo (@KathleenNdongmo) November 17, 2014
#MyDressMyChoice. This is a no-brainer. Nobody has the right to strip, molest, assault another just because you don't like their dressing.
— Macharia Gaitho (@MachariaGaitho) November 17, 2014
In a video clip of the attack that circulated last week, an unidentified woman is assaulted by a horde of men, who accused her of tempting male bystanders with her indecent fashion choice of a black skirt and red tank top. The video is no longer available online, but footage showed the woman struggling as the mob physically grabs and assaults her at the station, while also grabbing at her clothing.
Despite the uproar and demands from the country's deputy president to arrest those involved, police have not pursued an investigation into the assault. Officials have said that since the woman did not come forward or open a complaint about the incident, they cannot move forward with the case. Police Chief David Kimaiyo has asked her to come to the police and file a complaint, the BBC reported.
"When it comes to violence against women, there are no grounds for tolerance and no tolerable excuses. I hope that investigations will be carried out and the culprits charged for assault," Kenyan politician in Nairobi County Rachel Shebesh said, according to International Business Times.
Demonstrations were reportedly met with counter-protests, including what the BBC reported as a conservative Christian group whose members touted Kenya as a "god-fearing nation."
So many men along Tom Mboya - boda boda operators, bus drivers, others in their cars threatening to undress us. Demanding to see our panties
— ndinda (@ndinda_) November 17, 2014
Since the bus attack, there have been reports of two other incidents of sexual assault against women in the capital city, as well as Mombasa, according to Al Jazeera.
Kenya isn't the only country where miniskirts have incited controversy and protest. In 2013, Uganda went as far as passing an anti-pornography bill that barred the clothing item, as well as sexually explicit music videos. At the time, women in the Ugandan capital of Kampala sported short skirts during a demonstration against the law and instances of miniskirt-clad women being assaulted.
Follow Kayla Ruble on Twitter: @RubleKB