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Nairobi, Kenya’s capital is facing a shortage of water supply due to factors such as changes in weather patterns and ageing water processing facilities.
According to a BBC News report, residents in informal settlements like Kibera have to pay private vendors for water.
However, for women and girls, there is more than just the expectation that they pay money to access water.
In a video produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), one of the women named Mary says that she faced molestation from the water vendors because she was fetching water. She went on to say that majority of the water vendors fetch at night and expect sex in return before handing women their water.
Mary also said that she spends more than a quarter of her salary on water. She explains that the night she was raped, two water vendors attacked her and before her screaming brought other women to help her, the men “had already done it”.
Another woman named Jane, said that she used to pay for water on credit and one day the water vendor asked her how she would pay for all of it. When she revealed to him that she had no money due to the Corona pandemic he said that she would pay him using her body.
The stigma and shame of sexual violence often prevent most women from reporting cases of sexual assault to the police thereby making it difficult to prosecute cases effectively.
Nairobi, Kenya has experienced water shortages since 2003 and private water vendors often step in to cater to the high demand in poor communities like Kibera.