Matatu touts have a bad reputation when it comes to being rude and sexual harassment. We’ve seen several prosecutions of touts who undressed female travelers. Despite the recent arrests, there has been very little change in their behavior.
The sad thing is that the public often just watches and does nothing.
One lady, Lynn Angela, took to Facebook to narrate how together with her sister they were harassed at the Roysambu stage.
Here’s her story.
Hello, My name is Lynn Angela. Yesterday at around 7pm my sister ,Ruby Atieno, and I were on our way to the Roysambu bridge to do kidogo shopping.We got there and did a bit of shopping and my sister decided to go home to Juja. so naturally we started looking at matatus.The matatu touts started their usual calling and chanting to us, and my sister chose a matatu.
She then decided it was not the best fit for her and did not board.i am shaking while typing this. That was when a man who helps na kujaza gari tightly gripped my sisters hand. This has been happening to most women and girls I’m sure many people can relate to this. The difference of this man is that he lever let her go. I got scared because my sister was clearly in pain and was frightened as well. I started to hit the mans arm with my plastic bag, it was light mind you. I was showing him that he cannot force us to go somewhere that we did not want to go. In the midst of all the commotion, more and more matatu touts and watu wa kujaza gari came.
The passengers and onlookers just looked, nobody helped or even tried to help and I was free because he did not have a grip on me. I started asking people to help us. The man who had my sister started yelling. Hata hamna pesa nyinyi malaya. Tutawatomba sasa. Mnajifanya na nyinyi ni shimo tu. Kwanza nitaanza na wewe matako wewe. Kwani wewe ni madam kweli ama poko. Mind you it was not just him, once he started with the insults, the rest followed. Then I panicked and frantically started looking for a juja matatu to get my sister out of there.
My hands were shaking and people could clearly see we were in danger, I had tears balancing on my eyes but i just tried to be strong. Still nobody helped.he was still gripping onto my sister, the rest of the touts and watu wa kujaza gari still sexually and verbally abusing us,all because we did not want to go to his matatu. My sister then screamed really loud and he let go. I rushed her to a matatu and cried to the conductor to help my sister, his matatu was going to juja. I pushed her in and said goodbye because ruby would safe. Now I had to worry about myself.
I started walking home towards trm and the men were still yelling at me.keep in mind i am a sweet girl.i dont like causing trouble. i did not utter a single harsh word to them. I just begged and begged them to leave us alone and they never did. I feared for my safety started quickly walking home and realised they were following me, so I stopped where the nice people sell ladies shoes and pretended to be an interested customer. Thats when they went back to harassing other passengers.
I have never before been scared of my own life and safety and that of my sisters. She has a 5 month old daughter you see, I had to take a few minutes to compose myself b4 going to the house, and I took so many turns on the way there, incase someone was following me.
Please helps us women we are victims everyday when we board matatus. This should be looked into (by) passengers and people of kenya. help each other tafadhali. Hao watu definitely had bad motives for us and if you were there yesterday please understand where i am coming from. To them I was a piece of meat just because I chose not to enter a matatu. I wish I can say which matatu it was or if i can remember their faces but I dont. And that is the sad part.
Their is no way of differentiating these people. Conductor hawana uniform and the watu wa kujaza gari are scary as hell.
Please share and spread awareness.TAG AS MANY PEOPLE SHARE if you feel you can relate and that we should be safe. There must be an end to this shameless behavior