1 in 20 women report rape, a shocking statistic that highlights the number of unreported cases of rape and other sexual violence against women and girls, and this is mainly due to the stigma, stereotypes and common myths and misconceptions about rape and defilement. The common myths perceived by communities is that rape is committed by deviants and not people we know; that it is not a serious crime and should be handled behind closed doors; and that a man was either provoked by the sexiness of the female or possessed by the devil.
In Wundanyi, the police receive 4 to 5 incest related defilement cases every month, some having happened a long time ago but gone unreported. Poverty and alcoholism are contributing factors to rape and defilement, however, it is the taboo, lack of or limited safe spaces, fear of speaking out and silencing of victims and survivors of rape that has created a rape culture born out of ignorance.
Wundanyi is a project about stigma and stereotypes around rape which explored the need for and importance of rape being a household conversation. From 2018 to 2019, MaiWa travelled around different rural parts in Taita Taveta County, Kenya, researching and gathering photographic evidence for her project.
Wundanyi became about encouraging open and honest household dialogues, especially between children and adults to create safe spaces and break a cycle of ignorance that exists in sexual gender-based violence crimes. It was about encouraging people in rural areas to pay attention to members of their communities who are young and vulnerable and be engaged in conversations if not a critical discourse that enables people to open and speak freely without fear of being shamed and ostracised. The result would enable women and children to feel safe to seek immediate medical and psychological help.