The San Francisco Chronicle has a great story today about a collaborative project that is reducing rape and sexual assault of impoverished girls in Kenya.
The story highlights the combined efforts of activists Jake Sinclair, MD, and his wife, Lee Paiva Sinclair, who founded nonprofit No Means No Worldwide to provide empowerment training to Kenayn girls, and the Stanford team that has been analyzing the results of their efforts. As we've described before, this work is a great example of the academic chops of Stanford experts' being combined with on-the-ground activism to make a difference for an urgent real-world problem.
As the article explains:
The girls and hundreds of others like them have participated in a rape-prevention workshop created by Jake Sinclair and Lee Paiva, a San Francisco doctor and his artist wife who have been working in Kenya for 14 years.
Their program is working, and that's not just according to the dozen or so testimonials online, the couple said. Two studies out of Stanford - one published in April this year, one the year before - have found that girls who have gone through the couples' classes experience fewer sexual assaults after the workshops.
More telling, perhaps: More than half of the girls report using some tool they learned from the classes to protect themselves, from kicking a man in the groin to yelling at someone to stop.
"It's great to see the girls just find their voice, to find the power to say 'no,' " Sinclair said. "It's so enlightening. You can see it in their eyes, that something's changed."
Stanford research scholar Clea Sarnquist, DrPH, who has played an important role in the project, adds:
"A lot of these girls are using voice and verbal skills first," Sarnquist said. "That's one of the key things, is teaching the girls that they have the right to protect themselves - that they have domain over their own bodies, and they have the right to speak up for their own self interest."
The whole story is definitely worth a read.