Today many, if not all, of the younger generation use social networking sites or are connected to the internet all day. This is deemed by many of the older generation as unhealthy and intrusive. Social networking is seen as a tool to provide daily updates of what is going on in people’s lives, from statuses of what they are having for lunch or what kind of day a person is having. To many this is deemed meaningless and to an extent annoying. However, the new age of technology and social networking has brought light upon international atrocities and has a means of highlighting human rights on an international scale. Social networking is becoming a powerful tool in a bid to provide human rights internationally.
When addressing this idea there are many examples of how countries have been exploited through the use of the internet, the case within this article is the story of a sixteen year old girl in Kenya who received injustice after being gang raped and beaten by a group of men. This story hit international headlines due to it going ‘viral’, and since then a petition has been set up to override this injustice and help this girl to recover and move on with her life, without the use of the internet would this have happened?
The story of the young Kenyan girl is almost beyond belief for us in Britain; when walking home from her Grandad’s funeral she was attacked by six men, gang-raped and thrown into a deep sewage pit left for dead. The young girl, after regaining consciousness, managed to get out of the pit but has obviously been majorly effected mentally and physically, and is now dependent upon a wheelchair. She managed to identify three out of the six men, and though these three men did receive a punishment, the ‘punishment’ was to mow the lawn in front of the police station. That was the end of that. This is clearly a warped idea of justice and it is unbelievable that the men are allowed to roam free.
The issues of this case show that within Western Kenya, many women are still a subordinate role in society, as explained by Rosna Warch: ‘Violence against women in Kenya has become so normalised it almost constitutes a sort of femicide’. Violence against women plays a role in society that goes unnoticed or unpunished due to the shame it brings to the family and many female victims are blamed by society. This story is not unlike the case in India where a woman was ganged raped and consequently died, the men who cause this atrocity however here brought to justice – due to protests and the prevalence in international media.
The story of the sixteen year old Kenyan girl has been brought to the international media’s eye due to the use of the internet and this shocking story has made many people act. With the local authorities not acting in a suitable and justified way, a petition website has been set up under the name of ‘Justice for Liz’. This is a website to target governmental officials of Kenya who have let many cases like this be swept under the carpet without justice or support for the victims. The petition, organised by Ms Abdulmekik, has been summed up beautifully: ‘We are using Liz’s story to bring to light all the other cases of violence that are not necessarily reported to the media, to the police’. This statement shows the power of the internet – the Justice for Liz online petition has been signed by 1.3 million people and is continuing to grow in signatures. The story of the young girl has been reported in international media and has continued to put pressure on the Kenyan officials to bring justice for this young girl.
The Guardian states that: ‘A report from Kenya’s national commission of human rights in 2006 found that a girl or a woman is raped every 30 minutes’. Many cases go unresolved and punishments that are due are not implemented. The use of the media has brought to light just one of many atrocities, and whilst calling for international assistance is making a triumphant effect. If ‘Liz’s’ case was not brought to international awareness, another young girl could be left scarred for life with no redemption. Pressure is being put on the officials to orchestrate justice. This is just one story, but the impact of the internet could bring many more victims justice and support. Bringing human rights into the forefront in international societies, breaking down the ideals of numbers and providing an individual with a story- a story to which individuals can help.
Next time a debate comes up with anyone about the use of the internet, and its intrusion on communication, think about the difference the internet can make to an individual and their story. Many cases like Liz’s go unnoticed, but the power of the internet has the ability to change this. So when next surfing on the internet, don’t just use it to describe your day, use it to find out about someone else’s life and think about what difference a click could make to one needing individual.
For the full information on this story and the click that could help bring justice to Liz’s cause, visit this website: