The latest publication from David M. Anderson and Julianne Weis is available to read online The Prosecution of Rape in Wartime: Evidence from the Mau Mau Rebellion, Kenya 1952–60
In July 2012, a landmark hearing before the High Court in London found that the British government had a case to answer concerning human rights abuses, including torture and rapes, allegedly perpetrated by British colonialists in Kenya, during the Mau Mau counterinsurgency of the 1950s. Among the four elderly Kenyan claimants in court that day was a Kikuyu woman, Jane Mara, whose testimony related the sexual abuses she had suffered. Jane had been only 15 years of age, in 1954, when she was accused of being a Mau Mau sympathizer, and along with other villagers, she was taken for interrogation. The experience Jane Mara recounted was horrific. Beaten repeatedly by her inquisitors, she was then pinned to the floor by four African guards who held her thighs apart, while another guard forced a glass bottle into her vagina, using the sole of his boot to direct the bottle deeply into her. The pain was excruciating, and Jane realized that the bottle had been heated. When this ordeal came to an end, she was compelled to sit and watch as the three other young women were subjected to the same torture.
David M Anderson
Director of Graduate Studies in History,
Professor of African History
University of Warwick