Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Public Affairs/International Relations

First Advisor

Rita Kiki Edozie

Second Advisor

Paul Kowert

Third Advisor

Nada Ali


Sexual violence produces detrimental and long-lasting physical and psychological trauma that deters a victim’s ability to fully participate in the economic, political and social development of their community and nation-state (Legal Action Worldwide, 2014). To fight this crime, the UNDP has developed an International Sexual Violence Protocol. This Protocol recommends consolidation of sexual violence legislation into one document called the Sexual Offense Act. These laws tend to use a justice through rights approach to effectively criminalize and prosecute sexual violence within a comprehensive human rights-based model. By using a justice over human rights-based approach; Kenya’s Sexual Offense Act (KSOA) deviated from the UNDP’s recommended human rights-based approach. This deviation has earned Kenya criticism in the Best Practice Report written by LAW and commissioned by UNDP which states that Kenya did not follow a human rights-based and comprehensive approach (Legal Action Worldwide, 2014). The current thesis uses qualitative research methodology to analyze why and how Kenya deviated from the UNDP recommended approach. In doing so, the thesis presents Kenya as a case study that offers a complex and diverse legal, constitutional, and peaceful historical past and that allows in-depth analysis of the role that culture plays in influencing Kenya’s Act. The thesis contends that Kenya did use both comprehensive and human rights-based approaches but that were situated in Kenya’s African feminist and postcolonial cultural context. The primary documentation used and referenced in this study includes KSOA 2006, The Best Practice Report, international protocols and treaties that govern GBV, the Kenyan national plan framework, the constitution of Kenya 2010, as well as regional protocols, and treaties. This work also uses secondary sources such as Kenyan public documentation, academic journals internet-based articles, journals and blogs.