Women Are Walking Out of Kenyan Parliament in Support of Slapped Colleague. Male MPs Said They Need to Know 'How to Treat Men'

An assault on a female politician in the Kenyan parliament has prompted a mass walkout by women lawmakers demanding an end to misogynistic behavior from their male colleagues.

Rashid Kassim, an MP in parliament, is accused of slapping colleague Fatuma Gedi, who sits on the budget committee, because she did not allocate money to his constituency, the BBC reported.

Kassim, who has since been arrested, reportedly accosted Gedi in the parliament building's parking lot, demanding to know why she had not set aside funding for his constituency. He then assaulted her.

According to CNN, Gedi explained in a video that Kassim branded her "stupid" before hitting her several times in the mouth and jaw. "And then he hit me, he punched me here," Gedi said, pointing towards her mouth. "And then again, and I was shocked."

A photo of Gedi after the attack—showing the politician crying with blood in her mouth—has spread across social media, prompting outrage at Kassim's actions and spawning the hashtag #JusticeForFatumaGedi.

But according to other female lawmakers, some of the male colleagues did not share the concern. Sabina Wanjiru Chege told the BBC, "Some of our male colleagues started mocking us and saying it was slapping day," she explained. Chege also said some of her male colleagues suggested the women "needed to have manners" and "need to know how to treat men."

In response, female MPs staged a mass walkout during a speech on the budget. A video uploaded to Twitter showed that as they did so, the women were chanting: "Kassim must go."

"We are all members of parliament," Chege explained to the BBC. "We are no lesser than them." She told CNN that the assault had come as "a shock to all of us, it's bad and demeaning, how can a Member of Parliament be attacked inside the precincts of the house?"

"It's sad that male Members of Parliament are threatened by our presence, they are thinking we are taking their territories and they are not ready to accommodate powerful women leaders coming up," Chege continued. "Instead of being scared they should all do their job of service delivery like we do, not hit women."

Kenyan police have said that the investigation into the incident is ongoing. A police spokesperson tweeted that Kassim was "arrested within the Precincts of Parliament by @DCI_Kenya Detectives in connection with causing actual bodily harm to @Hon_FatumaGedi." Kassim has not commented on the alleged assault.

Kenyan, slap, assault, women, men, protest
This file photo taken on March 26, 2015 in shows the Kenyan parliament in Nairobi, Kenya. Getty/SIMON MAINA/AFP
Women Are Walking Out of Kenyan Parliament in Support of Slapped Colleague. Male MPs Said They Need to Know 'How to Treat Men' | News
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