Police ‘lock up woman with men’ after confusing her gender
A 41-year-old woman has protested sexual harassment by two male police officers at Othaya Police Station during arrest.
The woman narrated to journalists how she was arrested alongside her male friend on Friday, February 23, on allegations of peddling bhang in the area.
Upon search, they were allegedly found with 24 rolls of the cannabis sativa and the man was released on unclear grounds.
The mother of one said the officers manhandled her, “touched her inappropriately” and locked her up in the male cells.
“I found 15 men in the cell. They started harassing me and I feared that they would rape me. I screamed and one officer responded. I was later locked up in a separate cell,” she recalled.
The controversy was prompted by her bodily appearance and claims that she is a transgender.
“The officers touched me inappropriately in their efforts to confirm my gender and conducting a search. They played with my breasts while ordering me to lift my hands up and I felt bad for confusing my gender. I’m a woman and I have a kid. I told them the breasts are permanent and not fixed,” she added.
She pleaded with the officers to take her to the nearby Othaya District Hospital for confirmation of her gender but was dismissed, according to her.
Later, she said, a female officer was called and they went into a private room where she stripped naked.
“I demanded to be handled by a female officer but at the moment there was none. I was very angry and I stripped to the female officer by the name Agnes,” she stated.
The woman, who operates a kiosk and sells fruits in the small town, further said the confusion was also created by her dress code; jeans, shirt and male shoes.
She lamented that the officers also declined to release her on bail forcing her to spend the entire weekend in the cold floors.
“I have freedom of wearing any type of clothes. I’m currently suffering from humiliation and self-pity. The issue has affected my family,” she said.
She, however, added that it was not the first time she had been locked up in the police station and controversy emerging over her gender identity.
The woman was charged in court on Monday and released on a Sh20,000 bond after denying the drug peddling charges.
However, Othaya OCPD Joseph Mwika dismissed her claims.
“The suspect’s physical appearance is like a man. Police were confused because she was even dressed in male clothes. She was placed in an empty cell alone following the confusion. No male officer harassed her sexually,” stated Mr Mwika.