There have been continued reports of domestic abuse amongst married couples in the recent past. This form of abuse takes various forms though it basically involves situations where one or both partners in a relationship exhibit certain abusive or violent behaviors within the relationship.
In some contexts, domestic abuse is also referred to as intimate partner violence. Both males and females in a relationship can be victims of this .However many at times, it’s only cases of female domestic violence that are mostly heard of given the stigma people associate with male sexual and gender based violence.
Domestic abuse does happen
Prevailing cultural norms in many countries, Kenya included dictate that women take subordinate roles in comparison to males. This situation has greatly contributed to silence from victims of domestic abuse who fear stigma or ridicule from society
“..mostly many women don’t think much when they are attacked, may be they call it domestic wrangles and whatever so don’t reporting to the police, others they find it very too shameful, to talk about it and I don’t think many women knows that they should report.”
Types of domestic abuse/violence
Domestic abuse goes beyond physical beating to include sexual violence, physical abandonment, economic deprivation, forced genital mutilation, child marriages, forced marriages, forced sexual exploitation, amongst others.
Domestic abuse help
Given that women have been socialized to accept certain forms of domestic abuse from their partners, for examples physical beating and forced sex, it has become quite problematic for victims to get help.
Despite the existence of medical ,legal and psychological services in place for all survivors of violence, there lacks a legal framework in Kenya that makes it difficult for women facing domestic abuse to seek legal redress.
Those who have taken a bold step to seek help post a domestic violation from the police have faced ridicule at the hands of the police. In some instances, the police have sent away such women or even redirected them back to the clan elders for reconciliation meetings.
This scenario has therefore further contributed to silence amongst persons facing violation in their relationships.
Domestic abuse/violence cuts across all cadres in society
It is so saddening that the silence associated with domestic abuse/violence did and continues to contribute to the increases cases of intimate partner violence reported in Kenya in the month of May 2011.This scenario persists albeit in secrecy.
- News reporter allegedly murdered by her husband: According to neighbors, this was a happy couple as they would be seen walking side by side with each other. One person who admired the couple explained how Wanjiru Kabiiru and her husband would both carry a loaf of bread. Whilst this may to the society indicate closeness between the couple, this was not true in reality, as Wanjiru’s last post was on face book, stating, “I nid help”.
With no help forthcoming, Wanjiru was “killed” by her husband on 2nd May 2011
- Olympic champion commits “suicide”: Samuel Wanjiru was a famous athlete who despite the joys he elicited on the running track, was known for his violent relationship with his wife. In 2011, Wanjiru’s wife Teresia sued him for attempted murder, but withdrew the case. In February during the valentine date the couple was seen together and publicly indicated that they had reconciled.
This was however short lived as in May Wanjiru plunged to his death. This young man died rich but unhappy in his relationship, a situation that could have been avoided
- Diplomat victim of domestic abuse: Whilst domestic violence is assumed to happen amongst the poor, this was found not true. On 27th May 2011 the wife of the Nigerian Ambassador to Kenya decided to go public after allegedly suffering months of domestic abuse from her husband.
The ambassador, Dr. Chijioke Wilcox Wigwe, on the other hand declared to the whole world in a press release signed on 30th May 2011,that he had been suffering physical and verbal domestic abuse from his wife for as long as her can remember. This he said was due to the belief that “it is manly for a man to keep quiet when he receives constant abuse from his wife”.
In his speech the ambassador declared that domestic abuse against men is real and that the society should arise and ACT to remedy this situation.
Causes of domestic violence
Many people have their own reasons as to why domestic abuse does indeed happen. These could include alcohol/drug abuse, imbalanced power relations, poverty, and illiteracy, amongst others.
Whatever the reasons be, in my view there remains whatsoever no justification for domestic violence or domestic abuse