A cousin of mine was narrating to me a story about how her friend was abused. The girl, apparently, had been dating this guy for about two months. They had moved in together prematurely to cut down on costs, and also because they were ‘in love.’ Once, my cousin had been invited to a housewarming at their house, and she says that throughout the function, the girl was either in the kitchen or cleaning up. When she finally got a chance to speak to her friends, she told them how he would constantly raise her voice at her and threaten to throw her out. He forced her to quit her job, and so she was to stay home and clean up, as he went out to work. If she ever raised any concerns, he would immediately become defensive, saying that she was ungrateful for all that he did for them. There were times when he hit her and abused her. She was in this situation for about three years before she packed up her bags and left.
This is a reality for so many people.
By definition, domestic abuse is an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading, and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. In the vast majority of cases, it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men. This, however, is not to say that there aren’t any cases where men have been the victims.
Sometimes people don’t think about domestic violence because it has not happened to them and they only get concerned when it happens to somebody they know and love. It may be easy to ignore stories of domestic violence and other forms of violence because if it’s not your reality, then you may not think about it too much. However, it’s up to each and every individual to educate themselves on such issues, because collectively, we can work to end domestic abuse, one case at a time.
According to The Conversation, the rate of domestic violence in sub-Saharan Africa is among the highest in the world. Over 47% of women in Kenya have experienced physical or sexual violence. This is higher than pooled estimates from 81 countries which show that nearly 30% of women experience physical or sexual intimate partner violence during their lifetimes.
But like I said earlier, it doesn’t just happen to women. In fact, a man by the name Dan Shieshie Matakayia is an acid attack survivor. In 2013, his wife poured a solution of sulphuric acid on his face while he was asleep. To make it worse, she poured water on the floor and tried to electrocute him. Here is his story – Dan Shieshie Matakayia Survived An Acid Attack Meant To Kill Him. He Talks About Recovery, Forgiveness, And How He Wants To Help Other Victims Of Domestic Violence.
Just recently, the National Council on Administration of Justice reported “a significant spike in sexual offences” with the strict measures adopted by the Kenyan government to counter the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite everything that’s going on, people still have to face additional trauma, and it’s disheartening.
If you or anyone you know has experienced domestic abuse, I sincerely wish healing upon you, and the strength to rise above your trauma.
Here are a few places where you can get help if you are dealing with domestic abuse.
- Childline Kenya
This organization works in partnership with the Government to stop child abuse and provide a safe environment for all children. They offer a national helpline service dedicated to children that runs 24 hours toll-free and is accessible by simply dialling 116.
The organization is located on Kirichua Lane, Nairobi. You can reach out to them via email, Whatsapp +254722116116, or visit their website for more information.
- Nairobi Women’s Hospital- Gender Violence Recovery Center(GVRC)
GVRC provides free medical treatment and psychosocial support to survivors of gender-based violence. Treatment focuses on Post Exposure Prophylaxes (PEP) given within 72 hours of assault to help prevent infection of HIV/AIDS.
Click here to visit their website for more information. Alternatively, you can visit them physically at any of their branches in Ongata Rongai, Adams Arcade, Hurlingham, Kitengela, Nakuru Hyrax, Nakuru CBD, Naivasha, and Mombasa.
You can also contact them on their emergency helpline – +254709667000 or +254719638006
- Wangu Kanja Foundation
This organization focuses primarily on survivors of sexual violence. It supports survivors of sexual violence to access medical, psychological, legal redress as well as creating awareness.
- Women’s Rights Awareness Programme (WRAP)
WRAP caters to the needs of abused and violated women and children in Kenya. They provide alternative accommodation and related supportive services like legal advice, medical care, trauma counselling, marital counselling, mediation, reconciliation, resettlement, and re-integration.
They are located on Mvuli Lane, off Thika Superhighway, opposite Muthaiga Police station. Alternatively, you can dial their emergency helpline – 0722252939, 0721367677, or 0722258550.
5. Dan Shieshie Foundation
After Dan-Shieshie went through his domestic abuse experience where his wife poured sulphuric acid on him, he started up the Dan Shieshie foundation. Dan Shieshie Matakayia Survived An Acid Attack Meant To Kill Him. He Talks About Recovery, Forgiveness And How He Wants To Help Other Victims Of Domestic Violence
This foundation is particularly unique because it champions the fight against gender-based violence against men. In partnership with the Master Empowerment Centre, this foundation has professional counsellors that are ready to help victims full time by providing advice based on the situation.
Their toll-free line is 1196
6. Amani Counselling Centre And Training Institute
Amani is a voluntary organization that provides counselling services for people who are passed through emotional and psychological problems. They offer counselling services to victims as well as train counsellors and assist people in improving their emotional health. They have centres in Kisumu, Nyeri and Mombasa.
You can visit the head office is on Mbagathi Way off Langata Road, or alternatively reach to them on +254 02 6002672/3 or 07 22 626 590 or 0733 263 870
You can also visit their website for more information.
7. Lavendar House Clinic
This clinic is located in Mathare, Nairobi. The victims they treat are mostly women and children and some of them are as young as 9 years old. They have emergency assistance with an ambulance available 24/7 to collect the victims, help them record their initial statement about the attack and then take them to a doctor for medical examination and initial treatment. They also offer social support, short-term accommodation for the victim, as well as a training and awareness programme.
You can call them directly on +254 202400330 to find out more.
8. Coast Province General Hospital’s Gender-Based Violence Recovery Centre
The Centre was set up to provide quality care for survivors of rape, sexual violence, and sexual exploitation. It is situated next to the casualty/emergency unit of the Coast provincial hospital for ease of access to victims. They provide medical care including management of injuries, provision of Post Exposure Prophylaxis, emergency contraceptives pills, forensic collection and filling in of Post Rape Care. They also provide psycho-social care and legal counselling.
This centre is located at Kisauni Road, Mombasa, Kenya. You can also contact them on +254 41 231 4204
Know any other centres we should know about? Let us know in the comments section.