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'The Kenyan woman always stays in an abusive relationship'

05 September 2014, 15:07 Shakila Alivitsa

Nairobi - I once read something interesting on Tumblr that went along the lines of… " in a fit of anger, you take a plate and smash it into a wall, your anger dissipates, then you realize you have just damaged something costly. All of a sudden you are really sorry you did it and you pick the pieces up. You tell the plate sorry, and take some really strong and “effective” superglue and piece it all together.  You are gladdened by the results, as all the pieces fit and stick together. BUT… you can never hide the cracks no matter what you do, paint it, put another pretty piece on top of it to try and cover it, the cracks will always still be there…" It becomes something that sticks with you forever.

I used this as an intro because it just hits the nail on the head for me, I am not talking about married couples here but “dating relationships”.

Men are strong, at least most are, it is a fact of life that we cannot dispute against. So when this person you trust, I am going to assume you do so, since you are in a relationship with them, raises their strength against you for the first time, it shocks you. It is not something you expected. So it will not be like, " I am packing my bags and leaving right now…" That is rule 101 for women when signs of violence arise and there will be signs because it never just happens. As a clever woman you will always be able to tell.

Linda* 25 has been in a relationship for 7 years with this man, older than her. It is a Kenyan old school kind of relationship. I call it that because she started dating him in her last year of high school, and when a Kenyan relationship graduates past three years we all know you are getting married. So all through University, they have been dating, on her final year, Tommy* 29 moves out of his parents’ house and gets his own apartment. At first she goes to see him bit by bit, some effects are left behind until she eventually has her own closet there. Weekend visits turn into week long visits and soon enough she practically lives there. Linda has liberal parents, so not much trouble there. When two people live apart and move in together you can be assured that 70-80% of the time, paradise will be short-lived. Linda is not stupid enough to tell me that she did not see it coming, like I said, if you are a clever woman you will always be able to see it.

Read also: Poor sleep can make you stupid

She is just in shock most of the time that it happened, and it was not a slap in the face but a real ‘ngumi’ in the face, like a boxing match, only that her as the other party was not aware it was happening. Even before she moved in, the relationship had not been doing all too well, so in an effort to improve it, she moved in. But things went downhill all too fast. Her first sign were his displays of anger, if making a point, he would throw his hands around in very aggravated gestures, and Tommy, does not like being ignored so her thinking that if she kept quiet, it would end, he got angrier. First incident before the hit, he just threw her breakfast on the floor on her birthday since she did not answer his nitpicking. His rebuttal was, " I bought the food so I can throw it if I want…" . At the back of her head she knew something was not right but she stayed on. She confided in her friends about it, she could not talk to her mother as they are not too close. Another reason why a lot of domestic violence never gets reported or acknowledged here in Kenya, is because the victims do not have the right confidant to tell them how to go about it. Most of our mothers are so old school that we grew up seeing them experience it, such that when it eventually happens to you, you do not know what to do or who to turn to.

So when the hit came, Linda had a swollen jaw for almost a week, the guy never even took her to hospital, she was not employed so no people to closely scrutinize you and ask, she never even told her mother. But when she did, her mother’s first reaction was,’…kwaniulifanya nini..?’ After that, she even regretted telling her about it.

At least she is not sitting there feeling sorry for herself, the one thing she realized from that incident is never to trust a man or anyone for that matter, just be dependent on yourself. Because when all is said and done, it will be you with the swollen jaw, no job prospects, no money to take yourself to the hospital and living in some man’s house- she does feel stupid though. You rarely can go back and ask your parents because in most cases our parents are just clueless in some matters, they still live in the old ages.

Read also: Why we have a bitch face

As a young woman you need to realize, no one should be hitting you, you are not anyone’s property for them to keep changing the commandments on how they should treat you. Someone has not even married you, has not done the rites, even when he does, you have just got to walk away. Because, once someone uses the strength they should have been protecting you with to hurt you, a form of trust is broken and it can never be pieced together, no matter how hard you try. Truth is, you may end up being too broken and can never be pieced together, next time it will not be a swollen jaw but a punctured brain which you may never wake from. In the end, you just get a different view of the person you are with you respect them less. This makes them the person not meant for you, you need to be able to respect your spouse. Some people just bring out the worst in another person as opposed to the best. What may surprise you is that this person may be completely different with someone else, hence, for every man there is a woman and vice versa. That hogwash about seven women for one man, I am sure was made up by some Western Kenyan man who wanted to his 100 cakes like Akuku Danger and eat them all to exhaustion.

Some facts on domestic violence, courtesy ‘www.safehorizon.org’

'The Victims…..One in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.

Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.

Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men,

Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.

Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.‘

According to World Health Organization, 40% of all murders of women worldwide, are carried out by an intimate partner.

Kenya, on the other hand, is one of those countries that still has no provisions that can outlaw domestic violence.

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Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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