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Knives for wives – Maisha Mkanda

26 January 2022
In a country where men are almost always viewed as perpetrators of gender-based violence, how do men who are victims cope?
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In Kenya, almost 11 percent of married men have experienced some form of violence from their partners. Many of them suffer in silence and are stigmatised by the community because men have always been viewed as the perpetrators of gender-based violence (GBV) and not victims.

GBV survivor Dan Matakaiya narrated to the Maisha Mkanda team how he suffered abuse at the hands of his then-girlfriend. Their troubles started after they lost their only child in 2013. A year later, his girlfriend wanted to have another child but Dan, a policeman, was not ready and that’s when all their problems started. Thinking that Dan was no longer interested in her, she decided to leave him.

On the morning she decided to leave, she waited for Dan to return from night duty. As a policeman, Dan worked night shifts for some weeks and when he arrived home he went straight to bed. On this day, his girlfriend waited for him to fall asleep, and then she poured acid on him and ran away.

Watch his full story on DStv

What pushes partners who once loved each other to be abusive?

One victim cited lack of communication, economic abuse, and past trauma. However, not all hope is lost. Pius Ojwang, a GBV survivor, and his wife turned their life around after both went for counseling. Their open communication led them to open up about their strengths and weaknesses and they resolved never again to use violence as a way of solving their issues. Here are some of the things they suggested could help people suffering from gender-based violence:

  • Draw boundaries.
  • Seek advice and wisdom from experienced people.
  • Don’t keep silent. Communicate your innermost thoughts. Your partner should be an active listener.
  • Avoid any physical confrontation. Before a quarrel erupts, take your leave.
  • Build a culture of lifting each other up and respecting each other’s role and contribution to the family.

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Maisha Mkanda airs every Sunday at 7:30 pm on DStv 163 and GOtv Supa CH 8.