Domestic Violence Archives - CREAWKENYA

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January 14, 2022by CREAW

This year as the world marks the 30th anniversary of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV), many women and girls are still grappling with the vice, with one in three women globally still experiencing violence.

Prior to the pandemic, violence was already a daily reality for many women and girls in Kenya with at least 41 percent reporting to have experienced either sexual or physical violence among other forms of GBV.

During the pandemic however, we have seen aggravated levels of violence against women and girls compounded by the preexisting gender inequalities.

Government data shows that GBV cases increased by 92 percent in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Majority of these cases were perpetrated by intimate partners, close family members and persons known to survivors. It is a sequence that continues to go unabated.

It is a concern that Leticia Achieng, a survivor of intimate partner violence believes we must change to create safe households and communities for women to enjoy dignified lives.

In the Kibera settlements where she resides, it is not uncommon to hear screams of women being battered at night, or reports of incidences of women being killed by their spouses and some sustaining serious injuries that maim their lives forever.

“Taking lessons from my experiences, I believe communities must start by changing their mindsets and deal with the systemic inequalities that silences women and girls and enables perpetrators to thrive,” she says.

Across communities, a growing evidence show that gendered norms and power imbalances drives violence against women and girls. Evidently, men hold the preponderance of power in families, communities, work places, institutions and politics. The reality of this power imbalances, means that men are the main perpetrators of violence against women and girls, as well as boys and other men. To shift the narrative, Achieng believes it starts from home.

As a mother of two teenage boys, she says she has been intentional on how she nurtures and brings up her boys from when they were young. She notes that parenting young boys to grow up to men who respect women starts from home.

“I believe, good naturing starts from home and thus education must start when they are young, then they will assimilate the attitudes and actions as they grow up,” says Achieng.

“Bullying has become so rife in schools and parents don’t talk about it. When a child pushes, punches or smacks another, we hail them and excuse their violent behaviours,” she adds, noting that with good role modelling, we can change the path for our children and communities when it comes to addressing violence against women and girls.

Growing up, Achieng says she never saw her father treat her mother with respect. He was abusive to everyone in every way. I grew up knowing women should be submissive to men. The repeated forms of violence I faced made me realize that there is more to life other than being silenced by violence.

“Oftenly we caution women to dress ‘decently’ not to give the wrong impression, reason being, we are protecting them! I believe we must do better. It takes us all to teach our boys about consent and equal treatment of women in all spectrum,” she says.

In Kibera where Achieng lives, CREAW has been engaging communities in conversations to shift the narratives of male violence towards women and girls, issues of rape, defilement, femicide and other forms of intimate partner violence has been more prevalent during the pandemic. Achieng has been attending these community dialogues that she says has empowered her to challenge actions and attitudes that drives violence against women and girls in her community.

In the global arena and even here in Kenya, the wave of #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have amplified the voices of survivors to speak out on abuses and more so the everyday sexism that women and girls contend with at home, in the streets and just everywhere. With such widespread on violence against women, communities must be assertive enough and devise solutions to bring up men who respects and protect women and girls.

“I am raising my boys to respect women and girls but I know, it is not just the responsibilities of mothers but all in the community. I am raising my sons to use their power positively and the importance of equality,” says Achieng.

To address the various forms of violence against women and girls, CREAW continues to initiate and adapt interventions across communities. We are educating women and girls like Achieng to rise up and use their voices to claim their rights and demand for accountability from communities and authorities to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls.

 



April 5, 2018by CREAW0

Meet Irene Wanjiku and Samuel Mugure; a couple who called it quits after 22 years of marriage. Theirs was an experience of an ending anguish and contempt that stood in the way of the way of the rights of their children and more so education of their 13 year old daughter. After months of feuding, they agreed to solve their feud out of Court. Through CREAW mediation services, they agreed to set their differences aside and agreed on child maintenance. They tell their story of how mediation helped bring together their family.

What circumstances led to you to mediation? Wanjiku: My husband and I separated 3 years ago. We had been married for 22 years and had five children; four of which are adults and are already married. I was left with our 13-year-old daughter who is now in her first year of high school. When my husband moved out in 2015, it was extremely upsetting for all of us and we decided that he would never be part of our life again. We cut all means of communication and engagement with him.
Samuel: When I moved out I was bitter and my emotions ran high. My children were not talking to me any more. I was pained and did not know what to do. I did not want to cause more conflict so I decided to also cut them off from my life. Over the years, the distance between my family and I grew even bigger, there were more frictions and my children denounced me as their father and would not want anything to do with me.
What actions did you take as parents to end the family feuding?
Wanjiku: When our 13-year-old daughter graduated from primary school in 2017, I had no means to support her through to high school. I reached out to Samuel but he was adamant to engage with me; he did not pick my calls. As days grew for the Form One admissions, I was worried that our daughter would miss out. I was desperate; there was a need for a truce for the sake of our children. The thought of going to Court criss-crossed my mind but I had no idea where to start from and how much it would cost me. Again time was not on my side. I approached our area chiefs who tried to mediate on our issues three consecutive times but it failed. That is when I heard of CREAW and decided to approach them.
Samuel: I felt like the Chief was leaning on one side He was not neutral and did not want to hear my side of the story and so I walked out of the sessions. When I got a demand letter from CREAW, I also thought I would go through the experiences. At first I did not heed to the call, but after various calls from CREAW I agreed to the discussions. Deep down, I wanted peace between my children and I despite our differences as a couple.

What was the mediation process like for you both?
Wanjiku: At CREAW officers were so approachable and warmly. They were willing to support us reach an amicable solution. Initially I had a one-on-one meeting with our mediator and explained our issues but he called for both of us in one sitting. The first one did not bore any fruit and so the mediator reached out to both of us separately then there was a third meeting that brought us together.
Samuel: Seeing how we had progressed in our conversations, I was confident that we would finally agree on issues. Beyond that, all the further meetings were together allowing for an open talk and exchange of ideas how we could co-share our responsibility to our daughter. There were issues of her upkeep and maintenance but first we had to agree on her education. The mediator supported us in agreeing how to split the responsibility. I wanted a boarding school that I could afford which my wife agreed to. A month later, we both took our daughter to school. It was a joyous moment; my wife also agreed to visit our rural home, which was nearer to the school. This was after several years.
What can other couple learn from your experience?
Wanjiku: It was not an easy process but I am happy we resolved our issues. Though we are separated our key interest now is for the benefit of our younger child. I am at peace knowing that my daughter’s needs are well catered for and my family is at peace again.
Samuel: Initially I did not care whether the matter proceeded to court but now that I understand the benefits of a mutual agreement when it comes to our children, I appreciate the need for the out of court resolution. Mediation processes brings a sense of relief and opens the avenue to dialogue and we incurred no cost. The court processes would however be long and tedious.