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Last Updated: Monday, 1 December, 2003, 10:16 GMT
Kenyan husbands face growing violence
By Alice Muthengi
BBC, Nairobi

Domestic violence against women in Kenya is commonplace - with women often expected to suffer in silence.

Some Kenyan husbands have had to seek refuge
But now the tables could be starting to turn with attacks by women on men on the increase, says the International Federation of Women Lawyers.

An official of the federation that campaigns against domestic violence, Joyce Majiwa, says more men are seeking their help to ward off violent wives.

Two weeks ago a woman was jailed for one year after a court found her guilty of assaulting her husband.

Two men in western Kenya, have fled their homes in less than a month to escape their violent partners.

Too much

The latest victim, Alois Omae an agricultural officer in Kisii district is accusing his wife of 19 years and his stepsons of beating him up regularly.

Mr Omae, who is now seeking protection from the police, says he decided to speak up after the beatings become too much.

"One time she stabbed me with a knife on my stomach, I was admitted to hospital for a long time. The pain she has put me through is beyond repair," he said.

Psychiatrist, Dr Frank Njenga, says some Kenyan women feel cornered. They have been so used to being victims in society and their violence is a form of hitting back.


However, Professor Katama Mkangi, the chairman of a group for men in Nairobi, the Kenya Husbands' Movement, disagrees. He blames the trend on wrong perceptions about women's empowerment.

He says cultural practices depict women as weak, but they are not.

"Women have now discovered their economic, sexual and physical strength so if you are a weak husband, women find it easy to beat you up," he said.

The Kenyan parliament will soon debate a bill on domestic violence.

The bill addresses key issues to be considered while handling cases related to domestic violence.

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22 Jul 03  |  Africa

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