SOCIAL IMPACT OF COVID-19

Husband battery on the rise in North Rift due to stress

MCAs pass motion urging Uasin Gishu government to set up counselling centres to help families.

In Summary
  • Most GBV cases reported are from slum areas where the government has launched the Kazi Mtaani initiative.
  • More than 12, 000 cases of teen pregnancies have been recorded in the North Rift within the last three months.
Uasin Gishu county assembly in session
MCAs: Uasin Gishu county assembly in session
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

The number of men being battered by their wives in the North Rift is on the increase due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

MCAs in the Uasin Gishu assembly passed a motion urging the county government and others in the region to set up counselling centres to help deal with the increasing violence.

Tembelio MCA Pius Kigen surprised the house when he revealed that a male friend stripped naked before him to show injuries from frequent beatings by his wife.

 
 

“The man from my area came and stripped naked before me just show me how his body was full of marks and injuries caused by whips as a result of being beaten daily,” Kigen said.

He said many men were suffering in silence because as per tradition it was not proper for a man to complain that he was being beaten by the wife.

He said stress in families due to challenges caused by Covid-19 was high and many men were on the receiving end.

“Many of these men we see in town are suffering and have nowhere to complain. We see them smartly dressed and laughing and think they are well but it’s shocking to know that many of them are suffering physical, psychological and mental torture and need urgent help,” Kigen said.

Nominated MCA Mary Goretti said GBV had increased at an alarming rate in the region and regretted that many children were being exposed to sexual abuse among other forms of violence in homes.

“During this pandemic, there is a lot going on in homes and this is the time for parents to actively play their role and be close to their children in order to know what is going on and be able to intervene,” Goretti said.

She said children were exposing themselves to many negative influences including harmful material through social media. She said parents must be sensitised to help stop the GBV trend in the country.

Speaker of the assembly David Kiplagat said GBV cases had not been given the required attention and the MCAs were justified to pass the motion urging the county to establish counselling units in all hospitals in the region.

Most of the cases reported so far are from slum areas in the county where the government has launched the Kazi Mtaani initiative to help idle youth engage in community work and earn a living.

More than 12, 000 cases of teen pregnancies have been recorded in the North Rift within the last three month. Human rights groups are warning of increased back street abortions, endangering the lives of many girls.

 Jane Waithera from the Women Rights Centre says most of the pregnant schoolgirls have been visiting back street clinics to procure abortion, thus putting their lives at risk.

“Very few cases of the pregnancies and the abortions are recorded officially but we have noted a rise in the number of schoolgirl seeking to procure abortion,” Waithera said.

Girls living in slums like Kamkunji, Huruma, Langas, Kidiwa and Munyaka in Eldoret are the most affected during the Covid-19 pandemic period.

 Waithera and Kipkorir Ngetich from the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy asked President Kenyatta to ensure full enforcement of his recent orders for a probe into the increased teen pregnancies and action against those involved.

 “If we don’t take remedial measures then by the time schools resume maybe next year we will have ruined the lives of millions of children in this country,” Waithera said.

Edited by Henry Makori