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December 17, 2017

Make 2016 free from domestic violence

HAPPY TIMES: A family being entertained by a local guitarist. Photo/STEVE MBUGUA
HAPPY TIMES: A family being entertained by a local guitarist. Photo/STEVE MBUGUA

The holiday season is over. For some, it has been a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of the city. But for a few others, the holiday season came as a curse. Anger that has been building up as the year progressed burst into untold violence at the end of the year. Some people lost their lives as others were mimed for life.

Jane (not her real name) was a beautiful lady full of life. She grew up in Nakuru town and went to school with my sister.

They were best of friends since their childhood and into their adult life. After graduating from school, each pursued their different lives but kept in touch. Jane got herself a boyfriend and started living with him. With time, their love grew sour and Jane had to disengage from the relationship.

She took up residence on her own and started rebuilding her life anew. Little did she know that the boyfriend was not happy with the new development. He started looking for her, slowly and meticulously like a spy. He caught up with her just before Christmas.

What happened after that is public knowledge as it was announced in the press and TV stations. Jane became a victim of love gone mad.

Within the same time, other reports of fatal violence were coming in from other parts of the country, most of them assuming similar trend. Love related deaths.

Or should I say hate related? Why would a man with full functional brain decide to end the life of his lover, their children, and his own life just because there is no more love in the relationship? How would a mother take away the lives of her own children, her husband and herself just because there has been a problem with her marriage?

Are there other avenues that are open to absorb such anger before reaching such finality? Is there something that the society is lacking, or is there something that the country has lost in terms of moral stability?

During the time that I have worked in tourism related industry, I have travelled all over the country and met with people from all corners of the country.

I have lived with people from the very interior, where foreign cultures have hardly been felt. I have been with people from the northern tip of the country, where people clad themselves with the simplest of dressings. I have seen people moving houses, where all their worldly possessions – and here we are talking of a family of 10 – can fit on the back of one camel.

Yet there is always a smile on their faces as they walk for days on end in search of a better life for them and their domestic animals. I would like to imagine they too have marital problems.

But when I look at the history of domestic violence, it seems to be a preserve of those who can call themselves 'emancipated' from traditional way of life.

The so-called urbanised society. Those who lead a humble life following closely the footsteps of their forefathers do not fall into the category of the new generation that finds the only solution to solve a troublesome life is to end it all. Those people, who still hug the traditional lives their parents lived, have been able to overcome anger build ups.

They know how to offload their problems by simply following precedence. Some of them are very well learned. Some of them work in government offices. But they keep their culture and tradition intact. Women appreciate their position in the family and men are allowed to be men. There is mutual respect within a relationship.

In all the places that I have visited that still keep their traditions, I have never heard of a girlfriend kept somewhere secretly and taken care of by a person of means. All relationships are well known by friends and relatives. Parents' opinions are constantly sought and given.

If a relationship seem to be headed the wrong way and the village elders do not see a solution, the relationship is killed before it can degenerate into violence. What we see away from this sort of setting, is people getting together in secrecy, live away from family and friends in the name of “private life”. We only get to know about the problem when the couple kills each other.

Let’s live the New Year in love and harmony. If it becomes impossible, solitary life is better than being dead.

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