Concerns have been raised over high rates of gender-based violence in Kiamumbi area in Kiambu Town Constituency, Kiambu County with leaders, activists and the public racing to arrest the situation.
The alarm was raised after shocking data from Kiamumbi police station indicated that at least 15 cases are reported monthly.
Bearing the brunt are women most of whom suffer psychological, physical and financial difficulties following the domestic feuds that see them ejected from their matrimonial homes.
Stakeholders against the GBV crisis regretted that most gender-based violence cases go unreported, a situation that has driven many into depression as they are unable to speak out about their challenges.
Also disturbing is that male victims hardly report about their incidents, a state of affairs that has triggered most of them into alcoholism and abuse of outlawed substances.
According to Njeri Ng’ang’a, the International Network of Religious Leaders Kenyan chapter director, loss of jobs and or unemployment is primarily to blame for increased GBV cases against men as they are often fingered for failing to provide for their families.
Njeri says most men prefer remaining mum whenever tortured by their wives owing to societal perceptions and their natural inability to share their challenges with loved ones.
“Men hardly report whenever their rights are abused. Anyone can find themselves affected but men tend to fear exposure and as a result, most of them drink away the torture in bars and clubs but this does not solve their issues and that is why we are seeking to have them start speaking out,” Ng’ang’a said.
To arrest the rising GBV cases in the area and Kiambu County, stakeholders rooted for a more holistic approach to addressing the challenge.
Top in the stakeholders’ list of solutions is the prevention of GBV cases through the creation of awareness, the provision of skills to GBV victims and the provision of a revolving fund that is able to help the affected start income-generating activities.
“When women are affected especially, it becomes such a big impact more so to the future of children. We, therefore, thought of starting this program in our own small way so that we can have a holistic package of supporting the survivors,” Ng’ang’a added.
Her sentiments were echoed by Faith Gichiru Gatheca who revealed that GBV has significantly affected the productivity of victims while some have even gone to the extent of committing suicide as they are unable to cope with the effects of such abuses.
While most have sunk into depression, others, Gichiru said, are desperate in life and do not know how to go about healing.
Gichiru urged the church to stand and become a voice for the abuses in the community to fast-track the provision of solutions.
“We are grateful for this program and others that seek to become a voice for those suffering in the community. We especially ask the church to rise to the occasion and become a voice to even their adherents,” Gichiru added.
To enable more people to tell their GBV cases in an effort to help them overcome the stress that occurs as a result, stakeholders rooted for the fight against the stigmatization of victims.
“GBV cases have increased since Covid-19 hit the country part of it because people are becoming more open and as we fight this stigma, we will have more people heal through telling their stories,” Pastor Jason Kabera said in a workshop held at a church in Kiambu Sub-County and which brought together victims and anti-GBV crusaders.