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The majority of the victims of domestic violence do not come out for help, although much-needed.

The death of Dutch tycoon, Tob Cohen, and the events leading to and after the discovery of his body read like a Hollywood script. With the story ruling the news cycle for a while, Kenyans have highly suspected that this could be a case of a domestic matter or matters gone sour.

We shall leave that to Kinoti and his boys to deduce. The main issue here is the growing incidences of domestic wrangles, some that have ended up as fatalities, and the lucky ones who escape from the violence ending up living with mental scars from these ordeals.

Domestic violence is not something that pops up on a couple like a slice of bread once the toaster stops. It is something that creeps on you like the vines of the money plant and it suddenly hits one of the partners that they are deep into a violent relationship.

Entangling one’s self from these tentacles of violence is always the main challenge. Every day on the news cycle you will not miss a case of domestic violence from across various parts of the country. The worst part of all this is the fact that these incidences are just but the tip of the iceberg.

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The majority of the victims of domestic violence do not come out for help, although much-needed. It is unfortunate that women have borne the brunt of domestic violence, some that have been gruesome.

The other sad bit is rate of these incidences among young people. In one of the dailies, the then Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Sicily Kariuki mentioned that five in every 10 women in Kenya in the age bracket of 15 to 49 years (about 47%), have suffered at least one form of violence or another.

The reasons as to why the castigators resort to violence when solving domestic quarrels or wrangles may vary depending on various factors that include socialization, low self-esteem, anger management, jealousy among others.

Therefore, by acknowledging the hurdles the Kenyan family set-up faces in light of life and societal pressures, we ought to be finding means by which to help fight this vice.

This quest eventually becomes everyone’s responsibility. It is thus baffling when I see people who are in a position to influence behavior change or who command high societal standing, seemingly promoting domestic violence.

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Artistes form part of the group that can be regarded to as role models or individuals who can drive an agenda. They attract and grow a huge fan base that looks up to them.

The release of a song by m?githi artiste Kimemia wa Jane goes against the principle of promoting social good through music. In the song Ugukua Kiriku (What type of death do you want?), Kimemia wa Jane sings about his promiscuous wife.

Once he finally catches the wife and her ‘other man’ in the act after getting wind of this illicit relationship, he proceeds to ask him the kind of death he prefers. Death by an axe, a pickaxe, a machete, a fork hoe or a rope to commit suicide; tools that he has come with. The decision by the artist to make this message the chorus to the song is simply appalling.

The chorus is the one part of a song most listeners will remember and probably memorise first. It becomes the song’s signature identification. Despite the betrayal that has been brought about by the unfaithful partner, how does murder in the family set-up end up being the best solution? And was it necessary for the artiste to glorify violence through this choice of chorus?

Whether it was intended or not, it is outrightly wrong. Music is an art form; well understood. Artistes have the liberty to express this art through their lyrics and also the production of their music. It is the finesse in these two that eventually leads an artiste to stardom.

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However, artistes should also remember that they are social influencers. Right from a very young age, children are able to sing word for word, songs from their favourite artistes.

This is part of the socialization that they undergo in their upbringing. It is imperative that artistes also take a leading role in shaping the mindsets and worldviews of the young ones, as well as not be seen to be rubber-stamping social ills all in the name of creating an artistic piece.

There are individuals who cannot fathom the idea of giving relationships another chance, due to the horror experiences they have undergone in previous ones. Others have permanent mental scars, where even if they are willing to try, their relationships are strained due to the past.

And then there is a group of those who are still in abusive relationships and are either afraid to get out of or do not know how to get out. Taking this into account, let us not feed the fire of domestic violence through the beautiful art form that is music.

Tob Cohen DCI Kinoti Domestic violence

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