x Health Men's Health Children's Health Nutrition and Wellness Reproductive Health Health & Science Digital News Videos Opinions Cartoons Education E-Paper Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman Travelog TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise BULK SMS E-Learning Digger Classified The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS
Login ×
BTV
VAS
DCX
RMS

Domestic conflict surges as corona takes heavy toll on many families

Health & Science - By Mercy Adhiambo and Kirsten Kanja | July 7th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Social media stories of people who have had near-death experiences at the hands of violent spouses are chilling. Photos of scarred body parts and videos with acts of a battery captured on camera show the turbulence in homes. The long threads of people narrating their ordeals on social media have lifted the veil on a subject brought to the fore by Covid-19.

Njeri Mwigi, who runs a safe house for domestic violence victims in Nairobi, says cases have escalated during the pandemic. She says they get distress calls from victims crying to be saved daily.

“We used to receive less than eight women at any given time. The number has doubled and includes women who come with their children. We are full to capacity but we still get calls asking if we have space,” she said.

Prof Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, said more than half of the victims of domestic violence do not report the cases.

Covid 19 Time Series

 

Patricia Mueni, a victim of domestic violence, said for a long time, she was silent about the horror she was going through because she was ashamed. Even when her husband held a knife on her throat and threatened to slit it open, she stayed.

“I only left when he hit me and broke my two ribs. That is when I knew for sure that one day he would kill me,” she said.

She said his aggression got worse after he was laid off from his work as a porter in Industrial Area, Nairobi, as a result of the impact of coronavirus.

“He was irritable. Everything I did was wrong. He would even hit the children,” she said.

Ms Mwigi attributes the rising cases during Covid-19 to financial frustrations and the closeness that spouses have with their aggressors.

Police spokesman Charles Owino said they noted an increase in number of people reporting cases of domestic violence over the last few months.

“We have noted a significant increase in domestic violence cases. I cannot give the exact figures, but the number has risen,” he said, highlighting a case in Umoja, Nairobi, where a woman stabbed her husband to death last month.

Dr Josephine Omondi, a psychiatrist, said the increase in such cases is likely to be from lack of an outlet to release stress.

“People in their normal routines had outlets for their stress and pressure such as socialising. When these outlets are not available, people tend to make those inferior to them their outlets, leading to abuse and violence," she said.

She advises couples to look for alternative ways to channel their pent-up emotions and energy, including exercising, when they feel too frustrated to talk or communicate.

Dr Felix Opondo, a psychologist, said the shift in the routine because of Covid-19 had made people otherwise engaged in activities outside the home to feel like outsiders.

“Families are experiencing a "change crisis" due to the pandemic. Violence tends to occur when a returning family member has not been re-positioned back to the family and as such is considered an intruder in their own home,” he said.

He added that the change in routines disorganises the accustomed family programme and roles.

“Violence may also be triggered when the "displaced" family member refuses to take or accept the new role offered by the adjusting family,” he said.

Families that have inherent tension, he said, were susceptible to violence.

In April, as the impact of Covid-19 was beginning to weigh on the stability of marriages and households, Fida-Kenya launched a toll-free number as one of its interventions to respond to the increasingly high number of gender-based violence cases being reported.

“The nature of gender-based violence cases reported are mostly intimate partner violence, defilement and rape especially in Nairobi and Kisumu....," said the report.

[]

Be The First To Comment

Top Stories

How borehole water hurts your health
Health & Science - By Gatonye Gathura


Never say die: Woman vows to keep on trying after losing 8 babies
Health & Science - By Yvonne Kawira


Covid vaccines: Why this is an injection of politics
Health & Science - By Allan Mungai


One million doses of Covid-19 vaccine arrive on Tuesday
Health & Science - By Mercy Kahenda


WHO: One in four people will have hearing problems by 2050
Health & Science - By AFP


Three succumb to Covid-19 as 152 test positive in Kenya today
Health & Science - By Jael Mboga


Our kidneys are failing but we want to be mums
Health & Science - By Gatonye Gathura


Uhuru calls for NHIF changes, launches biometric listing
Health & Science - By Benard Sanga


Does it matter what cooking oil you use?
Health & Science - By Nancy Nzalambi


People to watch in the distribution of Covid-19 jab
Health & Science - By Mercy Kahenda


Latest Stories

Covid vaccines: Why this is an injection of politics
Health & Science - By Allan Mungai


People to watch in the distribution of Covid-19 jab
Health & Science - By Mercy Kahenda


WHO: One in four people will have hearing problems by 2050
Health & Science - By AFP


Three signs of a narcissistic father
Health & Science - By Rubie Miseda


Our kidneys are failing but we want to be mums
Health & Science - By Gatonye Gathura


How borehole water hurts your health
Health & Science - By Gatonye Gathura


Does it matter what cooking oil you use?
Health & Science - By Nancy Nzalambi


The disease that stole my baby's hearing
Health & Science - By Yvonne Kawira


Wealthy nations hoarding vaccines, says WHO
Health & Science - By Allan Mungai


A win against superbugs
Health & Science - By Killiad Sinide


//

Stay Ahead!

Access premium content only available
to our subscribers.

Or Login With Your Standard Account
Support independent journalism
×
Create An Account
Support independent journalism
I have an account Log in
Reset Password
Support independent journalism
Log in