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Emotional violence among couples on the rise - study

By Nathan Ochunge | May 6th 2022 | 2 min read
Intimate partner violence led especially among married couples with 85.2 per cent. [iStockphoto] 

Violence against women and girls has been on the rise in the country for the last 12 months, a new survey has revealed. 

Despite the concerted efforts by the government and non-state actors to reduce the cases, the latest report by Performance Monitoring Action (PMA) under the International Centre for Reproductive Health shows the numbers have shot.

The report focused on 11 counties; Nairobi, Nandi, Nyamira, Siaya, Bungoma, Kakamega, West Pokot, Kiambu, Kericho, Kilifi, and Kitui.

It revealed that 23.1 per cent of the sampled women reported having experienced violence in the last 12 months with some respondents reporting to have experienced more than one type of violence.

Intimate partner violence led especially among married couples with 85.2 per cent of them reporting to have experienced emotional violence, pressure to have sex without force (30.1), physical violence (29.1), and physically forced sex (14.9) and murder threats (10.8).

Further, there was an upsurge of violence against women by the non-partner household members with emotional violence being reported at 86.5 per cent, physical violence (24.5), pressure to have sex without force (14.3), murder threats (13.3) and physically forced sex at 11.1 per cent.

Interestingly, only 1 in 10 of the sampled women sought help for gender-based violence, the report said.

Only 11.7 per cent of victims reported to the police, lawyers and doctors, 58.9 per cent reported to their family members and 38.1 per cent reported to their in-laws.

“Advocacy programmes are needed to sensitise both women and men with the aim of reducing violence,” said Prof Peter Gichangi, the PMA principal investigator.

Prof Gichangi added: “Programmes should be able to provide non-stigmatising and non-judgmental gender-based violence services, which will require continual training of healthcare workers on how to handle such victims when they come for help.”

The government, on the other hand, has stepped up efforts to fight violence against women and girls by committing at least US $50 million between 2022 and 2026.

Last May, President Uhuru Kenyatta noted the money had been set aside to facilitate the war against gender-based violence and build rescue centres for the victims.

The report, further, indicates that at least 35 per cent of the women globally have experienced either physical, sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence with seven per cent of them reporting to have been sexually assaulted by someone other than their partner.

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