Kenya: Nairobi's Slum Women Bear the Brunt of Domestic Violence

22 October 2020

Women living in Nairobi slums continue to suffer domestic violence the most. The latest survey by Trends and Insights for Africa (Tifa) released last week, shows that women are the majority victims of domestic violence at 52 per cent followed by men at 37 per cent and children at 36 per cent.

The survey conducted between September 24 and October 2, shows that women continue to suffer from the domestic violence despite government efforts to end the vice.

It covered Huruma, Kibra, Mathare, Korogocho, Mukuru kwa Njenga and Kawangware slums.

The report indicates that physical, verbal and a combination of the two, are the three main categories of violence in these areas.

Physical, verbal violence

Men have not been spared with 39 per cent of those interviewed disclosing of having suffered a combination of physical and verbal violence.

About 46 per cent of children were found to have suffered both physical and verbal violence, followed by physical violence at 28 per cent and verbal violence at 21 per cent.

In May, a report by Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya (Fida-Kenya) listed Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa counties as leading in gender-based violence (GBV) in the country.

The report also listed Kakamega, Kajiado, Kiambu, Kilifi, Uasin-Gishu, Taita-Taveta, Vihiga, Bungoma, Lamu Siaya, Kitui and Nakuru as counties also with high GBV cases.

"The nature of GBV cases reported are mostly intimate partner violence, defilement and rape especially in Nairobi and Kisumu. Widow eviction and physical violence by in-laws was found to be prevalent in western region," the report indicated.

Plan International Kenya a child rights agency, also released some statistics, in April, on GBV during this Covid-19 period that indicated at least 45 per cent of women and 44 per cent of men aged 15 to 49 had been physically assaulted while 14 per cent of women have experienced sexual violence.

Cases of domestic violence have been on the increase since mid-March when the government imposed restrictions to contain the spread of Covid-19.

There have, however, been optimism that the cases will decline as the government eases restrictions.

Alarmed with the skyrocketing cases of domestic violence, President Uhuru Kenyatta in July ordered a probe into matter. He directed the National Crime Research Centre to investigate cases of gender-based violence and teenage pregnancy.

It is not only in Kenya where increase in domestic violence has been recorded. In April during the height of the pandemic, the United Nations called for urgent action to combat the worldwide surge in domestic violence.

"I urge all governments to put women's safety first as they respond to the pandemic," UN Secretary General António Guterres wrote on Twitter then.

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