Kenya: This Is How the Sgbv Hotline 1195 Works

The national sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) hotline, 1195, is perhaps the closest helper in case of a related violation.

The toll-free line is accessible to a survivor, family member, friend or concerned member of community seeking assistance on behalf of an individual subjected to sexual, physical, psychological or economic abuse.

With a mobile phone, one can receive free tele-counselling or guidance on where to get the needed help.

This is how it works.

On a Friday afternoon, I rang the hotline. After three rings, a man received the call.

The introduction involved explaining the reason for the call. Thereafter, giving out details of area and county of residence.

With that, the official linked me up with a counsellor on the line.

"How are you?" the counsellor started off the conversation in a calm and relaxing tone.

State of mind

Before further exchange, she took my bio-data, including name and current administrative information- ward, sub-county and county of residence.

For 19 minutes, she took me through a diagnostic process to establish the root cause of the problem I had raised. It involved understanding my state of mind and gently letting off the shells.

In no time, I was in a comfortable and safe space to open up and tell it all.

She probed the duration during which the problem had occurred, attempts to solve it, and outcomes thereof.

Out of our talk, she picked out the red flags.

Without imposing a remedy, she calmly asked: "How would you like to address this?"

I put forth my own remedy. This followed an action plan, clearly letting her know the steps I would take to free myself from the domestic problem.

"Do that and let me know how it goes on Monday," she said before we bid each other goodbye.

At the end, the logical way of addressing domestic problems without causing yourself and the children, if in the picture, further harm, becomes clear.

With the ongoing pandemic, more women are falling into SGBV traps; a call to 1195 can help one find a way out of the difficult situation.

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