SAY NO TO INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE

Valarie Waswa
Posted July 31, 2020 from Kenya

I was moving in to a new neighbourhood after getting a job transfer to Kwemba town. I really needed help with getting my stuff into the house. A lady, who looked to be in her early thirties, reached out to me, with a pleasant smile. She seemed to be soft spoken and very withdrawn, but this looked like an acquired personality, almost like trying to tame a hornbill. We exchanged pleasantries, and she spent the better part of the afternoon helping me with fitting and arranging my new appartment. I knew from first instance that we would be great friends. Her name is Owala. Owala was an accountant by profession, but quit her job when she got married two years ago.  I noted that she loved to wear tones and tones of make-up, scarfs, headwraps and loose clothing. It took her some weeks before she could be comfortable to open up to me. Told me that her husband told her there's no need for her to work, since he could provide, and that she should not stress her beautiful self. At first, it sounded cute, even to you, it does sound cute and romantic, right? But after some time, Owala realised that it was because of her husband's (Teya) insecurity, that her wife would start flirting with colleagues at work. Owala also shared that after several months of being married, she started seeing Teya's true colors. He had a daily routine of going through Owala's phone every evening after work, and Owala had to explain to him every message or call that looked suspicious, or from a potential side affair. Any words like "dear", "darling" "how was your day", from any male contact in the phone attracted some serious face punches and kicks in the ribs. No explanation was welcome. Speaking back was forbidden. Food that was badly cooked attracted the hot food being poured either on Owala's face or laps. Questioning Teya on coming back home late or on a suspcious affair which he (obviously) could be engaged in, attracted being thrown a chair on the face or being pushed to the wall. Sex was to be provided every time Teya felt like it. There were curfews. 5pm. Later than that would mean no moving out of the house for a good two weeks. Owala miscarried twice, because of serious beating when Teya would come back stone drunk and angry. Yet she covered all this in scarfs, make up and loose clothing. She hid all these wounds, so as not to raise suspicion. Because she hopelessly and deeply loved this man. And felt a sense of belonging being with him. Now even listening to this made be sick and disgusted. I wanted to move her in immediately to my house. I wanted to immediately report the matter and see that this man is out behind bars. I wanted to help with filing a divorce, because clearly this was not a marriage. This was a wrestler/punching bag kind of relationship. The matter worried me for weeks. Owala did not want me to say a thing about it, because this man was dangerous, and threatened upteenth times that he would kill her. But after a month or so, I could not seat well eith the fact that my dear friend was being seriously injured and her life was at risk. Other times we would not see each other because she has been remanded for coming home late. So, I plotted a plan without letting her, informed all the necessary authorities and domestic violebce organizations. I provided evidence. Wrote a statement, and filed for a separation order in court. I told Owala when the plan was all laid out, and it was too late to quit. I knew snd she did as well, that this was the best way forward for her. She had started losing weight, and her health had started deteroriating. It wasn't easy, but I knew this was the right thing. Teya did not heed to the divorce, but because he was guilty of countless sexual and physical assault, the divorce was granted and injuction orders given to prevent Teya from coming close to Owala. I helped her with applying for jobs, while she and her son was living with me. I'm glad to say that currently, Owala is doing well and she was able to get a good job at a local bank, and got herself a good house. She and her son still go for therapy sessions to help them heal completely from these traumatizing events. Please, let us all speak against gender based violence, and save a life. You can do anything in your own capacity. It does take conceited efforts. SAY NO TO GENDER BASED VIOLENCE. WOMEN'S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS.

 

By Valarie Waswa, Kenya

Gender and Human Rights Lawyer 

Founder, Village Pillars Empowerment Project

Comments 21

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SIMON MUREU
Aug 01
Aug 01

W.
Thank you for filing this storyI t is as sad
and hope you will do a lot in kenya

Valarie Waswa
Aug 24
Aug 24

Thank you Simon.

Nini Mappo
Aug 01
Aug 01

Dear Valerie,
Congratulations on your first story.
This was a heart-breaking story to read, but sadly so true and all too frequent. I am thankful for Owala's sake that she got to trust you enough to confide in you, and I admire your compassion, your courage and creativity in helping your friend out of a violent marriage. Thank you also for helping her reestablish herself in the work place, rescuing her from that financial dependence that makes women vulnerable to controlling behaviour and violence from their partners.

Good on you for bringing light into these dark places, and helping women to be free.

You are an inspiration!

Valarie Waswa
Aug 24
Aug 24

Thank you Nini

Chi8629
Aug 01
Aug 01

Thank you for sharing.

Valarie Waswa
Aug 24
Aug 24

Very welcome

Busayo Obisakin
Aug 01
Aug 01

YES Capital NO to Intimatw partner abuse! Thanks for sharing Sis!
Love
Busayo

Valarie Waswa
Aug 24
Aug 24

Absolutely! Most welcome sis ❤️

Shirin Dalaki
Aug 02
Aug 02

Valarie,
Welcome to World Pulse and thank you for sharing your first post and your intention to empower. I am so glad that you were able to help her out and be a voice for gender based violence. Together we can start new and empower one another.

Valarie Waswa
Aug 24
Aug 24

Shirin I couldn't agree more . Thank you

Beth Lacey
Aug 03
Aug 03

Welcome to World Pulse. It was great that you could help her

Valarie Waswa
Aug 24
Aug 24

Thank you Beth

Hello, Valarie,

Welcome to World Pulse! I’m happy that a new voice from Kenya is rising up!

You’re such a brave woman for planning Owala’s way out of an abusive relationship. Owala is courageous, too, for deciding to leave her husband.

It angers me that there are men who think their wives are their possession. How can we prevent this mindset?

Thank you for raising your voice against abuse. We stand with you!

Please continue writing. We love to hear more from you. Hope you connect with our sisters here and check opportunities on the Resources Page.

Welcome again to our growing sisterhood!

Valarie Waswa
Aug 24
Aug 24

Hello too, Karen. Thank you so much. I will sure keep writing. World Pulse is a great space with amazing women across the globe. Glad to be part of it. Thanks once more

You're welcome, dear. Looking forward to your future posts! We're glad you are here.

Andrace
Aug 05
Aug 05

Hi Valerie,
Thank you for saving a fellow sister. That was super kind of you. Many women have lost their lives due to physical abuse, especially as women in this situation do not get the support ordinarily needed from their families, friends and the society at large. Thank you for being bold and sensitive.

Congratulations on your first story and welcome to World Pulse. Keep writing and winning! We'd love to read from you. :)

Valarie Waswa
Aug 24
Aug 24

Hello Andrace. Thanl you so much. Ot gave me so much joy to help. It's sad that we are even still talking about violence against women in this era. However, small actions can eventually eliminate the menace completely

Kabahenda
Aug 16
Aug 16

Hello Valarie,

Welcome to World Pulse and thank you very much for sharing your amazing story of courage, friendship, duty and responsibility.

You are the kind of woman and friend that so many women in Kenya need.

Violence against women is a public pandemic of great proportions not only in Kenya, many other countries of Africa, and all over the word.

It is extremely sad when women get punished for the " crime" of loving a man unconditionally.

Owala left the relationship scarred for life and what happened to the man?
He will find another victim to oppress and injure both physically and psychologically!

We need to find a way to make such men pay for their crimes and I would love to hear more about this.

Can you also tell us more about the "Village Pillars Empowerment Project"?
What is its mission?
Please keep up the good work and keep us updated.

Valarie Waswa
Aug 24
Aug 24

Hello Kabahenda. Thank you so much for the warm welcome. I agree with you that there are so many women that suffer in silence, especially with the perpetrators being intimate partners. So many lives are being lost in such evils. Bit we can do something to fix the situation. Village Pillars Empowerment Project has the mission to realise gender equality in Kenya through sensitization, advocacy and training in the areas of Sexual and Reproductive Health, Violence Against Women and Economic Empowerment for women. We could connect more through contact details:
+254707059485
[email protected]
[email protected], and I could share our organization's profile. Also our website is:
www.vipep.org

Veronica Ngum Ndi
Aug 24
Aug 24

Dear Valerie
Welcome to World Pulse and Kudos for such a strong story.Intimate partner violence is in every country and community and I hope your story will help to raise awareness in Kenya.I love Kenya,Its a beautiful place.I have been to the Desmond Tutu Conference Centre in Nairobi and I enjoyed my stay there.If ever I come to Kenya agian,we may connect and have the chance to meet
Love
Veronica Ngum
Cameroon

Valarie Waswa
Aug 24
Aug 24

Hello Veronica. Glad to e-meet you. Oh much greetings from Kenya you are very welcome back in Kenya, and I'd love us to connect. Here's my contact details:
+254707059485
[email protected]
[email protected]
Cheers