In the recent weeks, i have been one angry and frustrated Kenyan woman, because of a heart wrenching story that continues to show how violence and sexual abuse against women is pervasive.
The story, was a media clip posted by K24, a Kenyan News Channel, showing a woman who was physically assulted by her husband after he found her "supposedly" cheating on him with another man. Due to public outrage, the clip has since been pulled down out of the K24 Youtube channel. From the clip, one gathers that the two were separated.
In the Video, the husband to this woman, and his friends are seen bringing out the woman and the 70 year old from their hotel room. The husband is seen to continuously throw kicks and blows to his wife as she lies on the ground trying to take cover, as others watch. His wife constantly points at the old man, saying since her husband left her, it is the 70 year old who has been feeding her and her children. The man, and his friends also drag out the 70 year old man, insulting him and stripping him of his trousers as he begs for their mercy and forgiveness. The most surprising thing is that the husband of the battered woman is seen taking her purse, parting with 5000 shillings that she had apparently recieved from the 70 year old man. At the end of the scuffle, the husband is heard saying that he paid dowry for his wife, justifying his violence against her.
Kenyan women were outraged about the clip, especially because the journalist(s) who filmed the whole event, are also perpetrators of violence. You cannot watch a woman or a man for that matter get battered just because you have a job to do and not intervene. I find it very inhumane. Over the next couple of days, Many women activists called for an apology from the Tv Channel, especially because they did not hide the faces of the persons involved. Moreover, most women reacted to the fact that this woman and the 70 year old were two consenting adults who had their personal freedoms abused and violated. Besides, the husband to the woman had no right to mercilessly beat her because he paid dowry for her. No, bride price does not mean you own her. This shows, again the misconception of bride price and what it means to some men. Ladies, in your countries, does bride price mean that men own women and can therefore treat them as they want?
Everything about that situation was wrong. The husband's actions are not justifiable neither the onlookers nor the journalist(s) that filmed the scuffle. We must refrain from being enablers of abuse simply because we refuse to take action as we watch others get battered.
In Kenya, the gains made towards working for gender equality are not enough. It must cease to be normal for people to watch as others physically abuse others. We must continue to challenge the ever pervasive patriarchial systems that dictate what men can do, and how they pretty much control the lives of women. Challenging these structures also means that we, as society also take a deep look at our own action or inaction towards gender based violence. We must seek to do the good that is lacking in our societies today.