Ongala Maurice

To Inspire is to Empower


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Reverse GBV in Kenya

Well, this is how I enter – not to be confused with the Madtraxx and the Skamares of this world. Today I thought we could at last face the reality of reverse Gender Based Violence in Kenya with our usual level heads and open minds.

Why Reverse?
So why reverse, anyway? Where is it inscribed that women are to suffer in the hands of men and not the other way? The answer lies in the African societal expectations seen in gender roles and made real in the African family set up. But for this Kenyan thingy, I just want your full attention please…

In Kenya, men physically assaulting their women could as well be regarded a relic of the past. Women in Kenyan cities and townships have been known for battering their husbands to the point of hospitalization, and sometimes death! Ok, this is no exaggeration just in case you think so, neither is it an inferred wayward joke. The most interesting portion is that as the women wage the battle, they do most of the screaming, wailing and yelling – you would quickly, but falsely deduce that they are the victims, when the reverse is, sadly, the case! Even more interestingly, when their poor ‘victim husbands’ get to the health centres and social gatherings with their bruise-littered, utterly damaged faces, broken limbs and/or bandaged parts they go like, ‘mmmh, eeeer, you know I had this almost fatal accident, thanks to God I’m alive…’ and all this manner of vako continues. The details of the ‘accidents’ often remain concealed, maybe only some ka-FBI could do the unveiling. I chuckle.

Now The Mamboleo Tale asks, which one sounds sexy; wife-beating up husband or the converse? Well, spouse battering is a criminal offense either way, for doesn’t it amount to domestic violence?

Conjugal Rights versus Multiple Concurrency
Apart from just being a crime, this practice heightens chances of acquiring the HIV among affected couples coz usually after the fight, either of the spouses goes on a sex strike, denying the other their conjugal rights. Multiple concurrent sexual partners (mipango ya kando) is the direct consequence of such a scenario, in which case the sex is usually unprotected – you do not know if condoms are ever known behind closed doors.

Masculinities and Gender
Also commonly reported among Kenyan males overtaken by their masculinities is an incident of forceful sex immediately after the physical fight, just to prove their prowess and weigh ‘who’s stronger now?’, ignorant of the fact that this is marital rape attracting prosecution and exposing each other to bruises and cuts thereby increasing chances of infection.

Now this is the Bull’s Eye: Sweet ladies, the offense is spouse battering and not exclusively wife battering, so the law also protects men. Hi dudes, marital rape is as grave as ‘the other rape’ , so which one do we employ, the mind or the muscle? We only need so much enlightenment to appreciate this.

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