In a fashion similar to other survivors who shared their emotional stories of abuse, Kena spoke candidly about the events that led her to visit the Accelerate project for treatment and psychosocial support. “My life was hard,” she recalled. “I suffered for a long time,” she said, “but today I stand as the voice for the voiceless.”
For some reason, I was too ashamed to let anyone know, for fear of being judged. I was embarrassed that I had made such a poor choice of becoming pregnant at my young age. I was worried that I would be judged for not leaving him. I carried the shame and that became my life until one day I was rescued. I was brought to GVRC and later taken to a safe shelter and enrolled in an Accelerate support group where I found other teenage mothers like myself.
Kena, a 17-year-old single mother to two young boys, endured abuse from her husband before being rescued by her neighbours and brought to GVRC. Kena had her first baby at age 15, and at that point, her parents married her off. When she was brought to Accelerate, a Mental Status Exam (MSE) was conducted by the counselor, and the results showed that Kena was distressed. She exhibited physical pain from the twisted arm that had allegedly been twisted by her husband. She also exhibited low self-esteem and had wandering and suicidal thoughts. She was taken through psychological first aid on relaxation exercises since she was in denial, self-blame, and guilt.
The medical examination showed an injury to the left arm, and she was already 7 months pregnant with a second baby. According to the doctor’s report, Kena had sustained 2nd degree tissue injuries as a result of a physical assault. She was given anti-inflammatory ointment and analgesics to relieve the pain and was referred to an anti-natal clinic in a government health facility. She had not attended any ante-natal clinics since she conceived.
She was placed under the Accelerate teenage mothers’ support group, in which she participated every month until she delivered at Saitoti Health Centre in Kajiado County. After delivery, she continued to attend Accelerate Teenage Mothers’ support group where she received psychosocial support and economic empowerment literacy. Without a job or income to support her two sons, life was hard. Therefore, Kena sought legal support. With the help of Accelerate and other partners, Kena’s husband was served with legal orders to take responsibility for supporting the children.
Through the Accelerate psychosocial group, Kena was referred to the Women’s Hope-GBV program, which equips survivors with the knowledge, skills, and support structures they need to start their own small businesses or find sustained employment.
Today, Kena has started a business selling second-hand clothes with support from Accelerate, who has been supporting survivors of GBV during the pre and post-Covid 19 period. Her two children are both healthy, and she has permanently left her elderly husband and regularly brings her youngest child to the Accelerate teenage mother’s support group. Her story is encouraging and inspiring to teenage mothers who have lost hope, especially those in the teen’s mother support group.
Quote from Kena
“Just having someone to talk to when you’re going through things like this helps,” says Kena. I was able to get through suicidal thoughts and met other teenagers like me who had a similar story to mine in the support group. As time passed, she confessed how helpful and reassuring it was to have a group of peers to walk with you on your journey to recovery.
“I knew self-employment was better suited to my situation, but I didn’t know how to make it a reality,” Kena explained during the survivor’s graduation day.
This was Kena’s message that day.