Mama K had endured abuse from her husband for 4 years, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, things worsened. Though emotionally, physically, and spiritually broken, Mama K knew she had to find the strength to leave to protect her children from the trauma they were experiencing, but she did not have a way out.
One day her husband returned home drunk, physically and verbally abusing her and leaving her for dead. She was brought to GVRC by the Buru Buru police Gender Unit, after her neighbors alerted police, who rescued her and apprehended her husband.
Mama K went through a trauma mental assessment test and psychological first aid. Mentally exhausted and paralyzed by fear, the taunts of her abuser kept circling in Mama K’s mind: She kept repeating her abuser’s words:
“You can’t do this.”
“You can’t care for the children without me.”
“You are not good enough.”
“You can’t do anything right.”
On physical assessment, she had a swollen arm and bleeding on her upper head, which was visible from the plaited hairlines. The doctor’s review showed a bleeding cut wound on her head and both hands were swollen with black marks on her upper left arm. Treatment was administered by cleaning the bleeding wound, which was then sutured, and consequently, the client was given analgesics to relieve the pain.
With constant encouragement from the Dove Support Group (DSG) and therapist, Mama K changed that inner voice to: “I can do this! I am strong and get stronger every day! She was among the participants in the IPV support group during the domestic violence documentary carried out by the BBC in conjunction with GVRC. Mama K has reported that she is happy in her job, and expressed satisfaction after she moved out of the abusive relationship. She was reported to have a better house and a safer environment with the new job and was away from persistent abuse. It is amazing what a strong and determined woman can accomplish when supported and removed from an abusive environment.
My husband tried to stab their son for coming into the room on hearing his mother’s screams. I instinctively raised my hand to protect my son from the knife and it landed on my hand,” she says. Later, I was rushed to GVRC- I was admitted to Adams branch where I was admitted for three days, as I had already visited GVRC-Hurlingham branch for other previous beatings”.
“After several individual and group therapies, I was able to make a tough choice between staying with the man I loved and probably dying in one of his foul-tempered attacks, or walking away so that my children could be assured of a peaceful, normal childhood in my care,” she said emotionally.
During graduation in the month of December, Mama K reported that she had eventually left the abusive relationship and started a new life for herself as an activist for GBV, who now works to ensure that other women and children undergoing similar experiences are given a second chance at a peaceful life.
Microfinance-based interventions, such as cash transfer programs and other forms of livelihoods, can give women freedom to stand on their own in the case of persistent IPV from their partners. This is an area where Accelerate should venture in for women’s empowerment within the psychosocial support groups.
Her journey of hope (Mama K)
“Through counseling and support from other group members, I realized that I was not going to die and that there is life beyond the abuse and I can heal and become whole again. After completing the support group in the month of September 2021, I joined a local self-help group near my home area (Wangige self-help group), where I was recruited as a GBV ambassador. Whenever there is a GBV case, the chief always calls me. In the month of December, I was called by the chief, and together with the other women, we took two girls for treatment at Nairobi Women’s Hurlingham who were raped in Gachie by their uncle. Through my ordeal and testimonies, I can say I have influenced the lives of other women and young girls. Unlike my initial thoughts of guilt and shame, I have gained respect and esteem in the community. And greatest of all, my family has accepted me back. I am no longer a victim but a champion.”