A man has been detained by the Kenyan Police for setting his wife on fire. The detained man is from Kikopey, in Nakuru county. This is yet another case of gender violence which has been increasing at a high rate lately.
The victim, 22-year-old Njoki Ndung’u was rescued from her burning house by neighbors after she had sustained burn wounds. She was then rushed to St Mary’s mission hospital, where she is recovering from her injuries.
In an interview, a neighbor narrated how the incident unfolded and added that the couple had lived together for only two years and that they always had constant fights and disagreement.
“He (the husband) started by burning mattresses [outside the house] and when neighbors asked [why he was doing that], he said he was burning bedbugs”.
Speaking from her hospital bed, Ndung’u said her husband set the fire in one of the rooms in their house and as she tried to escape, she caught fire and sustained injuries.
“He had lit a fire in the living room, but when I tried to get out, I caught fire. The door locked itself and I fell down,” she said amidst sobs.
In a similar case last week, a video posted on social media showed another Kenyan man dragging his pregnant wife into a house after beating her up and leaving her for dead.
The issue of gender violence is widespread in the country. A recent survey indicates that about 42% of Kenyan women between the age of 15 and 42 support being beaten by their husbands. This may be the reason why the beatings are on the increase.
The UN General Assembly, in adopting the 1993 declaration on the elimination of violence against women, defined gender-based violence as:
‘Any art of violence that results in physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women; including threats of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life (Population Reference Bureau, 2001 pg. 3)’.
Meanwhile, the men have their reasons for beating their wives and they include denying husbands sex, burning food, neglecting the children and arguing with the husband.
Kenyan men should watch this increase in gender violence and adopt other means of solving problems such as dialogue.