By Winnie Kabintie
Cases of domestic violence are reportedly on the rise in the country as the impact of COVID-19 continues to bite.
As countries continue to enforce lockdowns to encourage social isolation and as most employees continue working from home, while the most unfortunate have lost their jobs, families are retreating to their homes and unlike on normal days where the home has been a haven for rest and comfort, homes are turning out to be this “chaotic” place where people are forced to contain 24 hours a day, seven days a week without much of a choice.
Economic anxiety and Poverty
A majority of Kenyans live below a dollar a day with a good number of families relying on the Jua Kali sector to irk a living. This is one of the sectors that have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
People are therefore stuck at home and with no money to even afford the basic needs and this has led to social frictions as everyone tries to cope both mentally and socially.
As more people continue to lose jobs or face salary cuts, even the security of shelter for the majority of Kenyans who rely on renting hangs in the balance as families struggle to put food on the table and raise the monthly rent as well.
Unfortunately, with social isolation and curfew regulations, people can no longer enjoy social amenities and lifestyles that would allow them to step out and let off some steam as one Patrick Onyango, father of two shares.
“Disagreements are normal in a family and sometimes anger and frustrations can drive people to do the unthinkable. Usually for me in such moments, I prefer to step out for a walk or drive out for a drink with the boys to allow things to cool off but now with the curfew, it’s impossible, so don’t be surprised to hear more cases of domestic violence during this lockdown period” said Patrick.
Rise in Domestic Violence and Abuse
According to recent estimates from the United Nations Population Fund, three months of quarantine will result in a 20 percent rise in domestic violence and abuse (more commonly referred to in clinical settings as “intimate partner violence” or “IPV”) throughout the world.
In total, the report predicts at least 15 million additional cases of IPV will occur as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns.
On Sunday, Police arrested a 29-year-old woman after she allegedly stabbed her boyfriend to death in Umoja estate, Nairobi.
According to neighbors, Vigilance Shighi and her 33-year-old boyfriend, Edward Okello, have been fighting a lot in the last couple of months.
Last month, another woman in Kakamega stabbed her husband to death before turning the knife to her self and ripped her intestines out, allegedly after a quarrel over Ugali.
In the same month, Naomi Wanjiku, A court clerk killed her husband and daughter in a chilling attack at Kioru village in Kirinyaga County. As reported by The Daily Nation, Naomi Wanjiku, attacked her husband Charles Murimi, 49, and their daughter Vallerie Njeri, 13, in their sleep with an axe around 3 am.
Children are also being exposed to abuse, both physical and sexual during this lockdown period and as the government continues to intensify efforts to fight Covid-19, it is also prudent for relevant authorities on matters gender to step up and come up with urgent interventions to curb domestic violence and child abuse during this season.