FIRST I HAVE TO GRIPE- WHY ISN’T THERE AN ONLINE SUPPORT SERVICE FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE?
I don’t know how Kenya can say it is serious about dealing with the vice when its the no. 1 crime affecting over 80% of women, yet it’s virtually impossible to find out where to get help, or how to report an incident of domestic abuse.
Here’s what I know about what to do- let me know what you think as I’d love to produce a poster and plaster a checklist on every single police station in Kenya
1. CALL THE POLICE 999 (landline) 112 (Cell)
You can try to call the police Kenya Police emergency no is 999 (landline) or 112 (mobile phone).
PUT THESE NUMBERS IN YOUR CELL NOW
You can also try your local station – Kenya Police Stations Hotlines are listed here
2. REPORT AT NEAREST POLICE STATION OR SUB STATION/COMMUNITY STATION
When you get there tell them you want to report a crime.
I’ve no idea if the Gender Desk or Childrens Desks actually work but generally you go to the one guy who has the OB or Observation Book. He gives your case a number, asks you a few questions and you should keep a receipt of that report.
The officer taking your report will not volunteer information – you have to ask. These guys are qualified but if you are confused ask to see the OCS (Officer in Charge of Station – who generally is quite professional)
Well if you’ve been injured you need a P3 form from the Police station – you can download P3 Forms and Abstract Forms from the Police website here in advance
LOSS OF PROPERTY
Note The Abstract form is issued by the Police whenever a person reports loss of property.
It is filled giving details of the lost property. The Officer Commanding Police Station(OCS), must sign and rubber-stamp the filled form and an official receipt issued.
NB. Once this form is filled,it must be taken to the nearest Police Station for necessary assistance.
IN THE CASE OF PERSONAL INJURY
You must get the P3 Form - the Medical Examination Report
The Kenya Police Medical Examination form, popularly known as P3, is provided free of charge at our police stations. It is used to request for medical examination by a Medical Officer of Health, in order to determine the nature and extent of bodily injury sustained by a complainant(s) in assault cases.
Part I of the form must be filled by the Police Officer requesting medical examination.
Part II must befilled by a Medical Officer or Practitioner carrying out the examination giving medical details.
Section B of this form should be completed in all cases of assault, including sexual while section C is completed in cases alleged sexual offeces ony.
This form is a government document and must be returned to the police for use in adducing evidence in court.
Once the P3 form is filled in at the police station, the complainant is escorted by a police officer to a medical officer or practitioner for examination.
The form becomes an exhibit once produced in court.
MAKE A STATEMENT
Accompanying your initial Abstract should be a full statement from you of what happened. This can be done later the same day or next day AT THE POLICE STATION
Any abuse, injury or damage to property is a criminal case. It is different from a civil case (but you can also pursue a civil case in parallel – I’m not a lawyer but would appreciate guidance on this).
If you need someone to be arrested you must tell the police immediately. Kenyan law classifies any assault, injury or damage to property as violation of the penal code.
The police will arrest the offender and charge them, hold them til processed (finger prints etc), set a bail if it’s a bailable offense, is and give them a date in court usually within 2 weeks. From what I’ve been told, the Government prosecutor will take charge in criminal cases. Ie. the Victim is represented by Govt Prosecutor. The person charged gets to plead, after which there’s a mention then a hearing.
Having someone charged for domestic abuse is a process and no wonder most women drop or don’t bother to even report domestic abuse cases.
(BTW I think we have a domestic abuse law in Kenya – it’s either assault or some other crime.)
And intoxication shall not constitute a defence to any criminal charge. Women or men who charge their spouses with domestic violence are actually charging them with Assault and there’s a 5 year jail sentence for that.
Most men know that women will not go so far as reporting the case – but the truth is that once it’s reported you can drop it if you decide. If you don’t you have nothing but the possibility of further assault.
Wouldn’t it be easier to just walk away?
Forgetting about what it does to us, me, you or any victim, to our bodies, just think for a moment about what it does to our minds, our spirit and how it messes up our children, sisters, parents, friends for life to see us take the beatings.
Why you should report spouse abuse
- Having the incident on record in case it happens again in future
- You can use the case to leverage a mediated approach in exchange for dropping criminal charges which carry hefty penalties.
- Reduced probability of further abuses – Men don’t like having a record
- Doing what’s right for you and your kids/dependents family friends etc.
Disadvantages of reporting a spouse abuse case
- Dealing with the Police can be time consuming – these guys are experts in the runaround (most women drop cases which might explain why the police don’t take them seriously in the first place)
- Responsibility if the abuser goes to jail (most women are too kind to mean men)
- Ending a relationship - most people end relationships once it’s gotten so bad that police are involved. Some think it’s better to deal with problems before they become violent. You can get help and counseling (see below)
- Your case can become public – some people and especially relatives find this embarrassing and shameful
The Center for Gender Violence at Nairobi Womens Hospital in Hurlingham
Nairobi Place – for counseling and treatment of alcoholism and other substance abuse addictions
For men who are abused or who can’t get access to traditional help the SAFE website may provide options
For women, children and men – we need a site like Narika in Asia which is a volunteer run a help line that one can can call to find out what to do, get counseling, access information like where’s the closest shelter, share stories and generally get help.
You can download most Kenyan laws here
If you have any relevant resources to share leave a comment or tweet me @paulakahumbu
What do you do when a stranger walks into your house on a Saturday morning, unannounced at 8 am asking for a beer?
Our otherwise calm weekend was shattered….someone I barely recognized just strolled into my sitting room – it took me a moment to recognize him as a friends boyfriend.
It was not much after 9 am – he walked into, just like that , as if invited, and asked us for a beer.
For a moment Peter and I were stunned. We just stared at him. Peter for one had never even met the guy -a tall Indian dude.
I realized from the pong that this chap, lets call him Charlie, was quite drunk. I asked Peter to get him some Ribena and began wondering how we’d get rid of him. We don’t know him well enough to feel comfortable with him being around us on an otherwise intimate Saturday morning, but I know him enough to feel it was a bit too rude to simply say “F- OFF you aren’t invited”.
Dressed rather oddly for a Saturday morning it became clear that this was a Friday night turned Saturday morning. I made a comment that it had been a long night and he revealed that he’d been in a car accident, rolled his car 3 times and had walked over to us. Luckily he wasn’t hurt we all agreed.
I felt as if the pieces were falling into place …but what a perfect con.
The next ten minutes he’s bragging that he’s a trained rally driver, and that he’s a magnificent driver and at age 42 had never rolled a car, that he was in a state of complete shock, as if the car had somehow turned against him. The bashed car was at the garage – he said he’d sent a cheque of half a million to pay for the damages “no big deal he says” – does this retard think we are impressed with talk of cheques of half a million shillings? The only thought going through my head was “What an ass” how do I get rid of him?
“Does your girlfriend know?” I ask “I don’t know” he says, “my three phones were broken” (three phones my ass). “I’ll call her” I offer,
“No, don’t” he replies.
I go to make coffee detouring to my office to send her a text.
“Not sure if u r aware Charlie is here says he had an accident is traumatized, says I shouldn’t call u”
I turn on the kettle and Peter emerges “he says he broke Annes arm”
“He broke her arm”
“How? In the accident?
“No, says he got angry and threw something at her”
Now I’m totally confused and very very mad, no FURIOUS.
I call her – it’s true she’s at a local clinic. Shell shocked, she’s asking if he’s being a pain what can she do to get him out of our hair. I tell her I’m coming for her.
*?*! (deleted expletive) beats up his girl and comes over to my house for sympathy. What the *^$%?
I ask him to leave, he puts on that stupid British school boy attitude “I understand” and stands up and wobbles about. I leave Peter to get him completely out with instructions to lock all doors of the house.
We leave, the @^% is somewhere wondering around the garden, instructions to staff – get rid of him.
Peter and I rushed off to help Anne who is at a clinic waiting in line. She is complete shock. She tells us that he had crashed his car at about 4 am on his way to her house. He says it rolled 3 times and that the roll bar saved him and his seatbelt. She sounds thankful that he’s safe… what a poor guy traumatized and all. “The %$#@^&&%%$# has broken her arm” my head screams!
He told us that he was playing with the steering wheel when the car lost control. I can’t even bring myself to do a Duh! He told her that after the accident a crowd gathered at the scene and someone called a tow truck. He gets the crumpled vehicle towed to her house at 5.30 am. Calls her, she opens up and is sympathetic to his accident, but he drinks some more (he was already completely drunk) then gets angry accuses her for causing the accident (because she didn’t go out with him the night before – THANK GOD
She says he goes into a wild rage, starts breaking things and throwing things around including a full jar of Tahini that hit her on the elbow causing quite some considerable damage. I look at it – her elbow is totally deformed with the swelling, it’s turning blue.
The clinician refers her to a major hospital for an x-ray and we agree to take her immediately. As we were driving she gets a phone call from her house keeper. She listens silently then tells us that the *^&% has come back and has broken all the windows.
The she breaks down into a pool of tears. We stop the car and I advise her to go straight to the police.
She agrees and we ask the police to arrest him – we know he’s still around, very drunk and is on foot somewhere. He’s easy to spot. Two police officers move off on foot to “catch him” …can’t be tough, tall skinny Asian guy in an totally African neighbourhood.
They keep calling saying they can’t find him and keep asking for descriptions – this is silly, we know he’s around – there’s only one road – he’s on it somewhere. A lady drives up to the police station – she tells us she gave a tall Asian a lift to a bar across the way, and that immediately after she dropped him two police ask her for a lift – they tell her that they are looking for a tall Asian. She said she took them to the bar – at the entrance someone said the Asian got on a boda boda motorbike and left. They head off in the direction the boda boda went in.
We leave the police station furious that he has escaped but as we drive past the bar I look over only to see the ASS sitting at the very bar– he can see us. *&%^&^%$#$#$!
We go straight to the two foot patrol men and point them at the guy – they arrest him. We proceed to hospital. It’s now lunch time.
By 5 we’re done with X-rays and are driving back home. She’s agreed to stay with us – her house is a mess anyway. At 6 the police want to know what to do with the fellow. Follow your procedures we say – he’s beaten her up and destroyed property. Put him in.
They say they are going to lock him in at the main station. Good.
By 8 pm and we’re at her house evaluating the damage and getting a night bag. Broken bed, broken bulbs, broken lights and a broken door. White gloss paint poured over the newly finished house. She’s in tears again. The place is a mess.
His parents call and beg Anne not to press charges, to get him out of the cell. They admit he’s done wrong but he’ll be molested, attacked, injured even killed in the cell. She’s torn.
We ask her what she wants to do - it’s clear. She’s a wreck, her arm is blue and three times the diameter but she doesn’t want him raped or hurt in a cell. She says he’s remorseful (My *&^%!) I know she’ll never forgive herself, and he’ll never let her forgive herself if he has to sleep in a cell.
So we have to head back to the police station – the Officer in charge is not available. The Duty Officer does not have authority to let someone out. Well we tried, its good enough for me, let him rot in the cell.
But no, someone suggests we ask the Officer in charge of the Division – the guy is in and wants to see us. What happened next could easily be made in a movie. Kenyan policemen are thugs.
I know that spouse abuse is common in Kenya but that does not make the victims pains any less. The police responsible are doing their jobs but they could hold back the laughter and fun they are getting out of this particular situation. They speak in Swahili and poke fun knowing Anne does not understand – but their expressions reveal the fun they are making. They say they don’t understand, the guy has injured her, destroyed her property and why? Because he rolled his car and was frustrated.
“But what did YOU do to make him hit you” the OCPD asks.
She is being asked to admit that she is the reason he got mad, that she triggered something, that it’s all her fault. If its not her fault the officer says then he could come back and hurt you again tonight.
“If it’s just frustration and drink ” he reasons “Why didn’t he go home and wreck his own house – why drive across town at 5 am to break your houses?” the police man asks
It’s a Good *&^* ing question.
Part of me wants to yell at the stupid cop but what good would that do in this situation – we are all his victims now. I feel like a prey stuck in a spiders web. The spider torturing each one of us in turn. It’s taking forever, we have no idea where his line of questioning is going.
But after an hour of the police logic I knew what I’d do, let the *&$# rot in the cell for the night. He could deal with his plight tomorrow – and his damn parents who claim to love him should come rescue him. Asking his victim to rescue him is obscene and totally retarded.
But I also knew that Anne wouldn’t sleep tonight if he was in a cell. She’d worry and feel extreme guilt. She’d probably punish herself somehow. The police man notices that she has mercy, he can see that she worries about him and asks why. He asks “Why didn’t he worry about you when he started attacking her and destroying her new home?”.
She knows the answer, but logic seems to be on vacation.
They bring the &^%$ out of the cell and haul him in front of us. His attitude alone made me want to instruct the police officer to throw him in with the worst offenders for the entire weekend.
Normally a strong, beautiful, lovely, loving, happy and elegant woman is reduced to a quivering puddle of tears. She can’t escape.
But Charlie, seems to me to be enjoying this scene. I should point out that Peter didn’t agree with this evaluation and thought the guy was remorseful. It looked to me like he has a smirk on his face, like he was actually smiling, enjoying the pain he’s brought to her, the annoyance to us and the police station. I felt like I’d seen this all before – many times, so many people. He is feeling loved that someone cares enough to make such an issue out of him, and with his status, family, connections and money he could get himself out of any situation. What a ^*&&%$!!!
We get back into the car to leave and I try to talk to her about it, I just don’t get it. The guy is a complete and utter &*&$#. She says she knows he’s controlling, dangerous even, he drinks too much (sorry but that’s not an excuse). She tells me she worries that he’ll come and wreck my house if she stays with me. I tell her he cannot. I remind her he hasn’t wrecked anyones house but hers, he hasn’t hurt anyone else but her. He does it because she lets him.
I give her time for that to sink in – he does it because she lets him.
She can’t see it. She says he’s sorry and remorseful – “yeah” I think “just like Kagwai who says he’s sorry for gauging out his wifes eyes”. She was blinded for life. He did seven years for, Anne can’t even imagine this *^$# doing one night in a cell!
Logic is truly on vacation.
She, ’s a puddle of tears and I feel angry – double angry. Angry because she isn’t angry at the injustice, angry that she’s letting this *%&$ manipulate her. Angry that she’s making excuses for him. Angry that she can’t see – no matter what, she can’t see what I do. Actually I’m mostly angry because this is all too common in Kenya.
I tell her my own bitter spouse abuse story. Walking out was tough but it was a walk to freedom. And, I’ve never looked back. Everytime I see him with his wife I feel so grateful it’s not me. I escaped a horrible fate!
I decided that being alone, lonely, unloved and all that came with it was far far better than in an abusive relationship.
I’m also angry because after all that, we bailed the *&^# out. After putting him in, we bailed him out. Retards. It cost us Khs 10,000/- and an entire day of my life. He doesn’t deserve it. He probably won’t show up for court either.
She left this morning. I know she’s gone to clean up the broken glass, to remove the paint, fix the windows, anything to avoid dealing with what she needs to do to save herself.
I know I have no right but I asked her anyway, if she could imagine writing him off completely, never seeing him again.
She said she could not.
It’s a day later and I feel certain that am worried that she will drop the charges, continue seeing him in a fatal attempt to mend his broken being. He isn’t like this every day… he’s a troubled man, a spoilt boy with no boundaries…. she is convinced that he needs her. He’ll apologise, cry genuine tears, even see a counselor and shower her with gifts, take her to great places. He’ll probably even propose to her.
But he’s still the same &*(*^ . I dread what he’ll do to her next time. She knows that we will be there to pick up the pieces, …she’s too nice to do anything that will hurt him. It’s as if she’s trapped – she just can’t let go of him. He has infected her.
But maybe she can escape, she can if he lets go….
I’m not hoping, but just saying….maybe the roll cage won’t hold next time.
Charlie and Anne are real people but these are not their real names. Over a 12 hour period I discovered what it takes to effect an arrest in Kenya for spouse abuse – its not easy and you need stoic friends to help you through. Spouse abuse happens every day but most cases never get reported because it’s a fucking drama at the police station and male policemen tend to ‘understand’ male urges. They encourage victims to ‘make up’ and withdraw cases. Victims of spouse abuse need to be strong. Know your rights, make a statement, get the P3 form, take photos of the damage and injuries, and put the &*^$#ers away for a long long time. Oh, and turn off your phone so that his parents can’t reach you. The incident happened yesterday and as you can probably tell, I’m still fuming. And, I know that men are also abused – either way it’s wrong. Get out of toxic relationships fast.
- carbon emissions
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- green house gases
- spouse abuse
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