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Dealing with Kenyan Police and spouse abuse – we are hopeless


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”

“WHAT? “

“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.

Post note:

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.

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November 22, 2009 - Posted by | Crime, Donkey | , , , , , , , ,

14 Comments »

  1. Do they have shelters in Kenya where battered women can go for help and counseling?
    May I humbly suggest, please, that you try to refrain from using the “F” word so much?

    Comment by JimMassUSA | November 22, 2009 | Reply

  2. Enough said. You dont need to say more

    Comment by Penzifinder | November 22, 2009 | Reply

  3. I had this guy in my house too, on his way to yours……

    Th truth is that he is bipolar & madness & booze just do not mix…..a truly horrific story, but all too familiar for those of us with bipolar partners -I’ve got one too!

    Comment by will | November 23, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks Will. I’m mot an expert but I’m also not sure this is really a case of bi-polar. Lucy Kibaki has bipolar – you can tell – she lashes out at anyone and everyone. This dude is focused on one target. Calling it bi-polar in this case sounds like a convenient excuse. Sorry if I sound callouse but I feel as if this guy is a carbon copy of someone I know quite well so maybe I’m projecting.

      Comment by paulakahumbu | November 24, 2009 | Reply

  4. For those of you who have problems with the “f-word” then stop reading it, or replace it with something more appealing – how about “bugger” – I mean really? Your comment is offensive . . .to post that on a piece with so much emotion shows that you clearly have no understanding for the pain or experience of abuse by a spouse or loved one – and are only interested in your maintaining a reading comfort level of what, a second grader – people get angry, they curse, we all do it . . and when its regarding something of this nature, then how can you try to censure. . .as someone who hs been through abuse by a loved one, and who it took four years to get out of an abusive situation (emotionally and financially abusive in my case) I think P you need to just be supportive of “anne” it may take her four or ten years to figure out the mess she is in . . but then, if you are still around, she will need your support desparately . . .

    Comment by Amber | November 23, 2009 | Reply

    • HI Amber, thanks for ur comment and apologies for the swearing – I removed all the expletives and leave it to the readers imagination. I’m angry because logic is on vacation for people who accept being abused. I know it takes time for individuals to get out of such situations, but at the same time imagine the brain wastage of so many women in Africa in this situation. It’s gold going down the drain!! It pains my heart…but we need to find a way to stop this. I think we need to start with the abusers, look at what makes them such – their background, up bringing education etc and start with that.

      Comment by paulakahumbu | November 24, 2009 | Reply

  5. First I thought this was fiction and so totally bizare I was almost laughing. Then I started to get angry and was hoping you would name this ‘animal’. Yes she Anne needs more than friends can provide, she needs real counselling. He will find another Anne and frankly deserves all the ‘F’ words out there including F’ing Failure!!
    Paula I know you’re torn as in your efforst to help Anne you played and paid your hard earned money against your better judgement. That can’t be easy. Would we all have done the same thing? Probably. Sadly alcoholics have a way of involving innocent bystanders in their chaotic stupor. (sp)’Drink responsibly’ go the alcohol adverts…..assuming that all those who read it are sober……….and what about 2 pints later?……….alcohol is made by a bunch of two faced idiots too…………You’re a good friend to have, Anne needs serious support, tell her to call Nairobi House I’m sure they can help.

    Where were the Kitengela hyeanas???????

    Comment by su | November 23, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi Su, hyenas must have been on vacation too! Not sure alcohol is the problem – feels like it’s just the lubricant in this case… Failure – Yes that could be a catalyst. There are so many amazing women in Kenya who are on their knees because of bad men. Nairobi house and counseling of any sort only works if the patient knows and admits that he/she has a problem.

      Comment by paulakahumbu | November 24, 2009 | Reply

  6. My goodness… She needs to open her eyes! The guy is clearly an arse. Who watches a spouse suffer? Its so saddistic of him to put her life at risk, to shatter her home and shame her infront of her friends!! Really? Last time i checked, people who love and care about each other don’t do that. And you as a friend dr, need to make her see that. Even if its not your business she’s still your friend…

    Comment by cuppatea | November 24, 2009 | Reply

  7. […] senses and ugly as it was I  have never looked back. It was the most natural thing in the world to share that strength with Anne when I found out she was also a victim of domestic violence, I could …. She is grateful now, but she wont  be able to appreciate it for years to come if at all. She […]

    Pingback by My committments to ending violence agains women « Wild About Africa | November 24, 2009 | Reply

  8. Amber .. Paula is a friend and I am sure she understood the reason for my comment. This is a “public” forum.
    I have been in the middle of a few of these and there is little to say beyond the obvious … get away … get out … break the cycle!
    I’ve driven someone to a shelter and stayed till they seemed comfortable and assured just to have them go back and get bashed worse! On my third try, she finally had had enough and, once out of intensive care, she finally moved on.
    So, cut me a little slack too!

    Comment by JimMassUSA | November 24, 2009 | Reply

  9. Jim, just shove your comment back into the orifice whence it came. Slack you deserve not.
    As to Paula’s comment, they are exasperating through their realism, which is too much for you too handle. I have a wee bit of professional acquaintance with the situation, so I can assert that Anne’s dysfunctional behaviour is fully typical indeed. I even have a bit of understanding for police; they encounter ever and ever again – in any state and any culture – the same phenomenon of victims trying to protect the perpetrator in such abuse situation, withdrawig charges, asking that the aggressor be released etc. Many police officer – ESPECIALLY the more idealistically minded – grow cynical about this. I cannot fully blame them for growing a pachyderm hide them. Sadly.

    Comment by Osas | November 26, 2009 | Reply

    • You are right, we cant generalize about this stuff – every situation is unique. It’s just sad how common it is when it seems so obvious how to avoid or deal with it. I guess that is what makes us Humans..

      Comment by paulakahumbu | November 27, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for your oh so rude and thoughtless retort … shame!
      Read all of what is written before drawing a shortsighted conclusion!

      Comment by JimMassUSA | November 27, 2009 | Reply


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