, NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 29 – A Kenyan Non Governmental Organisation seeking to protect women married to police officers against gender violence on Wednesday asked those affected to speak out and seek for help.
Founder of Women of Police Against Domestic Violence (WOPADOVI) Caroline Gikunda told Capital News that there is rampant domestic violence among women who have relationships with policemen.
“There is a lot of brutality from the Kenyan police, I think from their training to their nature of job. Women married to them have no place. It is so hard for them to speak about it,” she explained.
Ms Gikunda who has lived in police compounds said she has witnessed many cases of women suffering in the hands of their boyfriends and husbands yet they cannot report because their men turn back in revenge.
She also said it is difficult for the women to report domestic violence to the same police to investigate or take action against their colleagues.
“One time, my neighbour’s husband who is a policeman came home very drunk, he was armed with a gun, he slapped his wife and became very violent, the women ran to report him to the police headquarters, but imagine she never got any help, the police did not even try to disarm the man,” she recalled.
Ms Gikunda said it was heartbreaking to see so many women suffer in silence in the hands of people who the entire country looks up to for protection.
She said it was very hard for them also to get help because very few people would dare intervene where guns and policemen are involved.
The activist said women in affairs with police officers go through emotional, physical and financial violence yet nothing much has been done to address their plight.
She said it was hard for such women to make a living on their own since they have to keep moving from place to place with their husbands if they are to save their marriages.
In cases where women decide to stick in one area, Ms Gikunda says there were high possibilities of extra marital affairs and breakages of families.
She urged the government to be considerate when transferring married police officers to ensure they don’t break families.
She also asked the government to provide proper housing for those with families saying some police officers are stressed due to the poor living standards given to them and their families.
Ms Gikunda said through WOPADOVI, many women will be able to come out and face their problems.
She said the main goal of WOPADOVI is to encourage them to make a living and reduce the over dependency they have on their police husbands hence making them vulnerable to domestic violence.