, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – At least 460,000 men are battered in Central Kenya and Nairobi every year, according to statistics by the Maendeleo ya Wanaume Organisation.
The organisation’s founder Nderitu Njoka said on Tuesday that this was an increase of 160,000 from previous figures recorded in 2009.
“The Issue of men being battered started long ago… only that they have been silent when facing abuse because of fear of ridicule,” Njoka said in an interview with Capital News.
He said the men suffer physical and emotional abuse.
“This is an issue of supremacy and women wanting to dominate and take advantage of men,” he said.
He blamed the government for taking too much interest in women at the expense of men through various initiatives like the Women’s Fund.
“When the government came in and divided the family into categories of men, women and children, this brought up a big problem when it comes to the cordial relationship in the family,” Njoka said.
“Let us not fight a losing battle when we re-group women alone and start empowering them alone leaving men aside. Let us bring the society and family together and that is the only way we will have a solution to stop gender violence,” he stated.
He opposed the view that men are battered because of failing to provide and drinking too much alcohol, saying their survey revealed that only 25 percent of men are irresponsible.
“They are not facing abuse because they drink excessively but because of supremacy battles,” he said.
“We are talking of a very small percentage of men who are not providing and they are not supposed to be beaten because that is not the solution. If battering can be a solution, I am sure that women will be in trouble,” he added.
However Maendeleo ya Wanawake chairperson Rukia Subow maintained that men should be responsible if they wanted their children and wives to respect them.
“I am not advocating women to batter men but what I am saying is that sometimes you are pushed to take action and show this man that it is wrong. We are against violence against any gender but sometimes you are pushed to the wall,” Subow told Capital News.
She however expressed reservations on the figure given by the Maendeleo Ya Wanaume Organisation of men being battered.
“He needs to prove it that this number of men is battered,” she said.
She however said that gender violence against women had gone up by three percent as of last year
“It is two sides of a coin… it happens every now and then but the issue is that some women don’t report this violence against them,” she said.
Elsewhere, Prime Minister Raila Odinga has urged men to stop drug and alcohol abuse and become more responsible for their families
Odinga who spoke in Kibera during the commissioning of the Mchanganyiko social centre for a women’s group in Kibera said that the increase in cases of husband battery was as a result of alcohol and drug abuse.
“We have seen men being beaten in some parts of the country, but most of them are not sober and are abdicating family responsibilities. As a government we do not want to see abuse of alcohol and the use of drugs,” said the PM.
He assured women that he was committed to making a platform for them to live in dignity.
The premier said that he would seek partnerships with friendly nations to ensure that focus was sustained in addressing women issues like access to education, health, jobs credit and participation in politics.
“When we enable our women and girls to live indignity we bring dignity and strength to our families and nations. When women are healthy their families will stay healthy and become educated,” he said.