NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 8 – Whereas Gender Based Violence has been a major concern in the country, the attack on a 32 year-old woman in Northern Kenya still came as a shocker to anyone who saw a photo showing a long knife lodged in her cheek.
But listening to leaders from Wajir County on Friday, the case of Fatuma Ibrahim is not isolated.
Attacks by men on their wives occur daily but the community seems to have accepted it as a way of life.
Fatuma was lucky to survive and got airlifted to Nairobi for emergency treatment.
But dozens of other women are not as lucky. Some die in silence while others live with life-time injuries inflicted on them by their husbands.
It is a story that the leaders in the area are not shy to talk about.
The wife of the Wajir Governor, Rukia Abdinassir, and Fatuma Ibrahim Ali who is a Member of Parliament in Wajir County complained that gender based violence against women in their area was high.
“This lady (Fatuma) is fortunate because her case has been reported. There are thousands and thousands of cases that are not reported,” the MP complained.
Hiding behind culture to commit serious crimes, they said, should not be allowed to continue as has been the case.
“I think because of our culture community, these things happen but we always put them under the carpet.”
It is always settled through the Maslah (through the elders),” Abdinassir said.
The two urged law enforcers to ensure that the man who attacked Fatuma is not spared as she alleged that the suspect was already pretending to be mentally ill.
The MP also alleged that attempts had been made to cover up the attack on Fatuma.
But because the situation was delicate and news had spread beyond North Eastern, there were no means of covering it up.
Fatuma’s suffering and her survival by sheer luck also brought into focus the controversial headache of providing quality services across Kenya’s 47 counties.
According to Fatuma (MP), Wajir District Hospital is a Level 4 health centre which does not have sufficient equipment and expertise to handle sensitive cases such as Fatuma’s.
Fatuma was attacked at around 2am but 14 hours later she still had the knife lodged in her face.