Here’s how to identify a violent partner

GBV victim.

Photo credit: Photo | Pool

What you need to know:

  • Like women, men also need to recognise what domestic violence looks like, and know that they don’t need to be ‘tough’ and accept abuse.
  • In a statement to mark 16 Days of Activism UNFPA executive director Natalia Kanem said: 'Stopping the spread of violence facilitated by technology has become an urgent priority.'

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence presents a time to reflect on the circumstances under which men and women are killed, and spotlight prevention measures.

This article highlights how some men and women lost their lives at the hands of their intimate partners—lives that would be saved if the country committed to ending GBV.

In September, a woman in Kipsongo, Nzoia County, was arrested by police for allegedly stabbing her husband to death for picking a quarrel with her over food.

In the same month, police in Tharaka Nithi reported the death of another woman by suicide in Kamacuku village. The woman is reported to have killed her architect husband over domestic woes before hanging herself.

In October, police in Siaya arrested a man who allegedly killed his wife over suspected infidelity.

In Nakuru County, another man in Maai Mahiu ended up in a hospital to receive treatment for self-inflicted stab wounds suffered from attempted suicide.

The man had earlier killed his estranged wife for refusing to take him back, the police reported. In Kenya, men’s GBV lifetime prevalence stands at 20.9 per cent, according to data from the National Crime Research Centre.

The agency’s 2014 study that looked at the SGBV exposure in the preceding 12 months found men’s prevalence to be higher at 48.6 per cent.

Forms of violence

This is how you can identify a violent partner. Like women, men also need to recognise what domestic violence looks like, and know that they don’t need to be ‘tough’ and accept abuse.

Physical: Hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, burning, strangulation, damaging personal property, refusing medical care and/or controlling medication, coercing partner into substance abuse and use of weapons.

Psychological: Name calling, insulting, blaming the partner for everything, extreme jealousy, intimidation, shaming, humiliating, isolation, controlling what the partner does and where the partner goes and stalking.

Sexual: Forcing a partner to have sex with other people, pursuing sexual activity when the victim is not fully conscious or is afraid to say no, hurting partner physically during sex, coercing partner to have sex without protection and sabotaging birth control.

Technological: Hacking into a partner’s e-mail and personal accounts, using tracking devices in a partner’s cell phone to monitor their location, phone calls and messages, monitoring interactions via social media and demanding to know their partner’s passwords.

Economic: Inflicting physical harm or injury that would prevent the person from attending work, harassing partner at their workplace, controlling financial assets and effectively putting partner on an allowance and damaging a partner’s credit score.

Technological: Social media has become a space for perpetuating GBV. Women journalists and lawmakers, for instance, are targets for sexist and misogynistic remarks,  humiliating images, threats and intimidation.

A 2015 report by the Internet Governance Forum, a forum on online abuse and GBV, lists infringement of privacy,surveillance and monitoring and damaging one’s reputation as actions that constitute OGBV.

In a statement to mark 16 Days of Activism UNFPA executive director Natalia Kanem said: “Stopping the spread of violence facilitated by technology has become an urgent priority.”

Additional information from the University of South Africa’s website

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