Extreme cases of violence

My television signal has gone off. I don’t know why that bothers me. That television has been hurling bad news at me throughout January.  That month was overshadowed by what to me seems to be extreme acts of violence against women.Really, violence is violence, and whether we classify it as extreme or not, there it is, and there is someone at the receiving end, and there are the rest of us, sitting on our couches, letting the news anchor throw it our way and counting ourselves lucky, when in reality, something has changed within us because of what we’ve just seen.

There was the story of Lilian Awori, from Busia County, a beautiful, jolly woman who sounds so likeable on camera, living with a disability.  Since December, she’d been crawling to get to wherever she needed, her husband had taken the wheels off her wheelchair for his bicycle. KTN helped her get a new wheelchair from APDK, when they aired her story. No, the husband was not told to return the wheels he took. In my mind, I see him riding in to the homestead on his Black Mamba, finding the new wheelchair and changing the wheels so he gets a newer pair.  Weirder still, if he’d asked her to go back to him, she’d have said yes.

Apparently in this county, over 500 cases of violence against women are pending at the paralegal desk of one local NGO this year.  I lost a few grams of grey matter trying to do the maths;  if 500 cases were reported by mid-January, to only one organization, and there are 12 months in a year, and 47 counties in the country…. I can’t even.

But I guess I must, the newsmen and women won’t leave me in ignorant bliss.

Wajir County – a man viciously attacks his wife, when he is done with her, she has to be airlifted to Kenyatta National Hospital with a knife lodged in her jaw. She is lucky, to walk out alive. The man denies it. The relatives say they had family issues; they never never thought it was that serious. So there we are – another charitable act, woman lives to fight another day (I hope not), and man runs away from his truth (he’s denying his guilt in jail for now).

I get disturbed watching the news. I wish I could shut it all off. I cannot. I’m just on the couch. But boy do I get disturbed. Like when a mother burns her young girl’s genitals because she refused to undergo FGM. A mother. Burns. Her 13-year old daughter. Mother on the lam. Girl in hospital. Charible acts. I remember this girl from Kuria who told me her story… her mother helped her evade the FGMers, she didn’t burn her. What chance does a 13-year old have if the mother is not on her side?

And the world keeps spinning on its axis for some of us. The news is hurled from the television set – perfect ladies and gentlemen telling us of our imperfect world.

February is here, advertisements for lavish Valentine’s day dates are already hitting the papers. My television signal is off, I guess I’ll have to fix it. I should probably send a request to the news anchors to please, please make it a little more about love and a little less about the hate this month. But that would be burying my head in the sand, wouldn’t it? If we’re a hateful, violent people, what can one day in February do for us?


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