Human rights crusaders and community-based organizations (CB0) have been called upon to chip in and assist women from poor background facing gender-based violence.
A nominated civic leader in Mombasa County government Ms. Fatma Kushe says there is increasing evidence that the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19 is fueling widespread violations of women’s rights, including elevated risks of domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV).
Ms. Kushe was addressing journalists at her home in Nyali Sub County after rescuing a homeless young mother who was abused by her husband, thrown out of their matrimonial home and has spent the last five days outside in the cold with her children including a 3-months-old baby.
“I saw her outside the gate for two consecutive days. On the third day, I approached her and asked her what her problem was and she told me her horror story,” said Kushe, who took her in.
Fatuma is of the opinion that the increase in GBV cases has been accompanied by a decrease in the capacity of the justice sector to respond to the rights and needs of survivors.
Lucy Auma, 30 years old, with three kids, now homeless says her life seemed to be a journey of going to hell and coming back on foot thanks to Ms. Fatma Kushe who rescued her from the jaws of misery.
Ms. Auma says she has endured an abusive ‘marriage’ in Kidogo Basi slums in Nyali for 12 years but she could not take it anymore from her husband Boniface Onyango who is a chang’aa distiller and drinker.
Lucy says what broke the camel’s back and made her run away from her matrimonial house was when her violent husband battered her until she lost one tooth and was when her husband strangled her together with her toddler baby girl.
“I am the one who has been fending for food, medication and rent while doing menial jobs. My husband just drinks all his money with other women around bars. He does not provide for us,” said Auma.
When Ms. Kushe took Lucy in, she catered for her medical bills where she was treated at Coast general hospital and given a P3 medical examination report and later proceeded to report the assault case at Nyali police station but the culprit was yet to be arrested.
The MCA who is attributing gender-based violence increase in Mombasa to the stress that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to families says the burden of taking care of Ms. Auma is heavy and is now calling on well-wishers to come to the rescue of the homeless mother by proving, food shelter and financial assistance.
By Joseph Kamolo