Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hitting Her, Again...And Again

Over the weekend, a story developed in which a television journalist, Wambui Kabiru, was found murdered in her home. It is widely suspected that it is her husband who killed her and now he has gone missing and the police are looking for him (by the time I am writing this). I know a lot has been written and said about domestic violence, and gruesome pictures have been posted to warn or shock women into getting out of abusive relationship so I will not say much about it. Neither will I condemn her husband as I, like many other people, don't really know what went behind closed doors so everything is speculation for now. However what I ask myself is what drives men to hit their spouses?

I have heard bar talk of men boasting that you must hit your wife/girlfriend occassionaly just to establish who is the "man" in the relationship. I have heard stories of women who believe that being hit by their man is a show of affection. But as a man, when you are all alone with your private thoughts, how do you feel knowing that you repeatedly hit your spouse? Even if it is only once?

Some years back, I was involved in organizing an art/performance event in which my wife belonged to a team that was due to perform. She was extremely late and the order of events kept changing because of their no show. When she finally showed up, I met her at the entrance, and she correctly judged that I was livid with her. I stretched out my hand to grab her, my intention being to quickly usher her inside so that they could get going. She cringed backwards, thinking that I was going to lash at her. I was so scandalized that such a thought even crossed her mind, given that I have never hit her.

I tell friends, if someone hits you once, they will most likely do it again. For me, meting out violence on your spouse is the lowest level a man can get to. It is actually lower than the lowest level!


(image from )

"There is a subconscious way of taking violence as a way of expression, as a normality, and it has a lot of effects in the youth in the way they absorb education and what they hope to get out of life."
– Salma Hayek

"Long term domestic violence: Being abused in this manner is like being kidnapped and tortured for ransom but you will never have enough to pay off the kidnapper".
Rebecca J. Burns ...TheLastStraw - support in the aftermath and during abuse

“If the numbers we see in domestic violence were applied to terrorism or gang violence, the entire country (US) would be up in arms, and it would be the lead story on the news every night.”
– Rep. Mark Green


  1. It's very sad to think that so many people are abused in the home.

  2. I hear you when you say that OtienoHongo. Any form of physical violence is not quite accetable. Even in our culture, women (read rural) think that when a man hits, it is because he has the right of possession and affection. I find that completely insane.

    Nice quotes (on the T shirt as well).

    Hope you are having a good day :)

    Joy always,

  3. Domestic abuse is a huge problem world-wide - this is a very good post!

  4. I read about Wambui Kabiru. I don't want to speculate on the circumstances either but before a situation escalates to murder by strangling there must be some signs surely? But then again maybe not.

    Hongo you forgot to ask what drives women to hit their spouses? True the problem is predominantly men hitting women but there are still a few jamaas out there cowering under Maendeleo ya Wanaume's wings.

  5. Very sad to know this has happened. Very sad indeed. I share your thoughts on domestic violence.

  6. Susan, you might be surprised to hear that here, this attitude is shared even by some well educated professional urban women!!

    @Shiko, what drives a woman to hit her man?

  7. This story broke my heart in so many ways! The child left, the story behind the killing... All of it! Domestic violence or not, one life gone that shouldn't have. As for the issues surrounding domestic violence, whether it is against a man or a woman, it has been said enough. By you and others. If only we treated each other like humans...

  8. is it man's inferior ego that makes him hit a woman...or he might tend to take out his anger at someone inferior to him brcause he cant do the same to his superior..the inferior being his wife, children..

  9. Hongo I have no idea actually. Maybe some misguided sense of extreme Beijing.

    I can't even hit a child, let alone a man. My man.

  10. Otieno - A post decrying violence against women is always welcome from a man. It's difficult to believe just how low we can go with another human being :(

  11. I hope they find Wambui's killer and bring him/her to justice.

    You're right, if someone hits you once, they will hit you again. The warning signs are there somewhere.

  12. @Jon, that's what I have always though of as well. People with an inferiority complex are the ones that tend to hit those they think are weaker than themselves!

    @Carolkmail - I hope people will continue saying it until the cows come home, or rather until the message gets home!

    @Shiko - I think Jon's comments above holds part of the answer!

    @Corrine - I believe it is men who need to take the lead in the fight against violence on women...I would not want anyone hitting my daughter

    @Savvy- Thanks for stopping by. Let's hope she gets justice, something that is quite rare in this country

  13. It breaks my heart when I hear of people who stay in abusive relationships for whatever reasons, maybe hoping the abusive partner will change. They almost never do. So sad.

  14. i agree with you on one thing, hitting a woman is the lowest a man can stoop, lower even than the level inhabited by dogs

  15. We should also advocate against emotional abuse on men.

  16. God bless you Otieno, Jon & Pitzevans. It really means alot when men come out and make a stand against violence on women & Children...and Jon, you've summarized it nicely.

  17. I agree with this post. However in all the comments there is something missing, something that you may not want to discuss. This problem is not a man or woman problem. It begins at childhood. I was brought up in a home where Ma and Pa went out, came back drunk and beat the living daylights out of each other. Every weekend. We learnt to hide knives and other instruments before they got back home. The cops knew us. The spectre of seeing parents dragging each other in the dust and being separated by other wananchi is something a kid can never forget: Enter your next abuser....

    Thanks, stay well.

  18. Woolie, you are absolutely right. A lot of this behavior is actually learned from parents and adults around us. I understand that those coming from backgrounds where there is abuse are most likely to be abusers themselves. It is then upto us to break that cycle.

  19. @Angani, I am yet to see someone who is used to beating up their spouse stop. That's is why my advise to those being abused is always get out

    @Pitzevans, I agree

    @Odengle the issue of emotional abuse, by either sex, is not often discussed. Maybe you should write something about it?

  20. Physical abuse makes me cringe! I have reason to believe it is a coward man trying to prove his worth. Pathetic!

  21. Tulip, yap! Thanks for stopping by