Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Kenyan hacked off wife's hands over his infertility
Domestic violence is a troubling issue in Kenya, and Jackline Mwende has recently become the very public face of it. The 27-year-old from Machakos, a village not far from Nairobi, says that her husband came at her in a rage with a machete and not only slashed her head and face, but also cut off her hands — all because their seven years together hadn't resulted in any children. Mwende says that her marriage to Stephen Ngila, who's said to be either 34 or 35, started out well but soon soured after they were unable to conceive. Those ill feelings only worsened when the couple visited a fertility clinic in 2014 and discovered that the reproductive problem rested with Ngila, not Mwende. It's then, Mwende says, that Ngila started drinking to excess and physically abusing her, yet local clergy encouraged her to "persevere" and stick by her husband. Ngila, arrested the day after the attack and in police custody until his trial on attempted murder charges, "threatened to shut [Mwende's] mouth for good" right before attacking her, her father said. Kenyan women in physically or sexually abusive relationships — 45% of those between the ages of 15 and 49, per Nairobi's Gender Violence Recovery Center — are often victims of impoverished lifestyles and an extreme traditional culture where everyone looks the other way if men get physical with their wives. Despite her ordeal, which has also left her deaf in one ear, Mwende is glad to be alive. "He thought he had killed me, but God is great," she said.