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The purpose of this project was to study the experiences of women victimized by domestic violence in Kenya and understand their encounters in the abusive relationships. The aim is to acquire knowledge on the prevalence and the pre-disposing factors of domestic violence in order to help in the planning and implementation of mitigation programs. This study was conducted through Ujamii society, an organization that offers a help line for women victimized by domestic violence.
The study was qualitative and data collection method was open-ended questionnaires whereby the informants expressed themselves unlimited. Data analysis was made by deductive content analysis method.
The study found out that culture, alcohol abuse and economic factors were the major causes of domestic abuse against women. Most of the women gave positive feedback how Ujamii society has helped them find alternative ways in dealing with their domestic violence experiences.
In a survey conducted in 2010 by a district education office in Kenya obtained information on the incidence of domestic violence in Kenya. The survey indicated that violence against women is widespread and occurs among all social economic groups. There is however lack of information on accurate estimates of domestic violence against women due to largely unreported cases. In America, a national survey conducted among 6000 families concluded that a significant number of men assaulted their spouses. (FIDA Kenya 2010)
Domestic violence has been a long-standing problem in Kenya, particularly in rural areas. A study conducted in 2003 explored the factors associated with physical and sexual abuse, on a sample of 4,876 married women aged 15-49 years in the Kenya demographic survey. The results indicated that almost half of the married women interviewed reported at least one type of violence 36% was physical and 13 % were sexual. (FIDA Kenya 2009)
Various factors contribute to high occurrence of domestic violence against women. This includes economic factors that render women sorely dependent on their husband. Economic dependency diminishes a woman’s ability to have a say in a relationship or take action in the occurrence of domestic abuse. Cultural factors also contribute to the marginalization of women making it more acceptable for domestic violence to exist in the society. Lack of effective government initiatives discourages women from seeking protection. Social acceptances of domestic violence against women and deeply engrained cultural beliefs on the inferiority of women as well as gender roles have encouraged the practice. (Cooper et al. 2005, 120.)
Ujamii Society in Kenya is a Non-government organization organized by women for women. The purpose for the organization is to create a helpline for women who have been abused and suffered from advanced effect of domestic violence. The organization offers legal representatives to the buttered women as well as psychological and physical therapy.
2. THE UJAMII SOCIETY
This study was conducted through Ujamii society, a program that works directly with the domestic violent victimized women. Ujamii Society is a Non-government organization that was established with the purpose of creating a helpline for women who have been abused and suffered from advanced effect of domestic violence. The organization offers legal representatives to the buttered women as well as psychological and physical therapy.
Ujamii society is financed by the central government through CDF (constituency development fund). Constituency development fund was introduced by the central government to fund local municipalities with the purpose of enabling the local government’s finance their individual needs. Due to high prevalence in domestic violence, Nairobi municipality felt the need to create a sanctuary for women who experienced domestic violence. Ujamii society co-operates with the police, district attorneys and family counseling centers and other organizations that advocate for women.(Ujamii society 2010)
Ujamii society prevents violation against women by their male spouses by offering an alternative and empowering the women. The goal is to help the women from abuse through refuge, counseling, collecting information and experiences about the abuse and legal representation. The project also aims at developing services that teach self-economic dependency for the women. The purpose of the Ujamii society is to increase the security of all the family members and to direct them to places where they can get help through counseling. The goal is to stop the violence and to help the women to change their attitudes so that they can live in equal relationships. (Ujamii Society Kenya)
The activities in Ujamii society work process include phone services where battered women voluntarily contact the organization for help. After the first phone contact, they arrange an individual meeting with the client where the process starts, depending on the client’s situation and the help needed, the client is referred to self-help groups within the organization where the women share and exchange experiences and how to stop the abuse.