Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Study ties jigger menace to battery

PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI Ahadi Kenya boss Stanley Kamau (left) and an official, Mr Joseph Mathai, present a power saw to Mr Simon Kiguta, a domestic violence victim in Nyeri. A study by the group revealed that battered men risked jigger infestation.

PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI Ahadi Kenya boss Stanley Kamau (left) and an official, Mr Joseph Mathai, present a power saw to Mr Simon Kiguta, a domestic violence victim in Nyeri. A study by the group revealed that battered men risked jigger infestation.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By NELIMA MURUMBA mstellarnelly@yahoo.com

In the recent past, violence against men has been on the rise as witnessed in various parts of the country.

Nyeri, one of the counties in central Kenya, has become the epicentre of a troubling social phenomenon: male battering.

A recent survey in Central and Nairobi regions by the male advocacy group, Maendeleo ya Wanaume, found 460,000 cases of domestic violence against men, up from 160,000 cases in 2009.

An anti-jigger lobby group also said battered men were at a higher risk of losing focus in their lives as well as jigger infestations.

Ahadi Kenya Trust chief executive Stanley Kamau said over the weekend that single men, whose wives had left, and battered men were most likely to be infested by jiggers.

“According to our statistics, we have seen that jiggers are infesting mostly single men and those who have been battered by their wives,” Mr Kamau said.

The Ahadi CEO was speaking at Muthambi Village in Mukurwe-ini Constituency, Nyeri County, when he handed over a power saw and gave financial support to male victims of domestic violence to empower them economically.

Mr Simon Kiguta, a domestic violence victim who hit the headlines with his face badly cut, was one of the beneficiaries.

When he spoke, Mr Kiguta said he was happy with the assistance he received from Ahadi Kenya Trust and vowed to put the income from the power saw into good use.

Mr Kamau called for the empowerment of communities, and especially the boy-child, saying that the society had lapsed in educating and guiding boys at an early age.

“We are trying to prevent Mr Kiguta from being infested with jiggers and what Ahadi Trust Kenya is doing as a preventive measure is to empower the society,” he noted, citing the social stigma surrounding jigger infestations and male domestic violence where victims hide in shame.

He said if communities had good role models and elders took the responsibility of guiding young men seriously, then cases of domestic violence caused by men failing to provide for their families would be on the decline.

However, the rise in male battering cases dovetails into an increase in alcohol dependence among males aged 25-34 years.

In a recent national survey, many males in that age group said they consumed alcohol in the hours before noon, which are considered the most productive hours of the day.

As a result, many women have joined self-help groups like the Chaka Traditional Women Group and Tree Nursery Growers, to enable them take loans to start small businesses, finance their children’s education and move to towns in search for better investment and work opportunities.

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