Yes, a significant number of Kenyan men are being battered by their spouses — to the extent of seeking medical attention.
A study carried out by three universities and published in the reputable British Medical Journal of Medicine seems to give credence to claims by a lobby group claiming that about 1.5 million men in Kenya are battered by their wives.
While agreeing with the lobbyists that there is significant violence against men, the study, however, says that men are the main perpetrators of domestic violence and blames alcohol for most of the cases.
The Kenya Demographic and Health Survey of 2003 claimed that more than half of all women in their 30s have experienced domestic violence inflicted by their spouses and cited drugs and alcohol as the main inducers.
Published in March and carried out by Maseno University and the US universities of Brown and Indiana, the new study says that while men still lead in spousal battery, women are giving back almost half of what they get.
The study was carried out at a rural setting in Mosoriot, a small town close to Eldoret. It says that although more women visit the local health centre with injuries caused by their spouses, a significant number of men also do.
In a study that covered 562 violent injury patients between 2002 and 2004 at the Mosoriot Health Centre, more women than men complained of spousal assault.
“Men and women were equally likely to suffer violent injuries, however, women were more likely to suffer injury from domestic violence at about seven per cent compared to about 4.7 per cent for men,” it says.
According to another study carried out by the University of South Carolina in the US, women and men perpetrate equivalent levels of physical and psychological aggression, but evidence suggests that men perpetrate sexual abuse, coercive control and stalking more frequently than women and that women are much more frequently injured during domestic violence incidents.
Meanwhile, the government has announced plans to carry out national campaigns on domestic violence in the wake of reports that men are abused by their wives.
Additional reporting by Benjamin Muindi