Strength to Move On: Eradicating Gender Violence in Kibera
Posted on November 14, 2012, by Shining Hope for Communities
When I was 17, my parents died and I moved to Kibera as an orphaned girl. I was forced to marry, because the community felt they did not have any other use for me. My husband was constantly drunk and abusive. I endured his behavior for nine years. What I went through is too difficult to express.
One day, I came home to find him drunk, and all my belongings thrown out of the house and into the street. I was tired of it, so I took my two children and left him. It has been very hard. I fought to get a restraining order as he came to find me and tried to take my children away.
Theresa Wanjiku, a gender violence community health worker.
Now, as a Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) Gender Violence Community Health Worker, I help other women who are experiencing what I went through. I educate them about their rights and their freedom. I talk about how people living together should respect one another. The misery I experienced motivates me to share my strength with others, and by helping others I am able to move on with my life. Sometimes in the support groups that I lead, there are other women who are living in silence — in Kibera, it is not easy for a woman to stand up for herself. But when I tell my story, these women open up about theirs. Sometimes women are even scared of going to a hospital to get the help they need — but I help them feel brave. It is my hope that together we can bring all of this violence to an end. Women are beginning to speak up, and that is the first step.
Theresa Wanjiku is a SHOFCO Gender Violence Community Health Worker. Shining Hope for Communities is eradicating gender-based violence in Kibera through health services, community outreach and advocacy. Our community clinic provides holistic support to victims in their recovery from abuse. For more information visit their Official Website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.