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Kenya Program Offers Help to Battered Women

A Kenyan organization called the Women’s Rights Awareness Program (Wrap) has released a survey which reveals high awareness of widespread violence against women but little willingness to take action against the problem. More than 70 percent of the women and men surveyed said they knew wife beating occurred in their neighborhood, yet nearly 60 percent said that women were responsible for the beatings, and 51 percent said the male perpetrators should not be punished. Only 3 percent of those surveyed said women should seek help through law enforcement. One woman who recently left her husband of 30 years to take shelter in Wrap’s home for battered women said that she expected her husband would have bribed authorities if she had reported the crime, and then he would have beat her again.

Women, typically less educated than men in most African societies, are looked upon unfavorably if they get divorced. Since August 1994, some 60 women have taken shelter at Wrap’s home which provides medical help and legal and psychiatric counseling. The International Federation of Women Lawyers has launched an campaign to educate the public about violence against women and to sensitize lawmakers, police, and others.

Sources:

The Washington Post - May 2, 1996