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I have to feed my family during COVID-19 pandemic, my husband beats me and says I am prostitute

“Thank you for calling One2one hotline,” I confidently received my first client after our refreshing zoom call debriefing session. “My name is Rose”, she whispered as she gasped for air trying to hold her tears.” It’s okay to cry this is a safe space, I assured her.

Rose (not her real name) was comfortable to open up and still have her moments of silence when painful memories and thoughts lingered her mind.

I could tell she was desperately fighting thoughts like “Could it be my fault? Is this normal? Do I deserve this?” Getting assurance that no one deserved to go through any kind of violence was comforting and built her confidence to share her story in detail.

“I need to feed my family during this pandemic as you can see things are not easy and my husband is not working” “Every time I go to work he beats me and threatens to take my life and that of my children,” Rose disclosed.

Rose shared how she felt hopeless and angry about the whole situation, she had just reported to the police and was not sure if this would be helpful since it’s not the first time he physically abused her.

Convinced that things could get better and she could be safe made her hold on to our conversations. I could tell by the end of our session Rose was informed and aware of the risks of being in any kind of abusive relationship. Collaborating with rose to identify a support system was crucial and I was glad she was confident with the safety plan she came up with.

Assured that the law would take measures to ensure her children and herself were safe, Rose was patient to wait for directions from the police.

”My husband was given a warning and I feel he is calm since he has not abused me physically or verbally.’Ametulia’. These were Rose reassuring words that she is okay when I did a follow-up.

Later on, I held a Jovial conversation with Rose and she narrated how her neighbors were willing to report the issue if any kind of violence reoccurred made me realize that as a society we can work together to end all forms of Gender-Based Violence.

Rose is now aware of her rights, safety measures, and helplines she can reach out to, which will not only help her if she ever faces any GBV but be of help to someone else in the community.

Our toll-free line 1190 is offering counseling and psycho-social support to Kenyans at these uncertain times of COVID-19. Our counselors are on call from 8 am to 10 pm every day to offer support and referral services.

By Anne Nduta- Tele-counsellor

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