In the recent past, Kenya has witnessed several cases of women committing crimes of passion.
On January 2015, a fourth-year female student at Mount Kenya University, Teresia Roselyne Mburu, confessed to killing her boyfriend Zachariah Ndwiga by stabbing him. She accused him of being unfaithful.
Ndwiga met his death in Thika’s Runda estate on Christmas night in 2014.
On September 2015, a 21-year-old girl was accused of brutally stabbing her boyfriend over a feud orchestrated by a text message at Buruburu in Nairobi.
Ruth Kamande Wanjiru reportedly stabbed her 24-year-old boyfriend, Farid Mohammed, 22 times in the back, stomach, chest and neck. Farid was pronounced dead at a Nairobi hospital.
Ruth was thus charged with murder at Milimani Law Courts on October, 2015.
In March, 2016 a pregnant teen stabbed her boyfriend to death after he posted the photo of another woman on his Facebook wall. Police said the 19-year-old used a kitchen knife to kill Kelvin Ikatwa, 25, at 3.30pm, moments after he arrived at her house in Kangemi.
Kelvin was a third-year University of Nairobi student and a footballer with Wazito FC.
The above three cases prompted eDaily to seek to find out the attributes of a violent woman that men, and society at large, should look out for.
Maendeleo ya Wanaume Chairman Nderitu Njoka says women commit at least three types of violence against men.
“Men suffer emotional abuse. We often receive phone calls from a number of them (abused men) and it is really serious because every day we receive close to 40 cases. There is also economic abuse where a man is swindled by his wife. We handle close to nine such cases per day. There is the other general abuse like denial of conjugal rights. Some women have even decided to have separate bedrooms from their husbands. Every day we handle 170 cases of such nature,” says Njoka.
Dr Ken Ouko, a sociologist and a lecturer at the University of Nairobi, admits that the culturally propagated “meek nature of women” makes it very difficult for a man to know if the woman he is dating is violent.
“Women and physical violence – it is very difficult because they (women) usually don’t like getting aggressive. If they don’t do the emotional one, they will slowly poison you,” says Dr Ouko.
The sociologist, however, pointed out indicators of a woman who has abusive tendencies.
“The ones who are violent go into hysteria – every counselor or psychiatrist you talk to will tell you a hysterical woman can easily get violent. She will probably start screaming for no reason, break a mirror, pull off her hair; inflict pain on herself by biting, scratching…”
“That means the day when she finally blows over, she will be on your case. Women are a bit subtle though,” he says.
Dr Ouko says a woman’s journey to becoming violent starts slowly – and that if you are not keen, the pointers might pass you.
“Women use nonverbal threat (NVT). NVT for women is very powerful. Sometimes she can threaten you without violence – but in a way that you will realise that this woman is threatening me, but she is not saying it. The way she walks out on you, the way she sleeps facing the other side… Just the thing she does will easily tell you that she is out there and she could easily do something bad.”
Information on domestic abuse on United Kingdom’s Hidden Hurt website shades more light on how to spot a violent woman. The following attributes are indicators:
“At the beginning of a relationship, an abuser will always say the jealousy is a sign of love. She may question you about whom you have spoken to or seen during the day. She may accuse you of flirting, or she could be jealous of time you spend with family and friends without her.”
While the above could pass for possessive or ordinary insecurity, alarm bells should ring when she starts monitoring your actions keenly.
“As the jealousy progresses, she may call you frequently during the day or drop by unexpectedly. She may be unhappy about or refuse to let you work for fear you’ll meet someone else. She could check the car mileage or ask friends to keep an eye on you.”
“Your abuser may be angry or upset if you are ‘late’ coming back from work, shopping, visiting friends, or running an errand –even if you told her you would be later back than usual.”
“Your abuser may question you closely about where you were, whom you spoke to, the content of every conversation you held, or why you did something she was not involved in.”
“As this behaviour gets worse, you may not be allowed to make personal decisions about how you spend your time or money. She may even make you ask for permission to leave the house or room.”
“The abuser will often claim ‘love at first sight’, that you are ‘made for each other’, or that you are the only person whom she could ever talk to so openly, feel so at home with, could understand her so well.”
“She may tell you that they have never loved anyone so much or felt so loved by anyone so much before, when you have really only known each other for a short amount of time.”
“She needs someone desperately, and will pressure you to commit to her or make love before you feel the relationship has reached ‘that stage’. She may also make you feel guilty for not committing yourself to her.”
“Most abusers have low self-esteem and are therefore easily insulted or upset. She may claim her feelings are ‘hurt’ when she is really angry, or take unrelated comments as personal attacks. She may perceive normal set-backs (having to work additional hours, being asked to help out etc.) as grave personal injustices. She may view your preference for something which differs from her own as a criticism of her taste and for that reason herself.”
Cruelty to children
“The abuser’s unrealistic expectations of her partner are often mirrored in her attitude toward children. She will think of children as ‘small adults’ and blame the children for not being responsible, having common sense or understanding.”
“She may expect children to be capable far beyond their ability (e.g. is angry with a two-year old for wetting their pants, waking at night or being upset by nightmares). She will often issue out punishments for ‘naughtiness’ the child could not be aware of.”
“An abuser may tease children until they cry, or punish children way beyond what could be deemed appropriate. There is a very strong link between Domestic Violence and Child Abuse.”
“This is an important warning sign and really quite easy to spot once you can tell all the little ways in which you are being verbally abused. In addition to saying things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful, either in public or in private, this can include degrading remarks or running down any accomplishments.”
“Often she will tell you that you are ‘stupid’, could not manage without her. She may keep you up all night to ‘sort this out once and for all’ or even wake you at night to continue to verbally abuse you. She may even say kind things to your face, but speak badly about you to her friends and family.”
Any force during an argument
“What starts off in early courtship as a bit of a push or a shove can turn into full-blown battery not long down the road.”
“An abuser may physically restrain you from leaving the room, lash out at you with her hand or another object, pin you against a wall or shout ‘right in your face’. Any form of force used during an argument can be a sign that grave physical violence is a strong possibility.”
‘Playful’ use of Force in sex
“She may pressurise you to agree to forceful or violent acts during sex, or want to act out fantasies where you are helpless.”
“She may show little concern about whether you want to have intercourse and uses sulking or anger to manipulate you into compliance. Starting sex while you are sleeping, demanding sex when you are ill or tired, or refusing any form of intimacy unless you are willing to go ‘all the way’ can all be signs that she could be sexually abusive or sexually violent.”