Infertile Man Accused Of Mutilating His Wife For Not Giving Him Children

A Kenyan man has been accused of cutting off his wife's hands and mutilating her for not giving him children — even though doctors told him he was the one who was infertile.

Jackline Mwende’s husband is accused of attacking her in their home in Machakos, Kenya with a machete in late July, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday. According to Mwende, 27, her husband, Stephen Ngila, slashed her face, leaving her disfigured, and cut off both of her hands. A neighbor told local media that area residents heard screaming and called the police. She said that upon entering the house, she saw rooms spattered with blood and a severed hand on the floor.

Mwende told The LA Times that the marriage had started out happy, but eventually turned sour over the couple's fertility issues. She said that after a doctor told them that Ngila was infertile in 2014, her husband started drinking and beating her. Her parents pleaded with her to leave, but her church leaders advised her to stay in the marriage.

“In most cases, every time there was a problem, I would run to our pastor,” she said. “The pastor would always tell me, ‘Jackie, please persevere. That man will come to change one day,’” she said. “I always wanted to protect my marriage so I decided to stay with him.”

Domestic violence and abuse is a significant problem in Kenya. According to statistics from the Gender Violence Recovery Centre at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital, between 39% and 47% of Kenyan women experience gender-based violence in their lifetime, and 41% of women who have ever been married there have experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner. Domestic violence was outlawed in Kenya in 2015, when the country passed the Protection against Domestic Violence Act.

In the aftermath of the alleged attack, activists are calling for better protections for women. Activist Naitore Nyamu told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that authorities needed to make certain that victims of domestic violence were protected. “We can’t afford to let the perpetrators act with impunity — which has sometimes been the case in recent years,” she said. Ngila, whose family claims his innocence, has been arrested and is awaiting trial.

Mwande, still recovering from her injuries, said that while, as a Christian, she can’t encourage anyone to leave their marriage, that she hoped she could act as a warning for other domestic violence survivors. “I’d like to talk about my personal story so other people, or other victims, may learn [from it] and speak up,” she told The LA Times.

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