Call for Kenyan Men Affected by Gender-Based Violence to Seek Counseling

April 17, 2024
Rebecca Gitau, GVRC’s Medical and Psychosocial Support Manager

The government is urging men who endure abuse, both physical and emotional, from their wives to seek psychosocial support.

Health Director Kevin Osuri, for Homa Bay County, noted that many men suffer silently, failing to report their experiences as survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

Dr. Osuri encouraged Kenyan men to use the numerous programs implemented by various organizations in the fight against GBV.

One such initiative is provided across the country by the Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC). In Homa Bay County, this organization has established four clinics, known as ‘Hope Centres’, at the Makongeni, Mbita, and Rangwe sub-county hospitals.

Survivors of GBV are directed to receive treatment at the clinics, deliberately situated away from the general dispensary, aiming to create an environment conducive for survivors to seek assistance.

Despite this arrangement, it has come to light that the clinics predominantly serve women and teenage girls.

Dr. Osuri expressed concern over this trend, highlighting the alarming fact that men, too, fall victim to GBV but often opt to endure their suffering in silence rather than seek counseling.

“Men are also victims of GBV. They also face difficulties at home but do not report it,” he said.

The senior officer pointed out that men commonly subscribe to the belief that they should be self-reliant and refrain from seeking assistance, including psychological support.

He noted a prevailing notion that men, perceived as the leaders of their families and inherently strong, should suppress their emotions.

Dr. Osuri cautioned that adhering to this mindset could potentially lead individuals into difficult situations.

“There is a belief that men should not cry or seek help when they are in trouble because someone will laugh at them. This will lead to more suffering,” he said.

William Otago, the Director of the State Department of Gender, highlighted that men face stigma, attributed to traditional beliefs dictating that men must maintain an appearance of strength and refrain from displaying emotions, particularly feelings of sadness.

“Society believes that men are born strong and should not cry even if they are in extreme pain. This has often led many men into deep physiological distress when they are unable to resolve issues that affect them,” said Mr Otago.

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