As a little girl, I grew up with my father and mother and our home was filled with love and peace. I admired my parents and I always looked forward to that day when I would become a wife, a desire I soon realized. My husband and I had a great relationship at the beginning to our marriage, however, after a few years we started having disagreements.My hopes for a peaceful home where slowly dimming. Violence in my home became a routine though I was still holding onto my marriage fantasy. I did not know how to get out of this mess.
I had a problem of being timid, I lacked self confidence and could not stand up to my husband. I got so used to the violence that I started making excuses for him whenever my friends or relatives paused questions.
In 2019, NAWOU started conducting trainings on GBV awareness in my area; Merikit Sub County. I decided to participate; we were trained on feminism leadership, women rights and advocacy. This knowledge boosted my confidence and I started believing in myself again. I joined NAWOU’s community action based team (COMBATs)- a group of men and women who do community activism on women’s rights.
As the saying goes, charity begins at home, I slowly started addressing the issues in my own household. During lock down, my husband became more aggressive because we were constantly home together, with my knowledge on women’s rights, I was able to challenge him. My husband eventually accepted to sit with me and discuss our issues amicably. This new way of conflict resolution has brought significant change in our lives. The transformation of my home is making me a role model within my community as a result. My neighbours who are realizing the change are beginning to consult me on how to resolve conflict within their own households.
Using my experience, I am happy to give counselling to fellow women who experience GBV issues. Recently for example, a couple in my community were fighting over the cat that the husband wasn’t providing for the family any more. I engaged them for two weeks and they got temporary peace but they started fighting again. I realized I could not handle the case any further so I handed it over to the probation officer and they received professional help and are now living peacefully.
I’m grateful to NAWOU and I plan to do much sensitization against GBV in my community. I also plan to mobilize women to start up Village Saving and Loan Associations (VSLAs) as one way of ending GBV through financial empowerment, a strategy we learnt from the trainings.