Nairobi becoming dangerous city for women as femicide continues to rise

kenya women
Some of the women who have been brutally murdered recently in Nairobi (from left) Monica Kimani, Beryl Ouma and Mary Wambui

Murder, murder, murder and more murder of women has dominated the headlines in recent weeks.

With the string of horrifying and senseless killings, concern has peaked in the country on the safety of women who seem to be the main casualties.

Between January 1, 2019 and April 13, 2019 only, 40 women have been murdered, this is according to data from Counting Dead Women Kenya.

Nairobi county leads in this body count of murdered women, followed by Kiambu and Nakuru county.

A majority of the 40 women and girls were killed by their intimate partners or members of their own family.

In the latest incident, which occurred on Monday in Nyeri County, a 24-year-old woman was stabbed and killed by an estranged lover.

MURDERS

According to the Economic Survey 2018, there has been a steady rise in the number of murders over the last three years.

Homicides have steadily increased by five percent from 2,648 in 2015 to 2,774, after dropping by a quarter in 2014.

The number of people reported for committing homicide increased by six percent to 2,240 people in 2017 from 2,112 in 2016.

According to Global Homicide Report, women are far more likely to die at the hands of someone they know.

Women who have experienced serious abuse face overwhelming mental and emotional distress.

Nothing justifies the killing of another person, but these recent killing have brought to the fore the debate on mental health, unemployment and drug abuse. These are among the major causes of the killings.

MENTAL HEALTH

According to the Kenya Mental Health Policy (2015-2030), about 40 percent of in-patients in the country’s health facilities suffer from mental disorders.

The World Health Organization estimates that globally 540 million people suffer from mental disorders, with three-quarters of them living in middle and low-income countries.

Some of the more common mental disorders in the country listed by the Kenya Mental Health Policy (2015-2030) include bipolar disorder, dementia, and schizophrenia, which globally affect about 60 million people.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated.

With about two million cases of depression annually, Kenya ranks second in East Africa after Tanzania (2.1 million cases), according to WHO data.

There are also concerns that the number could be higher since there are people who are depressed yet do not seek treatment.

At this rate, mental health should be declared a national disaster because people are suffering in silence mostly because of how our society looks at mental illness.

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