Every day I know, she has to be intimate with another and I must look the other side; cry in darkness and embrace her in the morning says Peter*.
I am ‘deceased’ says John* in another session. Joyce and I quickly glance at each other smiling almost bursting into laughter. At first we thought it was a misplaced word. Then it slowly sank, and my heart sank with every word I heard.
In a day’s work, I laugh, I smile, I feel victory and sometimes I cry. There are times I am as helpless as my client; but I purpose in not to leave him/her the same. For the past 2 days I have gone through emotions that I can’t describe. The story of a group of husband turned women. This has given me sleepless nights; how do I change their lives? That is the question!
The story of Post Elections Victims (PEV) has never been said this deep, has never been this emotionally draining…
Peter continues, “Every day I die another death, I die in my heart because the duty God gave me I can no longer perform. The children called by my name, belong to another”. John on the other hand says “I wish I had died, she (wife) would have buried me and moved on with her life, now I am just there! I am useless to her and her children”, he says this as he unconsciously touches the part that seem to be the problem. Mzee another husband looks at a distance, his eyes telling a story of hurt that I have never seen. He remembers how his wife of 18 years died of frustrations after going through a rape ordeal, losing her property then losing her ‘husband’. “I feel helpless” he quips. His newest fear is losing his new wife of 2 years, he fears that other men may take advantage and have a field day, he breaks down as tears fall down his haggard cheeks.
Joyce Wangui and I are dumbfounded. We take a breath as we take moment. Joyce and I met through a good friend Betty Okero who thought we should take the story and counsel at the same time. Joyce Wangui a journalist had come to get their story, while I tagged along as a trauma counselor. We were not prepared for what we were to hear. As we got deeper into exploration, the untold story of emotional distress came out, the story of the living deceased was clearer. We now understand why, they die in their hearts every day; they are the ghosts of PEV. We had heard of forceful circumcision we thought that was terrible. In fact the victims themselves start by telling you they were “forcefully” circumcised. This is a more acceptable and everybody just assumes that it is just the removal of fore skin.
The story is deeper! Many have suffered the same fate; I am talking about the story of penile mutilation, the penile stump. The meaning this brings, the anguish, the tears only a pillow can tell and the agony that make a man wishes he died. Peter asks “how will this justice be done?” while Mzee quips as he stares into space, “nothing will restore my dignity; nothing will make me a man again.”
By now we are both traumatized but we must rise above our feelings do our respective duties. Joyce must write a story she’s never written before while I must do some counseling that I was never taught. One thing we both promise is, we will never leave this people where we found them. We have started a journey, we will hold their hands and hearts for a while but we will never forget their plight. We recognize the fact that these people are waiting for justice and compensation from the government but what are we doing as a people to help them take care of their families, they have been robbed of their manhood and livelihood, what are we doing to make their lives better?
So dear Kenyans, as you abuse each other and go tribal remember the above can happen to any of us, the best we can do is to avoid it at all costs.
Mzee Ben* finishes, “It is my vote that is killing me”.
NB:*Not his real name
By: Lynette Odidi Yogo