Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Mercy Mwangangi has opened up about her past experience in an abusive relationship.
Speaking on Wednesday during the Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response scientific conference at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi, the CAS chronicled how she found herself in such a predicament in 2015.
At the time, Mwangangi was a fresh graduate from Australia’s Adelaide University where she earned a Master’s degree in Health Economics and Policy.
According to the CAS, on one night in 2015, her then boyfriend snapped after a verbal altercation ensued between them.
Despite not physically abusing her, the man was infuriated to an extent that the CAS feared for her safety and called her lawyer in the wee hours of that very morning.
“That night at 3am when we had the altercation, I remember thinking okay so this has happened, whom I should call. He was beating walls around me. He was enraged and there was a lot of scuffling,” said the CAS.
“And interestingly the first person that I called was my lawyer to see if there was a legal recourse.”
When she was done talking to her lawyer, the CAS said that she pondered on how she found herself in such a predicament despite being an empowered, educated, an independent woman.
“I remember thinking I am an empowered 29-year-old woman. How could this happen to me?” she thought to herself.
“I however realized that it can happen to any of us, be it male, female, young or old.”
Using a quote from the novel ‘Maid’, written by American author Stephanie Land, the CAS noted how most instances of physical abuse are often preceded by verbal abuse.
“Before they bite, they bark; before they hit you, they hit near you,” said Mwangangi.
The CAS, now 36, soon after left the relationship and is currently in a blossoming relationship with a new partner whom she says is very supportive of her dreams and aspirations.
According to the Kenya Health Information System, in the first six months of last year, 717 men and 10,997 women claimed that they were abused by their intimate partners.
This was an increase from the 500 men and 7,291 women who made similar reports in a similar period in 2020.