The group therapy helped me grow, gave me hope and independence

Catherine has been supported by Womankind partner FIDA Kenya through group therapy sessions.

Cathrtinr

“I started seeing my husband when I was in college, but we kept it secret. He got me pregnant so I wouldn’t leave him. His parents didn't accept me and none of his family visited when I had the baby. His mother wanted me to live with her and work on her plantation. She told me it was too expensive to live in Nairobi with my husband, even though I was working in the salon he opened for me.

My husband threatened to leave me if I didn’t accept his mother's decision. He abused me verbally and said I was arrogant, he wanted me to stay at home and do the housework. His sisters moved in with us and it was torture. They were spying on me and accused of being disloyal.

I was miserable and my husband became violent. I was attacked by his sister and brother-in-law, they beat me with a broom and chased me out the house. They stomped on my stomach, pushed me down the stairs and pulled my son away from me. I was bleeding and had to go to the hospital. But my son was still with his family so I went to the police.

Finally, I found help at FIDA Kenya. They wrote a mediation letter to my husband and helped me with the court application. The judges ruled that I should get my child back and my husband should pay the maintenance. My son came back barefooted, dirty and thin. He was ill and had parasites showing that nobody had been taking care of him.

FIDA gave me the strength to fight for my rights. The group therapy helped me grow, gave me hope and independence. I have since motivated other women to stand up and claim what was rightfully theirs. The majority of women in Kenya are not financially able to afford a private lawyer. FIDA is free and you get the best service. Without FIDA, many women and their children would still be suffering, no other service is as effective or supportive.

I hope that my son gets a better education. I have opened up a new salon and I want to continue what FIDA is doing – I aim to study law to help women who are experiencing violence. I brought an emotionally abused friend to the group therapy. She came to FIDA and left her husband for good.”

This project is funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development through the UK Aid Match scheme.
This project is funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development through the UK Aid Match scheme.