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Kenya's Hidden Epidemic – BBC Africa Eye documentary

Nov 2022 17

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Kenya, cases of gender-based violence exploded. But a combination of fear, stigma and a lack of trust in the police mean the majority of cases are never reported. It has been described as Kenya’s ‘hidden epidemic’.

Africa Eye reporter Tom Odula investigates the deep-seated roots behind the violence, discovers the trauma behind the shocking statistics, and explores the police and government inaction that leaves survivors with little hope of justice.

Africa Eye brings you original, investigative journalism revealing secrets and rooting out injustice in the world’s most complex and exciting continent. Nothing stays hidden forever.

You can check out all #BBCAfricaEye investigations here:


Producer and Reporter – Tom Odula
Executive Producer – Emma Whitlock, Peter Murimi
Producer and Director – Elijah Kanyi, Dickon Le Marchant
Film Editor – John Moratiel
Online Editor – Chris Stott
Dubbing Mixer – Jez Spencer
Colourist – Boyd Nagle
Impact Producer – Courtney Bembridge
Digital Producer – Tamasin Ford
Social Media Producer – Anusha Kumar
Reversioning Producer – Anna Payton
Production Coordinator – Izzy Fleming
Production Manager – Simon Frost
Africa Eye Editor – Tom Watson



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  1. #1

    So sad. I couldn't hold myself from watching this story.

  2. #2

    Njeri is a true angel 🫡

  3. #3

    You guys are soft

  4. #4

    I thought SA was alone

  5. #5

    There need to be a written agreement signed at the commencement of any relationship, that no violence should take place. If it does the person should be hanged. Once that is put in place the violence will reduce to 1% fact.

  6. #6

    This is horrifying, as a man I could never comprehend harming a woman or child, it sickens me that this violence is somehow accepted in some parts of the world.

  7. #7

    Police in Africa is notorious about receiving money from defendant !

  8. #8

    I am from Ghana , If a man beats my sister, That man and I will have our day after dark!

  9. #9

    How can respect bought with violence be real respect. I am a proud Zambian woman, who was raised by a gentle father, therefore I can not stay in the hands of anyone who can not keeps his hands to himself, nor regulate his emotions.

  10. #10

    Bruh leh me tell you how this black woman operates. You put your hands on me ONE time and it's over!!! 0 tolerance for physical abuse periodttt!!!

  11. #11

    May Allah grant Mary some strength she has been through a lot

  12. #12

    I can't believe her daughter died because of that evil man I feel so sry and sad for her omg just 6 😭😭

  13. #13

    Nobody is talking what women are doing to men

  14. #14

    I have to chip in here. By "African" perhaps this man meant Kenyan women. I'm from the continent of Africa and specifically from Kanem Borno Empire. Wife beating is never part of my Kanuri culture. I guess his statement is ignorant and misleading.

  15. #15

    Peter is a good man; he choose to do the right thing not the easy thing. He should run for office, we need more politicians like him.

  16. #16

    Its a highly appreciated document for all women I think, not just for those living in Africa.
    Cases are much worse there, and it is more than sad:( – but unfortunately this phenomena exist everywhere.
    Sadly investigating these crimes only cause more harm to the victims – they last for years!!!, and as obe of them tols here it scares victims further as their offenders are threatening them continuously.

    It is a bad bad world – in this respect.
    Even good guys dont really stand next to women and dont really support this cause because they dont feel its their responsibility – or they want to stay out of trouble.
    They dont call out their “mates” acting aggressively to women, they are passive.

    Witthout the help of men though, this issue will never be solved by women only – cos even in more “developed” countries it is still mostly the woman ‘s task to stay at home with kids, they have less economical powers due to unbalanced creation of laws. Most countries ‘ governments consist of men – and they may not really want harm to women – gender based violence is just not so important to them because they sont experience it in their own life. Also…getting used to their privileges (more money, more respect in general, no jokes on men’ uncapabity of driving/thinking logically etc – everyday, deeply rooted looking down on women) they dont really want to give up their status and share it with women. Hipocrisy is huge.. although it would be these powerful men’s obligation to defend women, make some balance, showing example. They dont do it..

    And then comes some really down-to-earth good willed docu-making guy who does something to make others pay attention to this huge problem, who dares addressing other men to take initiative and action against it. I wish there was lot more if this kind of men:/

    Also, everyone here in the comment section praises the man who reported his brother to the police – which is remarkable , yes, i do agree. Nobody pays attention though to the fact he really emphasizes the crime against to child , no word is said by him about the seriously injured and emotionally destroyed poor mother who has to live with it for the rest of her life.

    I wonder if he had reported the case in case only the mother would have hurt. Unfortunately I dont think so:(
    Also about why it spreada like an epidemic:
    Even fathers punish their sons if they dont beat their wives based on stupid customs which – its worth mentioning – are based or supported mostly by religious texts from the bible or other books of religion, justifiying that women are less worthy creatures than men.
    This is a disgrace going on for thousands of years against women, and its also good to know that the whole thing began when “civilization” started with the start of land-owning and agriculture. Thats when offspring became so important to preserve the property – and thats when women were sent to their “husband”s villages and houses to start new family. In these cases though women are left without protection on their own, and soon became victims of domestic abuse by their own partner – especially if they were not able to produce children – and thats when domestic slavery began. Could have been a different story if men had been more emphatic and if women had had more support around them but men certainly only saw when their wives help less suring pregnancy or during their periods (or just in general cos they are weaker physically), and since nobody called them out in their own village they started to act their anger out on their wives.
    Beautiful story , supported by stupid religious dogmas after by – how surprising – writings of only men! So after a time its no wonder women believed they worth less because everything around them (or lack of support around them) justified this distorted, ill, evil concept.

    So therefore, all men’s responsibility is to educate themselves on these issues and stand up to the rights of women – who in most cases still believe they are a secondary species and sadly say things like : “beat me so that I can respect you” like that African woman who clearly didnt see any other solution to “function” in that greatly patriarchal world.

  17. #17

    I honestly can't understand how these videos don't get more likes

  18. #18

    What those seemingly "normal" guys in that group talk thing said was the biggest tell. If they're that bad, I can't imagine what everyone else is like…

  19. #19

    kazi mzuri sana mkubwa

  20. #20

    Despicable behaviour , but it should be noted that just like in many first world nations , too many women hook up with the first thug who has a car or seems to be a solid proposition, because they absolutely have to have a boyfriend or husband. Women should be more careful to whom they entrust their lives.
    It's not even a case of "wanting respect" but many men want a woman who is subservient , a housekeeper who they can have sexual intercourse with . Not a woman they can unconditionally love or be friends with. 'Friendship' is mainly a man to man thing .
    It's also the women's fault when they don't show their sons true love or even they themselves tell their sons to hit their future housekeeper .
    Although some may argue the cause lays deeper ; due to endemic corruption , for many Africans there is hardly a place for 'love' , because most are mainly occupied with getting by from day to day . Security is a seldom thing . Although there still are enough poor families that manage to truly love each other , so it's mainly a rotten character issue, which is also a huge problem in first world nations .

  21. #21

    " even if my son forgets he'll see his sisters grave " Mary

  22. #22

    Why are these men laughing???

  23. #23


  24. #24

    A human doing inhumane things to others, love is not what you think can be, you can feel you love someone but realise you don't. Don't rush it

  25. #25

    11:40 WOW!!! Just WOW… it’s sad that he’s saying that, but it’s worst that the others are straight laughing. I’m from Western Africa and we don’t do that. The guys I grew up with and I will kill you if you was to do that in front of us.

  26. #26

    This is the real epidemic. People have become ruthless. I cried after watching this documentary. Those affected must be helped

  27. #27
  28. #28

    The blood froze in my veins on hearing one of the men proudly saying" when you are newly-married, you slap or whip your wife with a belt so that, you get respect"! The raccous Laughter from the rest of the men who obviously thought it was funny made me almost lose it!🤯😤😤!
    What poor, pitiable excuses for the male specie!
    It drives me nuts when people use the term "IN AFRICA" instead of saying , in my village, in my town, people from my tribe. Africa IS HUGE AND VERY diverse…
    As a Nigerian with SEVEN brothers (ALL MARRIED) i know for a fact that, NONE of them has ever laid hands on their wives EXCEPT to hug or show AFFECTION and, I am quite sure there ARE MILLIONS of African men anound who don't see their wives as "SPARING PARTNERS"/ "PUNCHING BAGS"!.

  29. #29
  30. #30

    God bless and protect Peter and others like him.

  31. #31

    I am a 24 year old lady who got engaged 2 years ago.I am from South Africa and we have the same problem in our country. The man I am with has never hit me or emotionally abused me but I live in fear that one day he will kill me.
    I am surrounded by GBV and different types aswell. To a point where I am afriad.
    My father and mother have been married for 30 years now . My father is an emotional and financial abuser to my mother.It goes unnoticed because it is not done openly or in an extrem way.

    My boyfriend tries in every way possible to show me that I will not the next statistic. But even then I live in fear of that happening.

    African men have turned from being our protectors to being the predators themselves.

  32. #32
  33. #33

    What happened to humanity 😮‍💨😮‍💨😮‍💨😮‍💨😮‍💨

  34. #34

    What of violence against boys and man. Cover everything. Males die, drink do everything coz no one cares

  35. #35

    Keep Moving forward PRESSING ON! Justice Compassion and Mercy and Healing. Takes Action for Correction! Y'all Got to Move. Faith without Works is Dead.  Call on Jesus and He will Give you the strength to Do what must be done.

  36. #36

    Very sad 😭😭..May God help and guide them forever

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