Women’s Rights and Domestic Violence
CASE STUDY: Veronica Kilokunye’s Story
Veronica is an active member of the Pastoral Women’s Council (PWC) Mondorose Women’s group located around an hour from Loliondo in Ngorongoro district, northern Tanzania. She is 30 years old. Her parents separated when she was just two years old and she subsequently lived with her father. Her father didn’t re-marry and she spent much of her childhood shifting from one house to another. She was not allowed to go to school as she had to stay at home and look after the house. When she was just seven years old her father started taking dowries for her in the form of cattle but did not at this stage give her away. However, by the time she was twelve years old, her father had taken not just one dowry but seven in total promising Veronica to all these families. This caused much conflict about who should have her and as her father could not pay back the dowry, he just ran away and left Veronica alone.
Although Veronica did not go to any of these families, she did have a child and then two years later at 14 years old; she met a non-Masaai man from another tribe who could take care of her and her first born. They got married several years later when she was 20 and he was 24 years old and had two children together. At first her husband was very kind to her and even supported her father when he returned home, beset by illness. However, after her father died her husband changed. He started mistreating her and would get drunk and come back and beat her for no reason. Many times he threatened her with a knife saying that he would kill her. With her father gone, she had no-one to turn to and spent several years frightened and alone.
Veronica then heard about PWC and the work they do to support Masaai women, including through domestic violence cases. She asked for help to become separated from her husband and to take him to court for the abuse that she had endured.
However, once her husband found out about this he threw her out of the house and told her that everything they owned jointly was now his – she would get nothing. He would not let her bring her two children with her either – particularly as they were both girls and her husband did not want to miss out on getting his dowry when they were older.
Veronica was supported through court by PWC and became officially separated from her husband who was also forced to pay a small financial contribution to her.However, she was not able to get back her children.
PWC’s support did not stop there however, and Veronica was given the opportunity to stay at the Women’s Solidarity Boma to help re-build her life. Only one women per year from the nearby communities are able to do this. This meant she not only had a home to live in but also livestock to support her during her two year stay there. Her first born daughter was also supported through secondary school at Emanyatta by PWC.
On leaving the boma, Veronica was given five goats and a house was built for her to start her new life. That was several years ago and now Veronica lives happily with her new husband who she has 3 children with. Veronica says, PWC have helped me so much, they are my family and my friends. They have supported me in every way in my life and even sponsor my eldest girl to attend Emanyatta school to help her get an education.
I am very very grateful for this. Before I was very unhappy and lived in fear but now I have many friends, have a good husband and my life is good.