Man pushes handcart through market in Kibera, Nairobi
Domestic violence has soared against men in Kenya

At least 460,000 men suffer from domestic violence in Kenya, an organisation that deals with male victims of domestic violence has reported.

Maendeleo ya Wanaume said the number soared by 160,000 victims on 2009 figures.

Nderitu Njoka, founder of the organisation, said in an interview with Capital News in Nairobi that while this form of gender violence has been in existence for a long time, men have remained silent about being abused out of fear of being ridiculed.

According to Njoka, men are not abused because they fail to provide for their families or drink excessively, but for what he termed "supremacy battles".

"This is an issue of supremacy and women wanting to dominate and take advantage of men," he said.

Njoka also accused the government of providing funding for projects that help women while ignoring men who, he said, continue to suffer in silence.

Instead of segregating the sexes and empowering one over the other the only way to overcome the problem was to focus efforts on the family as a unit.

But Rukia Subow, chair of Maendeleo ya Wanawake, the corresponding Kenyan organisation for women, said many cases of domestic violence involved men who had behaved irresponsibly.

"I am not advocating that women batter men but sometimes you are pushed to take action and show a man that what he is doing is wrong. We are against violence against any gender, but sometimes you are pushed to the wall," she said.

She also challenged Njoka to provide evidence of his figure on the number of men who are subjected to domestic abuse. No current equivalent figures for women victims of domestic violence are available.

While admitting that women could be violent against men, she stressed that a more important issue was that women do not always report when they are on the receiving end of abuse.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga urged men to stop consuming alcohol and taking drugs.

"We have seen men being beaten in some parts of the country, but most of them are not sober and are abdicating family responsibilities. As a government we do not want to see abuse of alcohol and the use of drugs," he said.