In a skewed society where men battered by their wives are ridiculed and turned into laughing stocks, abused husbands would rather suffer silently in abusive marriages than ‘come out’ and further scandalise themselves and their clans.
This is the unfortunate predicament that a henpecked husband, who seemingly knows which side of his bread is buttered, in Cheptalal area, Bomet County has to contend with.
The ‘sat on’ man, identified as Thomas Kigen and believed to be in his late 30s, left village elders — who had convened a crisis meeting in an effort to emancipate him from the ‘slavery’— in shock after he scoffed and turned tables on them, defending his arrogantly domineering wife.
The man’s wife, only identified as Florence and suspected to be slightly older than him, is reported to be overly bossy and has no qualms assigning her husband household chores such as cooking and cleaning. Fact that she holds the purse strings in the home has seen her turn her husband into a mere figurehead who is only seen and not heard, or so it seems.
“Considering that Kigen is neither employed nor engaged in any serious economic activity like his wife who is a business lady, he is often left at home to oversee farm activities. He is forced to lay ‘low like an envelope’ at the home. The man has no voice,” said Philip Kosgei, a neighbour familiar with the goings-on of the home. “He has to at times beg pocket money from her for buying alcohol and cigarettes,” he added.
Reportedly, Kigen’s run-ins with his tough wife began when he became an alcoholic. He would often receive tongue lashing or even slaps in some cases from his wife whenever he staggered home drunk and singing dirty circumcision songs.
“His wife embarrassed him once when she revealed to fellow market women that her husband wets the bed when drunk. The story spread all over the locale and the man became a laughing stock. He has been ridiculed enough times, it no longer has an impact on him,” said Kosgei.
However, when his spying uncle found him doing laundry in the backyard of his home, he reported the matter to elders in the locale. A meeting to read the oppressive wife the riot act was convened. Kigen’s wife, who sells household goods at the local market, gave the meeting a wide berth, claiming she had important things to do. The meeting, nevertheless, went on. But surprisingly, Kigen vehemently denied being ‘sat on’ by his wife, insisting that he was happily married.
“Which family doesn’t have wrangles? Please keep off my family affairs. We always solve our family issues as a couple, and we aren’t in need of any external help yet,” the irate Kigen is quoted to have scoffed at his brothers and the elders. Kigen, who is often spotted doing household chores like washing his own clothes, was quick to defend himself, citing that as a man it wasn’t a crime to engage in such to help his overburdened wife. The incensed elders left an angry lot, accusing Kigen of living in denial, with some mocking urging him to continue suffering in silence.
“Kigen is a strange man. What kind of a man lets his wife run the show in the home? Anyway, how else do you expect a wife who brings home the bread, to treat a good for nothing husband with respect?” An elders is quoted as having loudly wondered.