Husbands and Boyfriends primary perpetrators of SGBV – Study

Husbands and Boyfriends primary perpetrators of SGBV – Study

Majority of survivors reported physical and psychological violence

By Evans Nyagwara

A pilot study conducted by Kenyatta University Women’s Economic Empowerment Hub’s Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) research team has identified Husbands (84.4%) and boyfriends (9.4%) as the biggest perpetrators of the vice.  The study on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of Rescue Recovery and Rehabilitation Programmes (RRRPs) in preventing and responding to SGBV in Nakuru and Makueni Counties, and test acceptability and efficacy of the Tamar Campaign Model packaged in Reflect Circles in challenging the culture of silence surrounding SGBV among families and communities in Tharaka Nithi County. The pilot targeted 32 women SGBV survivors from three non-state RRRPs and GVRCs to establish the types of SGBV experienced, assistance sought and received and the economic status of survivors, 81.2% of survivors were aged between 26 and 45 years. The study revealed that 62.2% of the women depended on the informal sources of livelihood. Further, the study shows that more than half (62.5%) had attained only primary and secondary level of education while only 28.1% had middle level college and university education. 90% of these survivors got married or started living with partners when they were aged 18-25 years.

Since the majority of the survivors were aged between 26 yrs and 46yrs, the economically productive ages of the individuals’ life cycles were greatly affected. Many got married at a young age and depended on informal sources of livelihood. These factors predisposed most of the survivors to high dependency on the partners. This explains why the primary perpetrators were husbands and boyfriends. Moreover, the study points out that dependency was the main reason why majority of the survivors stayed in the abusive relationships for a long period of time (more than 7 years) before seeking help.

Looking at the forms of violence perpetrated, 90.6% of the survivors had suffered physical violence followed by psychological/emotional violence (78.1%). Sexual and economic violence were reported by 46.9% and 59.4% of the survivors respectively. According to the study, these forms affect the economic productivity of the women greatly.

A majority of the survivors sought psychological counseling followed by medical care at 96.9% and 75% respectively. 46.9% sought legal assistance and only 25% needed a safe place and therefore needed shelters.

The survivors who went through the RRRPs/GVRCs programme , the reports on the economic impact of the programmes on the survivors show that there was marked improvement on survivors’ income after the programs regardless of whether they had an economic empowerment component or not. Specifically, experiences gained from the program facilitated survivors to reflect on their status and how they could survive without the violent partners, a factor that energized them to become self-reliant and less vulnerable.


It is evident from the study that combination of young age at marriage, low level of education and limited economic resources and opportunities translates into high level of dependency of the survivors on their partners. This increases the vulnerability of the women to Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

Although psychological and medical care are the priority forms of assistances sought by SGBV survivors, and offered by GVRCs, legal services, business training, start-up capital and shelters are adjunct services needed. A strong referral network is needed to diversify the services provided, to enable survivors benefit from a comprehensive range of services to make their recovery wholesome.


Sign up to receive your exclusive News letter, and keep up to date on our latest projects!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.