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Worries of the HeartWidows, Family, and Community in Kenya$
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Kenda Mutongi

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226554198

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226554228.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use (for details see www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 23 October 2018

Wife Beating

Wife Beating

Chapter:
(p.149) Chapter Thirteen: Wife Beating
Source:
Worries of the Heart
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226554228.003.0014

This chapter investigates wife beating in western Kenya. Many of the King's African Rifle (KAR) marriages were tormented by emotional and physical conflict, and it was woefully hard for young couples to maintain a marriage in the absence of men during World War II. The widowed mothers saw the courts as allied to their interests, despite the fact that they usually ruled against their daughters' petitions for divorce. They also wanted their daughters to stay married because they believed in the respectability of the institution of marriage. The testimony of widows and their daughters shows that the technical reforms introduced in African courts helped turn courtrooms into arenas where resolution of marital conflicts could take place. Moreover, the courtrooms became one of the few places where women could speak out, where they could dare look men in the eye and ask them for help.

Keywords:   wife beating, King's African Rifle marriages, World War II, divorce, widows, African courts, courtrooms

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