Mwende, of Machakos, 35 miles southeast of the capital, Nairobi, is the face of domestic violence in Kenya. Her husband has been charged in an alleged marital assault that shocked the nation. According to Mwende, her husband, Stephen Ngila, 35, attacked her with a machete, slashing her face and hacking off her hands, enraged because she hadn’t produced children in nearly five years of marriage.
“I saw him, and he told me: ‘Today is your last day,’” she says. “I never thought something like this would happen to me.”
Ngila is in police custody, awaiting trial over the attack. Members of his family told Kenyan media recently that Mwende was a woman of loose morals who may have been attacked by a business rival. They claim Ngila wasn’t at home when the attack happened.
Wearing a white hospital gown at Presbyterian Church of East Africa Kikuyu Hospital, Mwende, 27, weeps softly as she tells the story of how she fell in love with Ngila, married him in a white church wedding and watched as the relationship gradually went sour.
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