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By NJOKI CHEGE

It breaks my heart every time I read about domestic violence particularly among young women. Recently, a rather famous socialite dramatically revealed on social media how she had been a victim of an abusive and violent lover. I found the socialite brave for coming out in public about her experience and I do hope she gets the help that she needs.

Which brings me to my topic today. When we talk about domestic violence, we think of a long-suffering, battered wife who has endured the beatings of her husband for decades, unable to leave the marriage mostly “for the kids”.

Rarely do we think that young women could also be victims of domestic violence. We wrongly think that they are too educated and too independent to be stuck in violent relationships but the sad truth is, a significant number of battered women are young and independent – the very people we think are least likely candidates for domestic violence.

KILLED BY HUSBANDS

I could say that society needs to address this issue, but we all know that women have been killed by their violent husbands as society looked on and we have heard stories of society blaming the victims. There are those who believe the victims must have done something really bad to deserve violence.

In my opinion, nobody deserves violence, but given my pessimistic attitude towards this thing called “society”, today I will address all the young women.

I’d like to begin my advice with a radical observation. Many men hate strong women. It is why they have a problem with the likes of Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and closer home, Martha Karua. Many a man simply cannot stand the idea of a woman who can potentially outshine, outdo and outsmart them.

Nothing scares such a man more than a confident woman who seems like she’s had her life all figured out. Unless you are his daughter, a man is typically scared and intimidated by a smart, strong and confident woman and many men do not like to get too close to a woman of superior intelligence.

EARNS MORE

It is why you’ll see a man saying drivel like “I cannot marry a woman who earns more than I do or is more educated than I am”.

Because of something called the male ego. The male ego is like a hungry animal that constantly demands to be fed, nurtured, pampered and massaged – something that a strong confident woman has no time for.

So if you are a strong, confident woman who seems like you’re headed somewhere in life, you are more likely to encounter a violent man who, on the outside, might seem to “appreciate” you, but could never be more inwardly disturbed by the fact that he is handling a woman of pedigree.

This is why independent women fall victim of violent men. When a man feels like he is being upstaged by the woman in his life, he will do anything to put her down, humble and humiliate her, even if it takes violence to establish his machismo.

If you are a young independent woman in a relationship and you smell even a whiff of violence, the smart thing to do is to leave at once. I know it is easier said than done. Some claim that they have invested too much in the relationship to let it go down without a fight, but the first step to leaving a violent relationship is rather simple; know your worth and then add VAT on top.

KNOW YOUR WORTH

There is nothing more freeing and emancipating than a woman who knows her worth. When you know your worth, you will not peg your value on a man’s love or approval. I don’t want to get all inspirational – there is a “Daughters of Zayuni” conference this weekend for such purposes – but what I am trying to say is that if you land an insecure man whose only way of confirming his masculinity is through violence, then you are better off without him.

Of course, when all else fails, knowing all too well that inspirational advice is very difficult to follow, you could sign up for Karate classes and teach him a lesson or two about messing up with the wrong woman. That’s a joke, by the way.

Have a peaceful weekend.