Stephen Ngila took domestic abuse to the next level.
The Kenyan man was so upset that his wife Jackline Mwende couldn't give him any children that he reportedly hacked off her hands after he blamed her for the two not being able to conceive. Sadly, the violence occurred despite the fact that Ngila is the one who is infertile.
Mwende, 27, said that she was counseled by her pastor to try and save her marriage despite the escalating threats and violence she was facing. The terrifying attack has become international news, with Mwende sharing her story with the Los Angeles Times and describing how her husband slashed her face and cut off her hands with a machete in late July.
"I saw him and he told me, 'Today is your last day,'" she told the paper. "I never thought something like this would happen to me."
Mwende explained that, after only three years of marriage, Ngila began to drink heavily and abuse his wife regularly. He blamed her for their inability to have children despite being told in 2014 that it was he who was infertile. "He found out that he had a problem," Mwende said. "So the doctor advised him to attend the clinic, but he never went. Every time I reminded him to attend the clinic, he would dismiss it. He would say, 'I will see if I will get time to go,' but then he would never go."
Later, the two agreed to live separately and their pastor asked the court to dissolve their marriage. That all changed on July 23, when Ngila found her and attacked her with a machete. He not only cut off her hands, but also slashed her face, deeply scarring her and leaving her deaf in one ear. Ngila was arrested the next day when he went to the hospital where Mwende was being treated.
The case has now become a symbol of the domestic violence that plagues the women of Kenya. Shockingly, Ngila's family insists that Mwende is at fault for having "loose morals" and claims that the attack could have come from one of the numerous lovers they say she had. Or it could have been a result of a "business deal" gone bad at her small stall at a local market.
Ngila's sister insists that she was with her brother the night of the attack, but no one else is buying it, and Ngila has been denied bail.
As for Mwende, her community has had an incredibly strong reaction to the attack, with local government offering her a monthly stipend, free medical care and help obtaining prosthetic arms.
It's a horrific incident, and while Ngila's family continues to defend his actions, it seems clear that he will be made to answer for his crimes. Hopefully Mwende is able to regain the sense of self that she has lost following her gruesome injuries and will continue on to live a healthy and productive life.
(Photo: Peeter Viisimaa/Getty Images)