Monday, September 21, 2020
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Even those close to me felt I was being a liability to them

“The time the doctors told me that my sight won’t be restored; that’s the time many friends ran away from me. It’s the time I was stigmatized. Even those close to me felt I was being a liability to them, so they ran away…”

Something happened in 2013 that would change his life forever. Dan Matakaya is a police officer atta

ched to the Industrial Area Police Station in Nairobi Kenya. He’s been serving as a police officer for the last 11 years. Dan is visually impaired. He is an acid burn survivor.

“I came to the house at 5:30am, I had been at work the whole night. I went straight to bed. Few minutes later, my ex-wife woke up and poured sulphuric acid to my face. She wen’t ahead and connected power so that I can be electrocuted…”

He runs a foundation that helps men who are experiencing domestic violence to speak out and also connects them to counselors. According to Dan, at least 70 men from different parts of the country call in every month to report cases of domestic violence. The toll-free number is 1196.

“Men are being stigmatized because whenever they come out and talk about abuse, they are stigmatized in society. The foundation is ready to connect you with professionals. We currently have 30 professional counselors on board and the number of men calling in continues to rise…”

DanĀ  shares his experience with stigma during his journey and asks those in situations like his to speak up in order to get help.

“That statement was the turning point. That is what I wanted to hear from someone. Someone who saw the worth in me. Someone to give me hope.

His is a story that has touched many. His rallying call is that even as we battle COVID19 and other challenges in society, we should work together to end stigma. Remember #ItCouldBeYou battling mental health issues, or domestic violence so treat people as you’d want to be treated.

Watch, learn from and share his story.

 

Yegon Emmanuel
Photographer, broadcast journalist and writer-Certified storyteller yegonemmanuel.com Co-founder and Communications Director mobilejournalism.co.ke

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