He will deceive you with his polite manner and charm. Ras Edu as he is known on social media is a Kenyan living in Frankfurt with his girlfriend Jackie Wild. Edwin, a Rasta enthusiast came to Germany as an Au pair, previously divorced and has two kids with Jackie.
Jackie who permitted us to use her name and images says she has known no peace in her 6 year relationship with Edwin. On the surface and in the eyes of the public, the two are admired by many as a loving couple, but this is only a camouflage to muffled cries and anguish.
A week ago, Edwin clobbered his girlfriend bruising her left eye and leaving her with multiple scars that got her admitted in hospital.
Mkenya Ujerumani received a disturbing message from Jackie’s friend indicating that her friend needed urgent help after silently enduring the worst case of domestic violence.
The text read in part, “she needs help, but she is so afraid of him because they live together and have 2 kids. But the way this man treats her is out of control. He beats her then brags about it. What frightens me most is that this is becoming a regular occurrence and he always threatens to kill her”.
Speaking to Mkenya Ujerumani, Jackie’s friend who requested to remain anonymous was distraught with fright. “I am scared for my friend who is like a sister to me. She has on several occasions called me in desperation complaining about how her boyfriend was abusing her. Last week she called me saying that they had just had another fight. When I went to see her, she was in a sorry state. Her face was bruised and her eyes swollen. I insisted that she should see a doctor. I confronted Edwin, but he turned aggressive. I got scared. In a state of confusion, I picked a knife on top of the kitchen counter and was ready to defend myself”. She explained.
“On the outside, Edwin is a sweet and polite guy and Jackie loves him. They have two young kids together, a four-year-old and a one and half year-old. But I’m afraid that one day Edu might carry out his threat to kill her”.
When I called Jackie from her hospital bed, the soft-spoken Kenyan-German lady described Edwin as a caring person, who sometimes erupts into unexplained violence.
Jackie was adopted at the age of 16 after she lost her parents and came to live in Germany from Kenya.
The violent behaviour has been recurring, Jackie explains. The last episode that has her admitted to hospital happened last week when she returned home after a day out with her friend and kids.
“I asked him if he had received pictures I had sent him on WhatsApp. He said he hadn’t. I jokingly commented that when other people sent him pictures, he responded sofort (immediately)”. The comment would cause her an agonizing night.
After the comment, Jackie went into the bedroom only for Edwin to follow her and accuse her of insinuating that he had other women. “He grabbed me, slapped me so hard and pushed me about, I staggered. Jackie explained in a shivering voice.
Jackie’s friend confirms that on several occasions, Edwin has kicked his girlfriend, thrown her on the floor, slapped her and boxed her. “There is no manner of description that can explain what that lady has gone through. She is emaciating, she is unhappy and afraid, but she won’t talk”.
“Even though on the evening of the incident another friend was spending the night at our place, Edwin did not reserve his anger, he beat me in front of my friend, who was exhilarated and tried to stop him from beating me”, Jackie recounted during the telephone interview.
“A scuffle ensued, me trying to defend myself and my fried trying to repel the aggressive Edwin. She even threatened to call the police, but Edwin retorted that if she did, they would only take away the children including her own, whom she was visiting with”.
Jackie says she was left with bruises on her face and neck, her whole body was aching. “The following day, Edwin called from work very apologetic. He said he did not understand what drove him to become violent against me”, she narrated in strained staccatos.
He even said he is ready to go for counselling and therapy. He said he wanted to change. However, Jackie explains that, it was not the first time he has been violent towards her, nor the first for him to go on his knees begging for forgiveness.
She wants her family to stay together, but is afraid that Edwin will leave her. He has been the only person who has stood by her. Jackie is concerned that influence from extended family members here in Germany, may also be exacerbating the situation.
Jackie recalls that Edwin started showing signs of aggression early this year, when he had to juggle between an Ausbildung, working and the family. He complains that he is under so much stress and is unable to keep it under control.
When I reached Edwin for comments, at first he was malleable even pleasant to talk to. He however vehemently denied that his girlfriend had been hospitalized for injuries sustained from his beatings.
“She had an eye infection and had to be hospitalized “.
Even when Jackie called from the hospital and passed the phone to him, he still maintained that he had nothing to do with his girlfriend’s injuries. Though he acknowledged that they have had domestic problems, he insisted that they had received intervention from extended members of the family both here in Germany and from Kenya.
He admitted to disturbance with Jackie’s friend who made Mkenya Ujerumani aware of the case. “The matter has been recorded with the police and we are now waiting for the institutional process to take its due course”, he said but did not link any aggression on his part to the case.
Jackie’s story reflects a cry of a desperate woman caught up in an intricate web of an extreme case of domestic violence. It is even shocking that living in a country with strong laws against domestic violence, women continue to suffer in silence for fear of being alone or losing their families.
“I am tired, I am not happy, I am stressed and it is getting worse”, she extolled.
Jackie says on many occasions her children have had to watch the violence and she is disturbed that it could already have drastic effects on them. She says that this last episode has compelled her to open up and talk about her suffering. It was only after the push from her friends, who have since vowed not to talk her, or have anything to do with her unless she seeks help or walks out of the abusive relationship.
From the hospital bed Jackie managed to make an appointment with Wangari Greiner of Maisha e.V. for counselling and psychological help, for both her and her boyfriend. Maisha e.V is renowned for helping women grappling with issues on gender based violence in Germany. It was originally focused on African women, but has reached out to other communities.
According to Big Kordinierung, an organization that strives to end domestic violence, violence against women takes place predominantly within the supposed protection of their own four walls, i.e. ‘at home’.
The organization says that a survey carried by the Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, Germany is affected by domestic violence of varying degrees by their current or former partner. It reads that violence is predominantly carried out by men and, in some cases, results in serious injury. The document cautions that men can also be the victims of violence within relationships. However, most acts of violence against men are committed in public and by other men. The document expounds.
Here are help lines and emergency lines.
Domestic Violence Helpline for Women: 0800 0116016
Sexual Abuse against Children Helpline: 0800-2255530
„Nummer gegen Kummer“: 0800-1110550
Seelsorge (Someone to talk to, also offered in English): 0800/1110111 or 0800/1110222
Muslim Seelsorge: 030 44 35 09 821
Helpline for people with a drinking problem (Also in English): 01803 AAHELP or 01803 224 357
Find a Frauenhaus in your area: Frauenhauskoordinierung.de
Jugendämter in Germany: Jugendämter.com
Alcoholic Anonymous meeting in your area: AA Meetings