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Daughter of GBV survivor murdered as history repeats itself 40 years later

In 1983, Piah's Njoki made international headlines after an attack by her husband left her blind. 40 years later, her daughter has been murdered

Helen Murugi Njoki's eulogy

In 1983, a harrowing incident in Kirinyaga County shocked Kenya to its core and brought the issue of domestic violence into the national spotlight.

Piah Njoki, a resilient mother, became the unfortunate victim of a brutal attack by her husband, Jackson Kagwai.

In an unimaginable act of violence, Kagwai gouged out Piah's eyes in a fit of rage over not having a son. At the time of the attack, she was pregnant with yet another girl, who was born as Helen Murugi Njoki.

This horrific attack left Piah blind, but it also ignited a fire within her to survive and thrive despite her circumstances.

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Piah's story quickly became a symbol of the fight against domestic violence.

The sheer brutality of her ordeal captured the nation's attention and also made international headlines.

Organizations such as the International Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya Section (FIDA-K) rallied to her cause, advocating for stronger protections and legal reforms to protect women from such heinous acts.

Her husband was found guilty of causing grievous harm and jailed for seven years.

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Meanwhile, Njoki who had been teacher, was forced to adjust to her new life as a person living with disability having to learn braille in order to keep up with the news direction of her career and raise her children. She died in 2009 due to diabetic complications.

Fast forward to May 24, the child Njoki was heavily pregnant with when her husband attacked her faced a similar fate of gender-based violence.

Helen Murugi Njoki was born on May 24, 1984 and grew up under the shadow of her mother's traumatic past.

She attended Mugumo-ini Primary School and later St. Agnes Boarding School, excelling in her studies.

Helen furthered her education at Munoru Highlands School, where she completed her KCSE exams.

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Helen's professional journey led her to become a successful businesswoman and a talented makeup artist.

She gained respect in her community for her skills and her dedication to her work.

More importantly, Helen was a loving mother to her two children.

She managed to balance her career and family life, providing a stable and nurturing environment for her children.

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Despite her successes and the semblance of normalcy she built, Helen's life was tragically cut short on May 31, 2024.

In a chilling and heart-wrenching twist of fate, Helen was murdered by her husband, an act that starkly mirrored the violence her mother had endured four decades earlier.

This brutal act left her family and community in profound shock and grief, serving as a grim reminder of the persistent and pervasive issue of domestic violence.

Editor's Note:

Report cases of sexual violence to the Wangu Kanja Foundation through toll free line 1519.

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Intimate partner violence can also be reported through 24-hour national helpline for gender-based violence 1195.

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