Mwende tells the Los Angeles Times that Ngila attacked her with a machete, slashing her face and hacking off her hands, enraged because she hadn’t produced children in nearly five years of marriage.
“I saw him, and he told me: ‘Today is your last day,’” she says. “I never thought something like this would happen to me.”
Ngila is in police custody, awaiting trial over the attack. Members of his family blame Jackline, describing her as a loose woman who may have been attacked by a business rival. They claim Ngila wasn’t at home when the incident occurred.
Mwende says she doesn’t complain about the pain she feels from her injuries.
“As a Christian, I can’t tell anyone to leave their marriage,” Mwende said. “But I’d like to talk about my personal story so other people, or other victims, may learn [from it] and speak up.”
Mwende met Ngila seven years ago and the couple married two years later in a church.
“At that time, he was a good man. He was a church man. The first days of our marriage were happy days. We were living well together as a husband and wife.”
Ngila began to blame her for their fertility problems after a 2014 visit with doctors, “and he found out that he had a problem,” she 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,’ then he would never go.”
“It reached a point that he suddenly changed. He started to get drunk,” she added. “That man never used to bring anything home. He was very brutal. He used to beat me.”
In Kenya, activists say domestic violence is common. 45% of Kenyan women between the ages 15 and 49 have experienced either physical or sexual violence, mostly at home.
“In most cases, every time there was a problem, I would run to our pastor,” Mwende said. “The pastor would always tell me, ‘Jackie, please persevere. That man will come to change one day.’ The pastor and the church elders would just encourage us.
I always wanted to protect my marriage so I decided to stay with him. I always hoped he would change, but he seemed not to heed the advice from our church pastor.”
When the attack happened in late July, neighbors heard screaming and called the police. One witness of the bloody scene told local media that the rooms were spattered in blood, with a severed hand on the floor. Mwende’s other hand was almost completely detached and couldn’t be saved.
“He thought he had killed me, but God is great,” she said.