The daughter of Kenyan-born Australian Senator Lucy Gichuhi has defend her father, William Gichuhi, against her mother's claims that he was an abusive husband.
In her newly released memoir, Behind The Smile: From the Slopes of Mount Kenya to Commonwealth Parliament of Australia, Ms. Gichuhi reveals she suffered physical and emotional abuse in the hands of her husband of more than 30 years.
She also discloses that her husband cheated on her with one of her sisters and that she once caught them in bed.
“I momentarily thought of smashing his head with a drink bottle but then I remembered that I am an Australian now and domestic violence law would catch up with me,” says Gichuhi.
She also writes of an incident where her husband eavesdropped on one of her phone conversations as she expressed frustration on his refusal to support the family.
“All hell broke loose, William did not say a single thing to me that whole week. He was furious…I asked him about a bill that needed to be paid. Suddenly, he charged at me like a raging bull and slapped me so hard across the face. He then hit the wardrobe with his hand and broke the mirror but hurt his hand, which started bleeding,” she narrates.
“I was terrified, confused and shattered all at the same time. It brought back memories of being in Kenya when William had hit me hard and slapped me around the face after an argument,” she adds.
However, speaking to a Kenyan news outlet,Joy Muringi, Ms. Gichuhi's daughter, has accused her mother of publishing the book for selfish gains.
“Out of the three decades mentioned, I lived with my parents for 21 years of them. Never have I ever seen physical or emotional abuse. I am actively against domestic violence as it has sadly been a part of my extended families so I would never ever defend an abuser,” says Muringi.
"However, I am utterly disgusted that my mother would use her senatorial position to defame a wonderful man,” she adds.
She says that when their mother told them she would be releasing a book, they all thought she would be writing about her success story.
“My mother did not write the book from home when she first mentioned she was writing a book several months ago, we thought it was about her own life not about exposing this family unnecessarily so we left her to her own devices,” she notes.
Muringi also dismisses claims that her dad is not supportive, explaining that he played the roles of both father and mother while the Senator was busy with politics.
"From the beginning, my father has had to play both the father, being the protector, provider, and the mother, being the nurturer, the soft one you run to when you are hurt."
“When my mother lost her job, she alleged he was unsupportive. That is nonsense when she was spending long nights at the library, he paid for everything including my pocket money so I could go out with friends,” Ms. Muringi says.
“Sure, he was not the best husband as their marriage was rocky but he was supportive in the sense that he never complained when he had to do both his share and her share of the housework."