These women got married. But it wasn't for love
Updated 12:36 AM ET, Sat May 4, 2019
Kitawasi, Tanzania — After leaving her husband, Boke Chaha, 25, married a widow. But it wasn't for love.
"I was over men," said Chaha, a member of the Kuria tribe who lives in the Tanzanian village of Kitawasi, near the border of Kenya. "I chose to come stay with this woman, to help each other."
She wed 64-year-old Christina Wambura five years ago, under the Kuria tradition of nyumba ntobhu, or "house of women." The practice allows an older woman without male descendants to marry a younger woman -- who has sons or may have them in the future -- ensuring her legacy won't get lost. But it also offers women something else: safety.
Over 78% of women in the Mara region, where the Kuria tribe makes up the majority of the population, have been physically, sexually or psychologically abused by their husbands, according to government data. It is the highest domestic violence rate in all of Tanzania. For an increasing number of Kuria women, nyumba ntobhu has provided an exit strategy.