Being 'chased away' has very different meanings in the UK and Kenya. If you're being chased away in the UK it generally means you need to run faster than the person who is chasing you. In Kenya if the headteacher at school threatens to “chase you” it doesn't mean a race is in the offing. It's a serious warning about being expelled.
When you are sat listening to a lady explaining to you that she was “chased away” by her husband's family it is a tragedy. Being chased away in these circumstances effectively means that you have been given up as a bad case and abandoned. In the worst case it means being sent packing from the home that you shared with the husband and left to your own devices. In many cases it's difficult for a wife who has been chased away to run back to her own family. She is left with very few options – abandoned, destitute and hopeless.
I heard about such a case this afternoon. The almost casual cruelty that people can inflict on each other appals me. The lady concerned was “chased” after the deaths of four children. This and her husband's rejection of her child by a previous relationship were, yet again, straight out of the pages of eighteenth century fiction. It's easy to be shocked by these situations as a westerner. Many people in the West would, I'm sure, write it off as yet another reason why it's not a very smart idea to give money and assistance to backward and uncivilised people, (totally ignoring the reality of serial polygamy as a consequence of divorce, single parenthood and teenage pregnancy in the more civilised and better educated west).
The consequences of being chased away in a society which has no welfare state as a safety net are awful. The world's oldest profession recruits from a wide range of circumstances – including wives who have been chased away by their in-laws. The fact that this is so commonplace does not make it any more palatable. Women are chased away because of family jealousies, by 'first wives' if a man has taken more than one wife, (which is common in our community), and because of 'unnatural' events, (like the death of four children at a young age).
A cup of tea and some biscuits seems a very poor way to try and console somebody in these circumstances. Railing against the community that allows it to happen is a waste of time – it doesn't change much. The only way I can really square the issues that it raises is to believe that teaching the next generation to learn from the mistakes of its parents will, eventually, cause a change. It's long overdue.