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LONG CHAIN OF ABUSE

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My deepest heartfelt sympathy goes out to the victims and families of those who have fallen victim to the escalating murder cases being reported in our media these days.

It is impossible not to notice the cruel way women are murdered and at times, Eswatini seems like a nation of wife and girlfriend killers. Women and men are attached to each other, they even choose to live together, but there’s always a point where things can get ugly.  For women, however, ugly can mean violence. With so many ways for men to let off steam, why do they choose to kill? The shameless, untold fact is that plenty of these killers are just insecure. Too timid to bond with fellow men, they turn their partners into the lone confidantes of their gutted egos, protectors of their hidden fears and neurotic needs. They all look to women to soothe them, heal their wounds, carry the pain when they can’t. But for some of these guys who kill, especially these loners, they feel frustrated, hurt, and angry when their needs aren’t met.

I’m starting to think that maybe we need to start doing men empowerment campaigns as well. Most men think of violence as an immensely empowering experience. Power is always at the centre of their motives, they have a sense of entitlement. Even when they are not in a relationship with the woman, they just assume ownership just because she is a woman. Look at David Simelane, it is pretty obvious that he adores himself. He confessed to grossly killing all those women more than a decade ago, but he still hasn’t suffered the consequences of his actions. Instead, he is being fed and clothed and given attention in jail. What man would be discouraged from killing a woman if this one man who killed over 30 women hasn’t suffered for it?

While we can tirelessly lash out at men who kill women, we should not turn a blind eye on the fact that women are also doing nothing about it. It is hard to imagine how seriously women have taken the vows, ‘till death do us part’.
If one could do a follow up on all the murder cases reported daily, one would sadly find out that there was a steady indication of abuse and violence way before the actual killing. Abuse does not start when the man hits a woman hard enough to leave bruises or kill her. It starts when he raises his voice at her, treats her like a doormat, raises his hand and eventually hits her. What we see and read in the newspapers is the end result of a long chain of abuse on the same woman who never did anything about it, and eventually ends up dead. The women who watch the abuse from a distance do nothing about it either, ‘as long as it’s not me’. Every Swati can attest to at least once in their life hearing someone say the words, ‘Tibi tendlu, or kubindvwa kubonwa,’. But for how long will this cruelty against women go on, until women go extinct?

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