Signs that you are in a relationship with a potential murderer

Saturday July 16 2022
Murder
By Salome Gregory

Before tying the knot, women are usually given a lot of advice on what to expect and what is expected of her in wedlock. She is made to understand the fact that marriage is not all rosy and that patience is all it takes to have a happy and lasting one.

Although things are changing slowly, the bride-to-be has always been advised against ever giving up on her marriage, no matter what. Prayer is supposed to be her only weapon and she is assured that with time, everything would be alright.

When things become intolerable and she decides to go back home, she is sent back to her husband’s house. What some parents don’t seem to understand is the fact that whatever made her leave her marital home (abuse in most cases) could culminate in either permanent disability or death.

Given the recent spike in killings of women by intimate partners, is this culture still worth keeping?

Elizabeth Lupembe, 62, is in support of uprooting the pumpkin in the old homestead. She says it’s time society got rid of the outdated tradition of forcing girls to tolerate abusive partners expecting them to change.

The mother of six says back then, most parents feared being asked to return the dowry if their daughters quit the marriage as they could not afford to do so due to poverty. Although the trend is still rife in society, the good news is that more women are getting educated today and are therefore becoming finacially independent. For these women, it’s easy quitting abusive relationships.

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“Back in the days only men used to work and they therefore used to support both families (his and hers). This support from in-laws served as a blackmail tool at times, necessitating the girls’ parents to remain tight-lipped when trouble arose,” Lupembe says.

It’s for this reason that human rights activists are now considering giving equal opportunities to both the girl-child and boy-child as far as sensitisation campaigns are concerned.

Lupembe thinks there’s a need to focus on teaching both girls and boys to respect each other and to always find better ways to solve their problems rather than being violent.

Renown pastor Daniel Mgogo says in one of his famous videos that if a woman is beaten by her husband, there is no reason for her to hold on to the marriage.

Speaking to Woman, the pastor said beatings have never helped solve marital problems. He equates being in such a relationship to imprisonment. He says, the aim of the video mentioned above is to encourage women to be economically independent so as to earn respect in marriage.

“Spouse beatings lead to anger and hatred. There is no love in such a relationship. I don’t advise women to stay in such marriages. It’s better walking out rather than getting hurt in the name of marriage.”

Many women don’t quit to just keep up appearances. They stay to fit into society’s expectations but when they get killed, the same society wonders why they never left if things were that bad.

Every now and then, we wake up to shocking news of murders of women by partners. On Thursday this week for example, newspapers carried a story of a 48-year-old man in Mwanza Region, who killed his wife on jealousy grounds.

Over a month ago in the same region, the news of a man who killed his wife for the same reasons before taking his own life hit the headlines. The news sent shock waves across the country with everyone wondering what had come over the seemingly innocent man.

In January, a woman identified as Teddy Mallya, a resident of Ilboru Kisiwani in Arusha was found dead on a farm, her body with several injuries. The married woman is said to have been killed by a lover.

Another incident was reported in Dodoma the same month where one Rufina Komba was found dead in her house after her husband killed her. Neighbours described her husband as a cool person who they did not expect to perform such a brutal act.

In February in Mwanga, Kilimanjaro Region, two men jointly killed a woman they were sharing unknowingly. They raped her before ending her life.

In Dar es Salaam last month, an unidentified woman was found dead at a certain hotel. A lover is believed to have been behind her death.

Although official statistics could not be obtained from the police, the few above incidents should be cause for alarm. And such incidents are no exception to Tanzania.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, some 47,000 women and girls worldwide were killed by their intimate partners or other family members in 2020.

This means that, on average, a woman or girl is killed by someone in her own family every 11 minutes.

Something needs to be done to stop the killings. To start with, women need to know the signs to look out for to avoid being the next murder victims.

Dar es Salaam-based psychologist, Charles Nduku says, a man who is more controlling and possessive is most likely to kill.

He says it is normal for men to be jealous of their women but overdoing it and controlling everything in a woman’s life can be dangerous once a woman decides to go her own way.

“Possessive and controlling men are not ready to see a woman decide for herself. This makes them even more obsessed. If a woman is not careful enough to read the man’s reactions when they fight, she is in danger of losing her life if things are not well sorted in the early stages.”

Threats are another sign as well as physical abuse. Threats like, ‘there is no way you can decide things on your own,’ ‘one day you will regret what you are doing to me’ should be a matter of concern. Nduku advises women with such partners to run for their lives.

Abusing a woman is enough sign he can kill. And when it happens the second time, the abuse tends to be more severe than the first time. This is because family members will be involved in solving this mess and the man will feel ashamed and not trusted any more.

“It is advisable not to stay after the first abuse incident but due to society’s pressure and the fear of how people will perceive a woman, the majority choose to stay.

Staying increases the chances of losing one’s life in future,” adds Nduku.

Karoli Mabula, a counseling psychologist at CounselingTz Consulting, says being a murderer is a psychological problem connected to mental illness. When one kills, they believe they would benefit from the act. The expert says, stress, depression and loneliness are some of the triggers for murder. If your partner fits the description and you are not ready to seek help, you have to be careful as he is likely to kill you.

“People kill when they have no right answers to their questions and when they don’t get advice on how best to solve their problems. It is important to have conversations in marriage and make use of experts when things go wrong. Failure to do so will lead to unending feuds,” says Mabula.