I am around 10yrs old and I am at a family function. There are relatives everywhere in the yard and me and my younger cousins are sitting on a bench damn near licking our plates clean. My older cousin, ous Pankie, walks past, we like her a lot. She laughs at us with our mouths shiny from greasy food. We make fun of her shoes. She walks away with a glowing smile. Two weeks later, on a Saturday morning, we get a call that her husband hacked her to death with an axe. More recently, in this past week since Sunday, each day has brought more distressing revelations about how another relative was shot dead by her husband last Friday.
Stats say that every 8 minutes a woman is killed by her partner. Besides actually losing someone you love, the things that bring anguish to families are the questions that remain, possibly never to be answered. At the top of these questions is, “why?”. It is difficult to delve into such a topic without putting oneself in other people’s shoes and also taking from personal experience. The only view that I can give, is that of a guy.
From the get-go, Oscar Pistorius’s trial became more about legal prowess and gymnastics and feeding the beast of media. With his lawyer, Barry Roux attempting and often succeeding, to dismantle witnesses. It’s been the stuff of griping series. That is until we “heard Reeva’s voice”. As media splashed messages, once personal and intimate, across newspapers and sites everywhere. We were at once reminded that a living human being had been killed with ferocious brutality by someone, that only days prior, she had planned on cooking a loving meal for.
Some of the messages let us in on something that grieving families often want to ask their dearly departed daughters, “did you know he was like this? Why didn’t you leave?”
When a text quoted as, “I’m scared of you sometimes” surfaced, I believe many, many women were left shaken. Not just at the horror that Reeva seemed to have lived but, because they too had felt the same way about the person they probably still cared deeply for.
It is no secret that as men, past our masculinity and bravado, we are extremely sensitive beings. We are not very good at dealing with hurt, most especially hurt (we believe was) caused by someone we deeply care about. Our biggest weakness is forgiveness.
It seems when it comes to the killing of spouses, the pendulum swings on Anger. This is certainly what the State is trying to put to the court in the Oscar case. A story of a man with deep anger issues. I too, have heard the words, “you scare me”. It was around 10yrs ago. Screw it, we’re fam, right? So I’m going be real, this is what happened; me and her were having an argument. While I was going off, yena she was busy chatting on her phone. So I went for the phone. I grabbed it, she pulled it back, I pushed her – on to the bed. She started crying. That was the last time I did anything like that. Eventually, I outgrew my anger, as I suppose it happens when you snap out of the teenage condition. The reality is many, many guys have imagined killing their women. Heck, even Chris Rock has a joke about, “you’ve never really loved someone until you’ve stood in front of a mirror trying to come up with an alibi.” Most men have had that, “I’ll kill this woman” moment. It just ranges in degrees. It’s almost become a catchphrase.
In my flawed opinion, it’s not about anger. The two words you could use to describe my friends’ uncle were timid and quiet. That is until he covered his wife with enamel paint and burnt her to death. Before that, he probably wouldn’t have hurt a fly. Or would he? A person who sits and thinks about killing and actually does it, this person has more than anger. We all get angry. Acting out varies. Some throw things, some punch walls, some shout, and scream, some implode into a mess of tears and snot, some screw random strangers. What is difficult, yet important, is trying to figure out which one of these will put a bullet in your head. Also, we are often told that it is the people who never seem to get angry that you should worry about.
Men kill (their partners) and women stay for the exact same reason; a very warped sense of love. No matter how much we want to quote 1 Corinthians 13:4 on how “love is patient, love is…”, there are people who believe that it is love that pushed them to kill or stay with their abuser – would-be killers. “I loved her so much, I couldn’t stand seeing her with another man”, “I love her so much, if I can’t have her, no one can”.
Many women love broken men, and they know it. They know that they (the woman) are the only one who knows how deep their man’s issues are. If her man killed her, she would be the least surprised. Some things are more obvious. I guy who owns a gun is comfortable with killing. A man who slaps is capable of punching. A man who punches can kick. But, I don’t believe that killing someone is a natural progression from being angry with them. Murder forms part of a type of psychotic behaviour. Also, the killing of spouses is just based on disproportionate anger. Things like jealousy, bitterness, and feelings of not being man enough add on to make something more potent.
Yet, I believe that intrinsic to the state of being a woman, is the belief that we can change. No one will ever believe in a man as much as the woman who loves him, NO ONE! Women stay because they believe you can change. Once the belief has been bashed out of them, they stay because they are scared. Once the fear scars them physically and emotionally, they stay because they believe this is the only love they know. Sadly, it is this love that builds a bridge of forgiveness that a man uses cross from punching into kicking. The bridge that sits in flames as he sits in court.
As the headlines continue to read what is starting to seem like feminicide (the act of killing a woman for being a woman) many bae’s are looking at boo and asking themselves, “do I know?”
In the silence of their own moments, many men are also asking themselves, “am I capable of such”.
Ladies, how do you deal with “seeing the signs” while you are still truly in love with the guy? Fellaz…what pushes towards crossing the line?