There is no excuse for abuse
  • There is no excuse for abuse, murder can happen in any relationship
  • Whether premeditated or manslaughter, abuse and murder can happen to anyone
  • Seek professional help if and when we realise that we have anger management issues

When Kenyan 15s rugby player, Mike Okombe was stabbed to death by his girlfriend, it awoke – not our compassionate sides - but our biases, prejudices and stereotypes.  

And so it goes …

“Women from that tribe murder their husbands for property.”

“That relationship was a tragic accident waiting to happen.”

I do not know the devil whose advocate I am, or the circumstances of the tragedy, but what I know is that no relationship is fool proof. And I know that murder can happen in any relationship.

I also know that a tribe does not commit murder; a person commits murder. And we will be narrow-minded if we put the sin of one person on an entire community.

Three seconds’ rule

A friend recently told me about what he calls, “three seconds’ rule”. He opined that, in the heat of spousal arguments, we tend to lose our heads and three seconds can make or break a relationship or, what’s worse, make one to break the law.

He told me of one such time, when the three seconds seemed like three eternities. It was early morning.

Their son came into the kitchen, where they were going at each other. One of the buttons on their son’s school shirt was stuck, and it always gave the little boy problems in the morning.

“The only way to unstick the button was with a kitchen knife,” he said, adding that, all throughout the three seconds it him took to pry the buttonhole with a knife, he was aware that one thing could lead to another, with tragic consequences.  

Get out of the kitchen

When arguments escalate, most men – and some women - find it hard to extricate themselves from the situation, because of ego or because they feel they are right. But, at such times, walking away can be the bravest thing that a man can do.  

The “kitchen” can get too hot and, in such circumstances, accidents are bound to happen. If and when the heat gets too much, get out of the kitchen, whether you are right or being wronged.  

Talk a walk. Put on some loud music, put on your earphones and let the music take you to another planet. Taking a walk does not mean that you are weak.

Get out of the equation

Other times we need to walk out of a relationship, regardless of the investment that we have poured into it or what people will think or say.

When we are victims of domestic abuse - and are stuck with a partner who promises that they will change, but they only change for the worse - we should be courageous enough to leave while we still can.

There is no excuse for abuse. I want my wife to respect me, not to fear me. When push comes to shove, fear can lead to retaliation. But respect often leads to reciprocity.  

When one thing leads to another

There are times when a partner commits a premeditated murder. They are methodical about it. They plan and execute their homicide with ruthlessness.

Then there are times when one thing leads to another. When, the previous night, your hand had balm for your spouse’s lower back pain, and today the hands are soaked with blood.   

“Those three seconds are usually the threshold moment,” my friend told me, “and one domino will lead to another, and before you know it lives will have fallen part, some literally.”

Still, whether premeditated or manslaughter, abuse and murder are inexcusable. Which is why we should seek professional help if and when we realise that we have anger management issues.