As the messages and images poured on social media, as the phones rang back to back and the text messages clogged our phones though sometimes with beautiful Mother’s Day greetings and renditions, I could not help but to join in acknowledging women far and near.
However, as churches prayed for and families celebrated in style the women in their midst, I also prayed for one woman whose tragic act broke the front page of the Daily Graphic on Saturday, May 11, 2019.
My eyes welled up at a point on that Mother’s Day praying for a 45-year-old woman who the paper reported had chillingly murdered her husband. She allegedly hit his head several times with a flat grinding stone while he slept, leading to his death. The couple had been married for two decades with no children. That certainly was an anticlimax to all the goodness the world was applauding in women.
According to information available to the police, that was not the first time the woman had violently attacked her late husband. The first attack, using a pestle, was allegedly reported to the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU). The most disturbing piece of information given by sources close to the woman, however, was that she sometimes went hysterical, complaining about failure to produce children in two decades of married life.
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Sad as the case was, the woman must have gone through bouts of psychological torment knowing that try as she may have done, she could not hold a baby of her own as her biological clock ticked on. Was she psychologically troubled and no one got nearer to help? She must have lived with pain and anguish the best part of the 20 years, feeling lonely, no matter how happy the marriage looked on the outside.
Unfortunately, that is the pain many more women go through because ours is a society that frowns on childlessness. It is always the woman’s fault when a couple fails to produce children. Even though doctors have advised several times that couples must seek medical help which now abounds, most often than not, it is always the woman who ends up walking that path alone and in silent agony.
There are stories of women who get bothered so much in such situations, constantly hallucinating and driven to incredible extremes such as stealing other people’s babies. Others fake pregnancy and move away to other jurisdictions only to return with adopted babies. That probably is not a bad idea if only as a society we could make our adoption laws friendlier and most important, demystify adoption and intensify education on the process of adoption in this country.
The other pressure this society burdens women with is marriage. For as long as one is born a woman, she must marry. A woman who crosses a certain age unmarried is viewed in a different eye. The pressure from close family could drive many into undesirable relationships. This same society of ours tends to forget that ours is the type that would not take kindly to a woman proposing to a man. It is unheard of. But for as long as we have more women than men, there would always be excess single women around.
Tragic as it is, for a woman to go to the unfortunate extent of murdering a husband meant that she was troubled psychologically. And is it not sad that after the tragic incident last week some close sources of the couple allegedly informed the police that she used to hysterically complain about her barrenness? The police were informed that at least one case of violent attack on the husband was reported to DOVVSU. So it meant that the signs of depression were there. What actions and follow-ups, therefore, did DOVVSU do to help the woman and save the life of the husband? Would they have taken a different approach had it been a case of an abused woman?
Such tragic domestic abuses should not be allowed to go on with families and neighbours looking on unconcerned. We should not leave such cases to “husband and wife matter” or “go home and settle your differences”. Family and friends need to take interest in and look out for one other, especially when strange behaviours start to show up. Our DOVVSU should help get to the bottom of domestic violence and save victims from tragic ends. A stitch in time could have saved this man’s life and given needed treatment to a broken woman.
May the victim’s soul rest in peace.