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Love is not worth dying for

Saturday November 30 2019

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Friends and family hold a vigil for Ivy Wangeci in Nyeri Town on April 17, 2019; she was allegedly killed by a dejected lover. Over the past 11 months, eight women in Kenya are killed in a crime of passion every month. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JOAN THATIAH
By JOAN THATIAH
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These past weeks, there has seen a string of love-related murders.

First, 31-year-old Joyce Syombua was murdered with her two children and their bodies stuffed in gunny bags and buried in a shallow grave in Nanyuki.

Then faith Wangui, a 25-year-old mother of two went missing only for her mutilated body to be discovered by herders dumped in the Menengai forest in Nakuru.

Barely a week later, journalist Eric Oloo was found in a pool of blood, beaten to death in the house of a police inspector he had been cohabiting with. There have been many more. Too many, I dare say.

Love turned sour becoming a motivation for murder is a terrible phenomenon, but it is not new.

The frequency at which it is happening now, however, is making romantic relationships a dangerous place to be.

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

It's making love seem like a dangerous weapon. The statistics are staggering.

According to a report by audit firm KPMG, in the past 12 months, 505,000 women in Kenya have taken time off work because of domestic violence. As a result, our economy has lost Sh5 billion.

Over the past 11 months, eight women in Kenya are killed in a crime of passion every month.

Data from the femicide awareness platform Counting Dead Women Kenya shows that 25 women were murdered by men between January and February this year alone.

Forty-six women were victims of femicide between January and May. By November 16, this figure had risen to 82 cases of reported femicide.

The average Kenyan knee-jerk reaction every time one more body is found is to warn women - and men - to leave abusive relationships.

WELL-PLANNED

While this advice is well-intended, I do not agree with the assumption that murder is the inevitable result of violence in a relationship.

These murders are not just cases of wife or husband beating that got out of hand. They are deliberate and well-planned and that 'things just got out of hand' excuse just can't hold water.

The only thing that's clear about why these murders are happening is that love has got something to do with it.

This all reminds me of another murder that happened six years ago when a 34-year-old woman named Leah Muthoni stabbed to death her 21-year-old lover, Adrian, in an apartment in Kinoo.

Adrian had been promiscuous and the thought of losing him was, apparently, too heavy for Leah to bear.

When questioned at her arrest, she said that if the relationship was to end, it was either he dies or she dies. If he was alive, she couldn't live without him.

SOURCE OF MISERY

Romantic love is a big deal. Modern culture has continually held love and being in a romantic relationship as an important part of personal fulfilment and happy existence.

A young man or woman is never considered fulfilled or accomplished until they have found someone to love them.

This is where we went wrong. Holding love in such high regard has turned it into a source of so much misery.

The truth is that romantic love or relationship status isn't the only important part of a person's identity, it shouldn't be.

The other truth is that your significant other isn't your identity. They weren't intended to be. That would be too much responsibility. Love isn't all you need. And yes, it's replaceable.

Maybe it's also time we all eased up on the raised brows when a relationship ends. I think there is dignity in walking away from a relationship that has failed.

I mean, every day you spend in a toxic relationship is one day longer you spend apart from someone you are better matched with.

The columnist is the author of the book, Things I Will Tell My Daughter

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