NGOCC board chairperson Sara Longwe has warned parents against forcing their children to persevere in abusing marriages and end up getting killed.

Zambia has seen a sharp rise in cases of spouses killing each other, in some cases using guns and knives, as a result of domestic differences.

In an interview, Longwe said relatives are usually given signs when marriages start to fall, but they ignore because “lobola was paid”.

“Wives are killing their husbands because those men have been abusing those wives, and she has reached a point of no return. She is in self defence. These women are killing their husbands because society has let them down. Many times they have raised a point and they have been sent back to fend for themselves. Saying ‘we [were] paid lobola, you go back’. That’s what this marriage means, its shipikisha’. You are only a human being,” she said.

“There is a saying in English that ‘the worm has turned’. Normally a worm wouldn’t bite you, but there are worms which when pushed will bite you deadly. They have deadly poison but they don’t react angrily. It’s the same with human beings, you are put into a corner and you need to protect yourself. Its either you or your husband and you look at your children and you defend yourself to the fullest and sure enough somebody looses a life,” she explained.

Longwe said communities must also be answerable for allowing spouses to kill each other without intervening when the couples engaged in confrontational behaviour.

“We really need to interrogate the communities and ask why they are allowing killings. Because usually you will find that it is not the first time that these people are fighting. We wait until things become worse, we don’t believe in ‘a stitch in time serves nine stitches’,” said Longwe

This year’s 2017 third quarter GBV statistics have indicated that spouse killings have rampantly increased from last year.

“The total number of GBV cases reported country wide from the first quarter to the third quarter of 2017 is 16,090 cases compared to 13,092 GBV cases in 2016 during the same period giving an increase of 2,998 cases or 18.6 percent increase. There is an increase in physical type of Gender Based Violence cases such as Assault OABH, unlawful wounding and murder. People should learn to exercise restraint and patience in their marriages or affairs unlike getting physical every time they differ. In a healthy relationship, communication is paramount,” stated Police spokesperson Esther Katongo.