THE Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in Chipata yesterday launched what they have dubbed the ‘Good Husband Campaign’ – an initiative to tackle gender-based violence (GBV), specifically violence against women and girls.
The campaign is quite unprecedented, especially that some husbands do not so much behave in a manner befitting of good spouses towards their wives. Their conduct has been bad, and they could, therefore, rightly be referred to as ‘bad husbands’.
Reports abound, mainly from the local courts, of wives seeking divorce from uncaring husbands who have abandoned them and moved in with their girlfriends.
Other men have been accused of not providing for their wives, in terms of buying food and paying rentals together with other necessities.
Still other men have been accused of simply abandoning their households and running away from their homes because of their failure to shoulder increasing responsibilities at home, or because the wife has fallen so sick.
Yet when tying the knot, either party vowed to hang on to the other, no matter what.
In worst case scenarios, husbands have been accused of brutality towards their wives whom they turn into punch bags, injuring them in the process, if not killing them.
Violence has in some cases not spared girl-children, some of whom have been abused, physically and sexually, by their fathers.
As Eastern Province Minister Malozo Sichone says, homes which are supposed to be havens of peace for wives and daughters have, unfortunately, turned out to be deadly because of ‘bad husbands’.
A very unfortunate situation indeed since these despicable acts are committed by men whom YWCA vice-chairperson Patricia Nyirenda says are expected to love, care and support their wives and daughters.
And as the minister says, the country has in place laws against gender-based violence and several husbands convicted of harming their spouses and daughters have been punished under these laws.
Yet no matter how stiff such punishment has been, this has not stopped the abuse of women by their husbands and partners. And it must be assumed that even if the Government stopped the withdrawal of GBV cases, as Minister Sichone suggests, GBV will not be eliminated.
It is clear that even with this campaign, cases of husbands abusing their wives will continue. However, this does not mean that people should just stand by and watch.
The launch of the ‘Good Husband Campaign’ is, therefore, a good idea.
We only hope that the campaigners will not just be calling for stiff punishment for the ‘bad’ husbands, but will also be preaching the message of love in marriages.
A married man must know that he has to show love for his wife in the same way the wife should love to her husband. In an atmosphere of love, violence, whichever way it goes, is unlikely.
Unlikely because when two persons of the opposite sex are joined together as husband and wife, we are told that they become one flesh that should not be torn apart by violence but will be knitted together by love.
This is what should be shown and taught even to those results of the marriage relationship – children so that they too should grow up with the spirit of love and care, as opposed to violence. OPINION