SAD news broke yesterday about a pregnant Chivhu woman who beheaded her four daughters and set the family house on fire before handing herself to the police following a dispute with her husband over infidelity.

EDITORIAL COMMENT

It was indeed a sad day for motherhood in the country. No one can ever, even in their wildest dreams, expect such an unthinkable thing to happen.

Life is precious and some people spend millions in hospital bills to boost their fertility and chances to have a child, but the Chivhu woman chose to take life. Not hers, but that of four innocent blooming flowers which she compounded by trying to drink poison while she was pregnant, in effect attempting to take two more lives.

Cases of both domestic and gender-based violence are increasing, especially during these times when the country is reeling under harsh economic conditions.

The situation will likely get worse, hence it is time we invested in counselling.

Research has established that violent behaviour is often a result of an individual’s interaction with various situational and individual factors, meaning community and other cultural influences come to play, if not influenced by alcohol or drugs.

Studies have also shown that children are the most victims of domestic violence. The violence can cause physical and emotional harm not only to children, but all people close to the disturbing behaviour. Children can suffer emotional stress, depression and even sleeping disorders.

In this case, it is not only sad that the children lost their lives, it is devastating and unimaginable for any community.

It is difficult to imagine what was going on in the mind of the woman, what sort of demons was she dealing with which made her lose her mind.

This goes a long way in explaining the importance of mental health, which we have ignored for generations. Who can imagine a mother slitting her child’s throat in front of the others? Imagine the trauma they went through while watching the gruesome deed.

Couples do have misunderstandings and it is very important to seek counselling and monitor each other until the emotional wounds are healed.

It is important for people to learn how to diffuse violent situations, which should start with situational awareness and understanding of each other’s state of mind.

Government should invest in counselling. In the past, traditional leaders were the custodians of ensuring peace in families, but with the advent of courts, home-grown solutions to solving domestic disputes have been discarded and this has brought about tension.

People should seek counselling instead of engaging in needless loss of life.

Mental health is an important issue and counselling is one of its biggest remedies. Government should also invest in social workers to conduct counselling in communities.

As a country, we cannot afford to ignore this anymore.

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