‘Wife beaters belong in jail’

A Bulawayo magistrate says habitual wife beaters must be jailed in order for them to learn a lesson.

Magistrate Lizwe Jamela said this while delivering judgment in a case in which a Bulawayo man, Jethro Bajila (35) had appeared in court for allegedly physically abusing his wife.

The magistrate expressed concern over the prevalence of domestic violence cases that have been brought before the courts, especially of men physically abusing their wives.

He noted that most men take advantage of the fact that women end up withdrawing charges before completion of the cases yet when they get back home their men resume their violence.

The State, represented by Lynia Hwicha, told the court that on December 31 and at 8 pm, Bajilla was driving home with his wife Sheilla from town when he assaulted her.

“Bajilla accused his wife of infidelity after he had seen a message on her phone. He assaulted her with open hands on the face and went on to strangle her,” said Hwicho.

Bajila profusely apologised to the court for his actions and vowed not to repeat the offence again.

His wife, who was also called from the gallery by the magistrate, pleaded with the court to give him another chance.

She said it was his first time to lay hands on her and although she was hurt when she made the report, she had forgiven him.

Although Bajilla’s wife had tendered a withdrawal affidavit for the matter, magistrate Jamela convicted him and gave him a wholly suspended sentence on condition he does not commit a similar offence in the next five years.

“This court sentences you to nine months in jail, wholly suspended on condition you do not commit a similar offence for the next five years. The reason for this sentence is because most men, after being forgiven by their wives, go back home and resume beating them again,” he said.

“The prevalence of such cases is quite worrying. You find that when a woman makes a report, the man’s relatives leaps in and pressure her into withdrawing the charges. Due to failure to stand her ground, she tenders in a withdrawal affidavit.”

The magistrate said abusive men belong in prison cells where they can be subjected to physical abuse from their male counterparts so that they appreciate the amount of pain they inflict on their women.

“What is saddening is that once the beating starts it never stops. The next time a woman gets beaten there won’t be a chance to write another withdrawal affidavit because she would have died. These courts have a mandate to send out a stern message to all men out there who hit their women so that they may refrain from such behaviour,” said Jamela.

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