‘I pray you, do not fall in love with me, for I am falser than vows made in wine’

(Shakespeare, As you like it – Act 3, Scene 5).

The best part of wedding ceremonies for me is the aspect where the partners swear to vows of till death do us part. The woman in beautiful white wedding dress and the man in a shade of suit that matches their wedding colour, exchanging wedding bands and symbolically saying they would be together forever.

Sadly, but truthfully, partners sometimes by themselves use unnatural courses to live out their vows of making death do them apart. For a set of people, the ultimate sacrifice where one partner kills the other and himself/herself, is termed Intimate Partner Homicide-Suicide (IPHS).

IPHS is an extreme occurrence in intimate partner violence because it normally ends in the death of both partners; but thankfully, the odds are favorable because it is not as common as other types of partner violence but it happens! Females are the commoner to fall victims of IPHS, as about three-fourth of the perpetrators are males.

Recently, in the Lekki area of Lagos, it was reported that a man fatally stabbed a woman with whom he had 7 years’ relationship filled with a lot of complications but with two children. According to the news, the man had gone to do paternity tests for the children apparently to know if he was their father and found one not to be his. The man who was reportedly quite older and stronger than the woman tied her, sealed her mouth, removed her braids and stabbed her on the head and eyes after which, he must have taken sniper (a pesticide) to end his own life too.

IPHS is more common in relationships characterized by violence and abuse. The domestic violence could be to the extreme necessitating sometimes separation or divorce.  It is mostly seen in relationships of young adults (homicidal) and in the elderly partners (suicidal). The means of perpetuating this act is often through lethal means and ingesting poisons are sometimes employed.

 The perpetrators are usually overly controlling. This in itself is a symptom of intimate partner violence. The control like in the case mentioned above is necessitated because of issues of paternity, anger, honor/face saving, etc. In many societies men want to exert exclusive rights over their women and they threaten to kill or commit suicide to achieve this. This feeling is partly fueled by jealousy. When the perpetrator perceives that he is losing control, he demands control by any means (out of reason).  Other risk factors could be the physical and mental health statuses of the perpetrator. The perpetrator may want to end his misery occasioned by physical health or feel a sense of duty to end the misery of the partner because of burden of care.

It becomes difficult to intervene after IPHS has happened except to bury the decedents. This is why it is very important to act fast when partners are having issues. Sometimes in relationship, delay in resolving problems may be dangerous. Diamondmoor Psychological Consult Services is poised to help resolve intimate partner problems before it gets out of hand. We are dedicating the period from 13th July to August 7th to help those who might have been victims of any act of sexual/gender based violence with free psychotherapy services at our facility, Yes, at absolutely NO COST!

This service is on the company. We are doing this because we believe that even God is not interested in your death because you are in a relationship. Please contact us [email protected], 022914084, +234 8128276962.