Are Bathroom Doors Killing SA Women?

2016-08-23 13:20

This morning’s arrest of Jason Rohde for the murder of his wife made me think of bathroom doors. The announcement had me wondering if it isn’t high time that South African men should be required to apply for a license before being allowed to own one.

Much like the anti –gun lobby in the USA that has an active campaign against firearm ownership, it might be worth considering how many lives would be spared if there were tighter door (controls) in the country. It goes without saying that those in favour of free access (to doors) would demand that we accept that doors don’t kill people that it is the people who do. But the fact that any man is able walk into a shop and purchase a bathroom door has to be somewhat of a concern. No FICA, no RICA and no Police Report. Anyone, no matter the age can simply walk out of a store with a bathroom door casually slung over his shoulder, strength permitting.

According the current reports, Rhode’s wife was found strangled behind a locked door in the bathroom at the Spier Hotel where the couple was staying. They were apparently on some sort of conference – which might possibly have been deathly dull, but hardly reason enough to encourage suicide or murder (as tempting as it might be as a dramatic form of escape). There is also talk of a bar fight (of sorts) the night before when Mrs. Rhode hurled accusations of an extra marital affair, but these remain, at this stage at least, just that.

According to Jason Rhode, on Sunday morning his wife had chosen to get ready for the day, in the bathroom. He was scheduled to give at talk to the attendees at breakfast. Mrs. Rhode apparently took longer than expected to do so, and whilst waiting for this process to reach its conclusion, he fell back asleep. And whereas many a husband could well grow old or bald or grey or even shuffle off the mortal coil whilst waiting for his better half to complete the “Five Minutes!” she promised it would take, Mr. Rohde did the second least manly thing of all, and he fell asleep. Of course the winner of the least manly alternative was that which the police suggest he did, which is that he strangled her, positioned her in the bathroom and created the appearance that she ended her own life.

And so, much like the Oscar story when locked bathroom doors seemed to play a vital and significant role in understanding and decoding the complexity of the events that led to a conviction of murder, it would seem that South Africans are set to be assaulted by for the next few months at least by bathroom doors. Doors that failed to protect the women who lay murdered.

Bathroom doors have once again raised their ugly heads.

Just as the murder of women by their partners has. And whereas it is important to reaffirm that Jason Rhodes is the accused and not the convicted, and that due process needs to be followed before he is labeled as one, the appalling statistics of woman who are murdered by their partners is both horrifying and shameful. Men indeed kill women and it would seem that bathroom doors do little to protect them.

To be clear, I am not a fan of ablutions without privacy. I am amazed at people who build homes with baths, showers and toilets all over the show. It unnerves me greatly to even visit such a place and become tremendously anxious that I might, at any given moment, just when I least expect it, stumble head over a person washing their hair. Or worse. And until the recent scourge of men slaughtering their wives (the latest being alleged only), I considered it silly. Now I wonder.

The sensible alternative is that South African men stop murdering woman. That we acknowledge that we have a problem and that we start dealing with with the fact that women are not safe. Even in their own homes. And that once and for all we open the door on this foul subject.

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