It was with some level of alarm that I read about couples facing jail over SMS. Apparently, SPOUSES risk spending two years in jail if they make abusive calls or send offensive messages to their partners when the Domestic Bill comes in place.
Alternatively, spouses face a fine of sh960, 000 for the offence if the law is passed.
In addition to imprisonment and paying a fine, the court may order perpetuators of domestic violence to compensate the victim more
Now, it is being argued by some that this is a way to curb domestic violence and thereby protect women, girls, boys and even men who might be in violent relationships, which I am all for.
What I am against is taking away the right for me to speak to my partner in whatever fashion I find appropriate. What I am objecting to, is the right to choose, the right to freedom of expression.
Who is to say that when I call my partner ‘honey” I am not being abusive/offensive. He might not find it as an endearing term as many do. What standard shall we use to determine if indeed I am being offensive or not?
Will the government write up this list and therefore put a curfew on what words I can and cannot use?
Will the government go as far as to claim that they are not justified in doing something like taping into private conversations, in the name of “protecting people from domestic violence”?
What happens if the call or text isn’t from an acknowledged partner? Does this make me less of a victim? Does it make it okay for ANYONE to be offensive as long as they are not in a formal relationship with you?
The loop holes in this thing (as reported in the New Vision) are too many to count and I cannot figure out why ANYONE would stand by and advocate for it to be signed. Is this just an attempt to get newspaper space? Is this a way for our representatives to show us that they are INDEED doing work in all those long meetings?
I can’t help but feel skeptical and disappointed at the same time.