Man ditches wife for giving birth to triplets

Date: January 1, 1970
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This article tells the story of a woman whose husband left her after she gave birth do triplets.

The article may be used to:
  • raise discussions about gender insensitive behaviour and gender inequalities related to care work;
  • raise discussions about the need to economically empower women;
  • show some forms of gender based violence are not just physical, but economic and emotional;
  • show cultural beliefs and practices that contribute to GBV as well as fuel the spread of HIV and AIDS;
  • show instances when women are portrayed as victims in the media. however, the article shows that the woman in the story is willing to work in order to support her family; 
  •  raise discussion about media as advocates, in this case carrying the woman’s appeal for assistance;
  • discuss problem with single sourcing.
Trainers’ notes
The article shows that there are many forms of gender based violence women go through. The woman discussed in the article, Chipo Tembo may have suffered emotional, psychological and economic abuse because of her husband’s behaviour. It also demonstrates the gender unequal burden of care, men are often able to leave behind children and family, whereas women are not. It also shows how culture, and lack of understanding of reproductive biology, can affect choices. In this case the men considered the twins a “bad omen.”
The story however lacks balance as there is only once source, Chipo Tembo. To make it balanced, the writer could have at least attempted to get either the husband or any of his relatives to hear their side of the story. The writer could have also attempted to get a comment from any traditionalist or elderly person so that they comment about the cultural beliefs associated with giving birth to triplets in a family. It should however be noted that the writer mentioned that efforts to get a comment from the father were effortless.
Discussion Questions
  • Discuss gender issues that are raised in the article.
  • Do participants think that if the triplets had turned out to be all male, the husband would still have left his wife? Give reasons for the answers given.
  •  Who else could have been interviewed to make the story more balanced and gender sensitive, even if the father could not be reached?
  • What other cultural beliefs can impact on women?
  •  What are the risks associated with the husband’s behaviour.
  •  Whose responsibility it is to look after children?
  • How does economically empowering women impact on family health?
 Training Exercises
  • Research various cultural beliefs and practices around childbirth. Write a commentary.
  • Ask participants to list the forms of abuse that Chipo Tembo was exposed to. Also list down other forms of violence that both men and women are occasionally exposed to.
  • Conduct a time use survey. How do men and women use their time differently? What are the gender differences in care?
  • Research statistics around men who leave their wives after childbirth. What are the key reasons given?
Links to other training resources
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