A while ago, a certain woman suspected that her husband was having an affair and decided to confront him in order to lay the matter to rest.
The woman decided to enlist the aid of a female friend or relative (I don’t remember) to assist her in interrogating her husband over the allegations and so the pair took the man to task.
They questioned; interrogated, yelled, shouted, hurled insults; screamed at the top of their voices and generally caused a horrible racket as profanities and obscenities spewed out of their mouths.
The man decided to walk out of the room and the wife followed him pelting him with vulgar words and bludgeoning his ears with a constant stream of raw and abusive vocabulary.
He didn’t answer. He couldn’t answer.
In the face of this verbal onslaught – the man was rendered a mute, defenceless victim of the worst kind of demeaning, degrading and abusive attacks – the effects of verbal abuse have been known to render some men impotent.
He walked away because he knew that he was no match for his wife in the shouting stakes; that he was not equipped with the ability to wield his tongue as a lethal weapon to maliciously strip another person of any shred of human dignity they possessed.
That is the power of verbal abuse; the power to reduce a grown man into a dithering, cowering and fleeing fool.
As the verbal violence escalated, as the woman persisted in her attack, as the insults rained like an avalanche of blows on that man he kept walking and she kept following – then to defend himself he turned around and hit her.
Retaliating to the verbal violence through means he thought would be most effective – physical violence.
For the shredding of his sense of dignity – that man chose to attack his wife and with the rage, anger and emotion that had built up in him throughout the verbally induced assailing of his space, person and dignity – he beat her very hard.
Weeks later he was arraigned before the courts facing charges of contravening certain sections of the Domestic Violence Act; his wife was the complainant and she had a doctor’s report to back her up, some bruises and a few tears on standby should she need to invoke pity.
Yet, in all fairness, she was the aggressor, she had been the attacker, she had been the violent, malicious and vengeful provoker of a man who tried everything to avoid a confrontation, including walking the hell away!
If we are to apportion blame in the incidents of violence in homes and in society – women need to bear their fair share of it because so many of them just won’t shut up when it matters most.
Some months ago a dear friend and fellow blogger, Natasha Msonza blasted the Big Brother Africa All Stars show for what she perceived as the condoning of violence against men citing the eviction of Uganda’s Hannington Kuteesa after a physical scuffle with South Africa’s Lerato Sengadi.
Although the show has ended and although this opinion Big-brother-condones-violence-against-men was made in reference to an incident that has since escaped the minds of many – this blog post has haunted me since then because it rightfully puts women in positions of culpability both in initiating and deliberately provoking violent reactions from men through verbal abuse.
To me the only; silver lining in this unpleasant discovery is the knowledge that if women can accept part of the blame for the violence that our societies are immersed in – then they can claim the right to become part of the solution.
In acknowledging the blame worthiness of their own verbally abusive conduct; women can play a huge role in reducing incidents of violence and the surprising remedy is to learn to shut up unless they can communicate in a manner that does not demean, disrespect and disregard the sense of dignity of the people they are addressing.
Let’s not downplay the severity of verbal abuse. Some women have perfected the vicious art of verbally undressing their men to a fine art and sometimes they actually push and keep pushing – well stop it!
Shut up! No more verbal abuse, no more verbal violence!