SHUT UP! No more violence!

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.

...if it burns you on the inside - what makes you think it won't hurt the person you say it to?

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.

..words pack a punch just like a fist! Shut up if what you have to say is meant to hurt

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.

...women have been known to turn their lips into weapons of mass (male) destruction!!

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.

Words hurt!

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!


10 thoughts on “SHUT UP! No more violence!

  1. mqhelisi says:

    Delta, yu are amazing! This is a masterpiece that I wil share, it is 1 of the best topics 2 come out of yo pen lately. Qhubekela phambili ntombazana

  2. Mr H says:

    Am gladit’s a woman writing this article had it been a man he would be accused of defending men. Its true many a times women beg for a beating because of the tongue. If my Khona be right there’s a Khona saying ‘rurimi mwenje unopisa matanda ari mberi’. The power of the tongue is tremendous it can either build or destroy. If people would think before they speak i think we would have less domestic violence

  3. sesh says:

    I have always been unpopularly known for being against feminism, and the reduction of Human rights into mere ‘woman’ rights. It is true that the law now seeks to protect the ‘vulnerable’ in society irrespective of the fact that sometimes they really ask for it. A lot of ‘criminal’ acts go unchecked because women are the ‘weaker’ and supposedly more vulnerable sex. For instance a man will definitely get arrested if a woman reports rape by the same, however loads of women enjoy lots of freedom after raping young boys (i saw the stats). Similarly not only men are the eternal perpetrators of gender violence, women should also be charged for the part they play. And for the record, verbal abuse hurts worse than physical violence!

  4. noma.k says:

    Another wise reading.Yes women have perfected the art of verbal abuse.In most situations its the only way they know how to fight back.Since physical abuse is a no go,and by premise of this article the same goes for verbal abuse,I’d like to ask what then remains as the currency of communication in crisis? how much talking is too much?How amicable is amicable and according to who?Sometimes in the heat of the moment,far from the police station,the court or the church u want an instant solution to balance up the scale btwn his abuse and yours.Shutin up is hard.But we’ll try.The tribe has spoken.

  5. Mawuli says:

    I don’t think at all that this is a simply yes or no question. “If more women could shut up” as you put it, it may more than likely reduce or prevent some of the physical violence they suffer. I say so, not because I think or agree that their “verbal ranting/ abuses” in any way is a justifiable cause or excuse for the brutalities they suffer as a result, but because in reality, they often become an immediate trigger for violence. In other words, i fundamentally believe that, an abuser chooses to abuse regardless of the provocation and should always bear the responsibility for their acts.
    And by the way, a lot of women also get abused for keeping quiet- not speaking or by ignoring their partners.

    Having said that, I totally identify with your eyewitness account. I have seen some of those dangerously poisonous tongue missiles at work before. If a man is unfortunate enough to end up with one of those under his roof, oh my, it will require a lot of self-restraint and heart to endure the predicament and desist from doing the unthinkable. “Wakawaka-baby tongues”.

    I am against abuse in whatever form it comes- verbal or physical.

  6. Fred Matsheza says:

    At least this one is written from the veiw-point of a man, or rather it has always been like this but have we had decided to ignore the fact that you are not biased! Its good that you are showing your versatility, showing a balanced appreciation of problems which confront society whether its psychological or physical abuse meted out by married couples either from the man or the woman. I am sure the same applies to boyfriend-girlfriend issues.

    Even though, sometimes I feel like sympathising with women who shout at their husbands. Sometimes, its just hard to keep quiet and dignified when your life is in danger! I say, ‘in-danger’ because a cheating man can bring STIs and even HIV/AIDS from outside into the marriage. In the end, the wife suffers for a fault which is not her own. In a third world country like Zimbabwe have you ever experienced the stigma associated with AIDS? Come on, what about the difficulties of getting drugs. If I may want to put myself into the shoes of millions of women who are put at risk by their husbands I wouldn’t bear it. Sometimes marriage means trusting a total stranger with your life. Marriage is a life contract, if you deviate from the normal terms of our ‘life contract’ I have every right to be angry and feel let down. However, this ‘life contract’ is cemented by love and other immediate consequences of marriage like children. Initially, there would be goodwill that everything would turn out satisfactorily fine, but because marriage is almost always a gamble it does not matter whether you played your cards wrong or correct. You have to manage and maintain a marriage, but any one partner can become so frustrated if he or she does not see the same kind of commitment from the other half. Women may respond by shouting, men may respond by ‘beating them up’ all being methods which lead to more frustration and more disagreements. When a woman shouts like that, its mainly because she has reached her breaking point, can not help it anymore, its her way of saying “Can’t you see you are hurting me?”. I think any sane man should just walk away, let his wife calm down by manipulating time, and then talk it out as husband and wife to the inclusion of trusted counsellors or any member of the family. I do not think hitting a woman is justified under these terms.

    Let’s face it, women will always shout at us as men because that is the way they are when thet are confronted with such problems. Do we wanna hit our women everytime their ‘shouting’ goes out of hand? I think inside every ‘angry and shouting’ woman, there is a little voice waiting to be heard and to be understood. The problem with us as men, we always try to ‘absolutely’ protect our ego.

    Yesterday, I was watching on SABC 1,this programme called ‘Related’, about this couple which always fought because the husband was ‘suspected’ of cheating. You do realise, in their fights noone was prepared to listen to what the other was saying. Each thought his or her purist position was right. It takes a real man to understand his faults and reassure his partner that he is gonna change. Sometimes it takes an outsider to make peace in these kinds of homes. But, if you take advisers who advocate trading fire with fire there would be no solution. Couples should look for respected problem-solving advisers, not like this woman who was advised wrongly by her friend to confront the husband. Women should also not take chances with their emotions.

  7. From a woman, this is a refreshing perspective. Keep it up!

  8. Me says:

    …normal men have brains and mouths first then the physical strength or we would spend the whole day pulling the door rather than pushing it…normal women (except in absurd or situations that are extremely (deliberately) vexatious and clearly so to both the man and woman, should first hear what the accused has to say rather than just go on and on then the problem should be located somewhere (maybe issues have been piling up here). admitedly, you might have chosen a worst case in point just to illustrate your point. please let us not justify such barbarism but effective communication between man and woman!

  9. gugu says:

    absolutely, frighteningly true

  10. Well said Delta!
    Yes, women are often aggressors but get away with it because they have the scars to show for their damage. This is why I like the Zimbabwe Domestic Violence Act – it makes allowance for psychological abuse, albeit very difficult to prove.

    But yes, shut up and go to your corner and vent! Men have physical power – that’s a fact we can’t escape from. Let us not give them ammunition to use it against us!

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