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We can all testify to having had to answer to someone superior to us, who we thought had the right to control us in any way. That person is normally called the ‘boss’.

The same person, who is the boss, has an inherited right to abuse us and treat us unfairly. Even when they falsely accuse us, we do not talk back because we do not want to be’ fired’. Interestingly enough, even if that person is not our boss, even if they are simply someone we consider an elder, we are more likely to not say anything to controlling, insensitive or abusive people. We simply become mute until later, when the moment has passed, and then, only then do we start barking at everyone around. Psychologists call it displaced aggression, but most people recognise it as the kick-the-dog syndrome.

The kick-the-dog syndrome is the act of mistreating a peer or someone inferior to you out of frustration because a superior, whom you can’t argue with, has treated you poorly.
There could be many underlying excuses or reasons behind abusive men and abusive behaviour in general, one of the many being ego. When a man’s ego has been bruised, he will want to restore it somehow, and one way of doing that is finding someone else to belittle. This is typical in a younger-older sibling situation. If the older brother or sister has been upset by the parents, he or she will take it out on the younger siblings.

Transference is a phenomenon in psychology characterised by unconscious redirection of feelings of one person to another. People are frustrated by high unemployment, filthy environments, crowded living areas, oppressive corruption, a rigid political system that keeps the rich rich and the poor really poor, and so many other things. And there is nowhere to vent.

That is, until some innocent woman obliviously dresses in her nice clothes that are considered ‘revealing’ by the unknowingly oppressed, and then they see a good opportunity for themselves to blow off some steam and to direct it to these women who cannot physically fight for themselves.

Re-directed anger is no excuse to abuse and ill-treat someone else. If one finds himself in a situation where he doesn’t feel ‘man enough,’ then the woman shouldn’t be used as the ‘tool’ to restore self-esteem. Come to think of it, this entire overblown incident is not a debate between Eswatini culture and customs, it has nothing to do with norms and tradition. It really has nothing to do with sexual racism but it is a symptom of a ticking time bomb that is the abuse and violence worlds.

But one thing that abusers fail to know is that you can only oppress people so long, until they explode. It’s like a kettle. If you don’t remove the lid once it starts boiling, the entire kettle is going to explode and destroy your kitchen. There are claims that the proper way to walk a dog is the dog walking either beside you, never in front of you. As we react to different stimuli around us, as men, it is proper to remember that as much as we are physically capable to abuse women, the only way to make them happy and comfortable around us is if we treat them as equals and more than that, human beings.

Sizwe Mbuli

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: Passing subject
Should English continue being a passing subject in schools?