Yesterday, I was standing on Ngong Road waiting for a City Shuttle that would take me to Ambassaduer. I don’t like to drop at Railways because the noise there is confusing and I find crowds scary unless I’m on a high podium with a microphone … and a stick. Several matatus went by, trying to convince me to get in. One matatu was large, black, and beautifully painted. I heard it before I saw it, so I didn’t pay much attention. Call me old fashioned, but I can’t handle noisy boof-twaf matatus.

Since I wasn’t planning to get in, I didn’t look at the makanga while he made his ‘climb on’ pitch. I guess the fact that I wouldn’t look at him pissed him off, because as the vehicle roared off, he told me I was ugly. His exact words were, ‘Na vile unakaa mbaya…‘ Any other words were masked by the noise.

I’m used to this kind off treatment, but it still stings. I had a bunch of border thugs try to grope me once, and when I resisted, they called me a filthy cinder girl. Verbatim, ‘Wewe ni mweusi kama makaa na hutaki kuguswa?’ It stung that time too.

I feel a bit like that today. I’m dealing with somebody who has taken advantage of me, and he has done it in the worst possible way, because he has abused my mind.

For me, my talent and my intellect are my greatest skills, so it stings me really hard when a person misuses them. I stood up to this bully, and instead of backing down, he abused me even further. It’s like he put his huge foot on my neck and said ‘Utado?

I feel helpless to fight this person, because every weapon I use is turned against me. The argument is being arbitrated, and I might still get my happy ending, but right now, I feel pretty bummed.

I’ve heard lots of stories of a man who pursued a woman, and when she rejected him, he called her ugly and worthless and squashed her self esteem. This way, she was free of him, but she doubted herself in all future relationships. It mostly happens to nice, polite girls who are likely to believe it. The tougher ones would bite you if you tried.

And girls do it too. You break up with a man, or he decides he doesn’t want you, and you retaliate by talking lots of ish about his man-size. I suppose all this is simply human nature, but you know what? Human nature sucks.

At work, a supervisor may harass you, sexually or otherwise. You may be victimized for your taste, style, orientation or religion. You may take the guy to court, report him to the authorities, talk to the disciplinary board, maybe even get him fired. But then the rest of management may label you a saboteur, a troublemaker, or an inciter. You might keep your job, but you may face a lot of subtle hostility. Colleagues may suddenly refuse to work with you because they’re afraid you’ll tattle. Managers may not want you on their team. You won, but you still lost.

I suppose it’s a bit like monolization. There was a #MonoTasks trend on Twitter a few days back. It detailed the types of ‘exercise’ that Form One students get from older kids. The idea behind monolization is to haze the new kids. They allegedly leave primary school with illusions of grandeur after being the biggest kids on the block. Monolization is meant to cut them down to size.

Sometimes, it becomes an excuse for torture and abuse, and First Formers are often raped, robbed, sodomized and even killed in the name of monolizaion. How it works is that a senior assigns you an impossible task, such as fetching a cup of darkness or spelling a whistled tune. When you fail, you have a pay a fine which could be monetary … or otherwise. You may have to part with your food or goodies, be forced to wash an entire team’s rugby socks, or they could just beat you to death … or worse.

Once you have passed through monolization, several thinsg happen.

  1. You look for revenge, which means monolizing the next group of Form Ones.
  2. You feel like a survivor for coming out alive.
  3. You have no sympathy for other bully victims. After all, you made it. Anyone who isn’t tough enough to stand it or elude it deserves what they get.
  4. You forget just how bad it really was, because almost everything seems funny in retrospect.
  5. You make it your life mission to prove your bully wrong. You know, like becoming a millionare so you can hire and then fire him.

I don’t want my baby in boarding school, and one reason I didn’t mention is that I don’t want to imagine people sticking test tubes and bananas where they shouldn’t, and all in the name of teaching my baby about ‘life in the real world’. The school I attended didn’t have monolization, so some may say I’m not qualified to comment on the matter. But coping as I am with the worst form of adult bullying, I wouldn’t want anyone else to live through it. It feels like looking at a man who has raped you, and then hearing him whine about how bad you are in bed.

9,138 thoughts on “Bullying in the real world

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