A couple of years ago, Doreen Akiteng, a businesswoman, faced the anger of her university lecturer after she turned down his sexual aances.
Seeing as the man was not only her teacher, but had also gained notoriety for sleeping with his students, she had opted to tell him off.
“The guy had a bad ‘CV’, and had been rumoured to have slept with most of his female students in return for marks. So, I rejected him,” Akiteng reveals.
In the eyes of decent people, that was the sensible thing to do. But fate does not always reward fairness. Little did Akiteng know that her action would come back to haunt her. Otherwise a bright student, she failed this teacher’s course units every semester and was forced to re-sit the exams.
Akiteng believes she is not alone. She tells of friends who have been victimised for simply exercising their right to choose their friends – or for deciding that teachers should only mark academic scripts rather than bedroom performance.
Akiteng recalls how one of her friends was compelled to change schools after she failed to yield to the sexual demands from one of their teachers during their secondary school days. Back then, Akiteng did not imagine that she would suffer the same indignity at university.
Asked why girls don’t report such cases to the authorities, Akiteng speaks of a deep-seated fear that most parents and school authorities might believe the teachers’ rather than the students’ versions of events.
There is a category of men in our societies who just can’t take a ‘No’ from women they make aances to. To them, rejection from women is equated to being injured, and they end up acting in extreme ways, including murder. By virtue of our being a patriarchal society, male dominance is known to respect no bounds.
Bitter stories have been told of men who kill women because of rejection. The Local, a French newspaper, reported in March, 2014, how a 93-year-old Frenchman killed a married 82-year-old woman after she rejected him. According to the newspaper, Marcel Guillot had apparently developed a crush on her and when he invited her to his place during her husband’s absence, she refused.
The man’s ego was bruised. He went to the woman’s house, beat her up and killed her. Beatrice, working with an NGO in Tororo, narrates how her friend, Joyce, was first demoted and then fired under unclear circumstances. She later realised that rejecting her boss’s sexual aances had cost her job.
“Apparently, her boss had been hitting on her, never mind that he was a married man. But when she turned him down, he reacted with fury and even threatened to fire her. Months went by as her work relationship with her boss drastically deteriorated to the point of zero verbal communication between them,” Beatrice narrates.
This state of affairs went on for a while before Joyce was finally fired. As Beatrice says, women yearn for attention from men, but at times this attention can land them in trouble, especially when one has a rogue boss.
“Some have very poor wooing skills. You could be single and willing, but then again the approach is oftentimes very wrong, with some wanting you by force, and in the process putting you off,” Beatrice says.
In this age of social media, men are known to make aances to women via social networks. Many sometimes have an easy time with women on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites, and often imagine it is the same with all women. When their aances are rejected, they resort to cyber bullying, writing all sorts of insults on women’s Facebook walls.
Social media has slowly become the best option for men who cannot take rejection lying down. They turn dirty online in their bid to have the last laugh through humiliating their victims. Molly Kyomugisha, a law student at Uganda Christian University, had an ugly encounter on Facebook. It all started when a man, who apparently had a crush on her, sent her messages loaded with sexual undertones.
“Just because he had read a ‘naughty’ comment I had made on a friend’s status, he imagined I am one of those loose Facebook women. He began sending me dirty stuff,” she says.
Kyomugisha suspects he may have fallen in love with her Facebook profile pictures. She avoided the man and blocked him from her wall. But in a strange turn of events, he opened another account through which he began tormenting her.
Then one day, out of the blue, the man wrote a long tirade on Kyomugisha’s wall in which he insulted and scandalised her.
“He called me a number of unprintable things, declaring that I would never get a husband unless I go looking for a retired old man,” says Kyomugisha.
Isaac Othieno, a psychologist at Tororo main hospital, argues that most men react this way because they have been brought up in extremely patriarchal environments.
“Most such men have been brought up in social set-ups where women are submissive and always play second fiddle. So, having a view that goes against his – rejection in this case – is viewed as an attempt at challenging their ‘power’, thus they hit back harder,” says Othieno.
He goes on to explain that rejection for such men is the worst form of humiliation as it not only hurts their feelings, but also dents their manly ego.
“In their desperate bid to reclaim their dominance and repair the dented image, they resort to expressing their displeasure and rage in rather anti-social ways,” he adds.
The expert further cautions women to be very careful whenever they receive the slightest hint of such men. When rejecting such men, he aises women to be very diplomatic.
“You can always notice such men by keenly observing them. They are poorly socialised. They, for instance, talk with a lot of finality and bang tables for emphasis when talking,” Othieno says.
Many social observers hold the view that such men need to ask themselves one simple question: if women were to say ‘yes’ to every Tom, Dick and Harry who hit on them, would there be such a thing as wife and husband?
Imagine some man hitting on your wife and she said ‘No’ because she was only meant for you would you still open your mouth to insult her for rejecting the man or would you sing her praises to high heaven?
Coping with a woman’s rejection
Rejection could be an unavoidable part of dating and happens to pretty much every person. And the sooner one learns to put it in perspective, the better. So, what does a man do when he keeps getting rejected by a woman?
Dr Sheila Ndyanabangi, a marriage counsellor, aises men to be very grateful and happy when rejected rather than run after women that don’t love them.
“No man should blame himself because they were rejected. It is better to be rejected on the onset rather than the woman leading you on, even to the point of marriage, and thereafter dump you. It is this kind of severe heartbreak that causes some men to commit suicide,” she says.
“Men should use this opportunity to read self-help books that will boost their self-esteem and confidence. No woman is worth a man’s life therefore, men need to value themselves,” she aises.
“Engaging in informal conversations and joining social circles will help fill that emotional inadequacy and get one’s mind off the pain of rejection,” she adds.
Ndyanabangi also points out that this is the best time to engage in hobbies that will help one forget, heal and move on with their life.
“This will give one an opportunity to heal and be able to approach other women with an open mind,” she says.
Ndyanabangi believes rejection scenarios happen to everyone and no man should blame himself or the woman who rejects him.
Source : The Observer