Writer: Grace Opolot

I am sick to my stomach. It almost feels like I’m coming down with a fever. I am but a twenty something old woman toiling to earn a living in a company somewhere in the middle of a busy town in North Western Uganda.

At my office, I am virtually the only female and this has made getting any credit for the work I do suck so much. The problem with some of the men is that they are born into the life of claiming male superiority even when it is not called for. So when a strong willed lady like myself comes up in a so called challenging work space, oppression is but a solution.

There always stages to this sugar coated oppression.

First is the obvious one. They try to see if you are loose enough to let them into your life (with the mission of getting into your pants) regardless whether he has a family because they believe women are objects that can be replaced at any time. Unfortunately, he meets the hot headed one who leaves no room for an empty vibe and tosses him like he has no potential of manhood. He is distressed by this, but still has hope he can come through like he has with all the other ladies he has at the back of his pocket. He begins to explore what tradition has taught him and carries on with the cliché attitude of thinking that if a woman rejects you, she’s only playing hard to get and can be wooed by small favors here and there. All the while he knows he stands a chance, so he doesn’t mind that it’s taking much longer than expected to close the deal. He keeps convincing himself that it’s all worth it. But the Miss is not giving in and it suddenly becomes frustrating.

Initiate phase two: trying to make this lady pay for being a principled woman. He resorts to constant oppression at work over extreme irrelevant issues that lead into verbal exchange time and again. And each time she barks, he scoffs back knowing he has the upper hand at the job. He is the most trusted employee and therefore can easily turn things to his advantage. But this lady does not break easily. She has a strong will in life and even if she is in an environment that constantly rejects her, she tries to make the best of it. Some days are tough, others more bearable. At times she wonders what her life would look like if she had pursued her dream of becoming a writer, but like she has always told herself, she concludes at what she has believed to be a fact. “ I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH”

At stage three, I feel so empty and sick; I could throw up every second at the thought of what I am going through. Mr. “failed oppressor” has deluded our superiors to believe that I am incompetent at my job. He has played the victim giving them the picture that I take extreme advantage of him by making him do my job which makes him trail at most of his assignments. The superiors haven’t contacted me yet but how deformed I feel my image has become. I suck at this job, not because I don’t do my duties to perfection but because it’s not where I want to be.

I get paid pretty well, and my life is a little comfortable but I only wish it were because I was getting paid for being a writer. I am filled with rage because I am failing at being a woman. I should be strong. How did I get here, breaking point? I do not have the strength to fight off this oppressor but I have the words to put him in his place. As usual, he scoffs it off, making me look like I am desperate for attention. I have a terrible way of reacting under too much pressure and stress and so at the end of the day I am the villain.

I guess I am at that point where it doesn’t matter anymore if I walked out on a decent job or a decent pay or a decent anything. If I do it, he will have won and it’s okay because if I do it, I will have won too. I will have achieved sanity and absolute control of my words and action. I may not be so good at expressing myself under pressure, but not having to be in that position will give me peace of mind.

Sometimes I worry about my successor. I fear she may not be as strong as I am and therefore Mr. Oppressor will have his way again and again.

Grace Opolot
Leah Grace Oketcho, is a highly talented Communication specialist, gifted in leadership with over 3 years of leadership and management experience at different levels. She is a team player and has demonstrated ability in mobilizing and organizing others to achieve desired goals. Oketcho is well vast in the art of creating alternatives for ways to get results. She has over the years grown in the art of corporate communications and also participated in the development of performance management materials for various professional institutions. Leah received training in research, scripting, international relations, and data analysis as well as public relations. She is passionate about solving public health related problems. She has offered training to youth in oral and written communication, people management and mentoring, editing and documentation skills, public speaking.

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