I want to make it abundantly clear that the following is an expression of my personal opinion and should not necessarily be applied to anyone else.
Now that I have issued my disclaimer, here goes:
I do not agree with the idea that men should not hit women.
Yeah, I said it. But before you call me crazy, please, let me explain.
I believe that I am equal to men. I am equal to men in the workforce, and so I should be paid the same wages. I am equal to men as a citizen, and so I should be able to vote and engage in politics. I am equal to all men in all places, all the time. Given that, I do not think that I should pick and choose when it is convenient for me to be equal to men. This means that I will happily push out my own chair, pay for my movie ticket, and open my own door. I can appreciate chivalry, but I do not at all mandate it.
If I am to make the claim that I am equal to men, how, then, can I speak out against men hitting women without contradicting myself? First and foremost, I want to clarify that I in no way condone violence of any form. People simply should not hit other people. Furthermore, I by no means intend to undermine the horrific reality of domestic violence. Though domestic violence does not exclusively refer to men beating women, the statistics are staggering: Many studies show that the majority of those who perpetrate domestic violence are heterosexual men and that the majority of those arrested for domestic violence are men who assaulted women. Studies have also shown that women experience more domestic violence than do men do. One out of every five women in the United States has been physically assaulted by an intimate partner, compared to only one out of every fourteen men.
Domestic violence is unacceptable. However, I do not believe that an act of violence is wrong because of the sexes of the people involved in the act. It would be just as wrong for a man to hit me as it would be for me to hit a man, because, like I’m sure we were all taught in kindergarten, hitting is bad and we should keep our hands to ourselves.
The topic of man-to-women violence was hotly debated on twitter timelines everywhere after the spread of a certain ‘bus driver’ video. Many people responded to the video with outrage at the fact that the bus driver, a man, hit the belligerent young woman with a shoryuken uppercut. “Real men don’t hit women!” they proclaimed. Aside from the facts that the young woman’s behavior was out of control and that she did appear to have hit the bus driver first, what stood out most to me, however, was not the discrepancy in sex, but the discrepancy in age, size, and strength.
The Martin Luther King in me says that people should always try to seek out nonviolent solutions to their issues. But, if you are going to hit someone else, FIGHT FAIR! Have you ever heard the saying “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?”
Here lies the critical difference between hitting someone and abusing someone. For example, many parents discipline their children by spanking them. I know that there are mixed feelings about spanking children as a form of discipline, but many people see no problem with it. I’m sure we’ve all seen a parent lightly spank a two-year old child on his/her bottom. This is hitting. But, I am sure everyone would agree that it would be completely out of line for a parent to body slam a two-year old like André the Giant. This is abuse. And it is wrong. This has nothing to do with whether the child is a girl or a boy and the parent a man or a woman. It wrong because, chances are, the parent is far larger and stronger than the young toddler.
I believe that the same concept applies to me. If a man who is bigger and stronger than me hits me with all of his might, then of course he is wrong for that. But it would not be any less wrong if I hit a man who happened to be smaller and/or weaker than me with all of my might. If you must hit me (though I would prefer if you didn’t), then you had better be of a matching strength and size. Either that, or you should curtail your strength and be prepared for me to hit you back.
I can only hope that my future husband/boyfriend/boo-thang never hits me—unless I ask him to ;)— but if he ever happens to suffer from such a severe lapse of judgment that results in him using any form of violence against me, I shan’t holler about his being a man and my being a woman. All I shall do is (depending on the severity of the hit) either hit him back, or call the police and start filing divorce papers.
Now, keep in mind that each person has the right to decide for him/herself how he/she feels regarding this matter. So don’t go around hitting women and say “But Nwando said…!”
All in all, I am not one for being Ochocinco’d, but please, do not treat my sex as a liability.