I’ve written about having been the victim of domestic abuse and this is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. So I’m grateful that Sherrilyn Ifill got the ball rolling, even if I disagree with her take. It’s an emotional issue that seems to have touched all of us in one way or another. But Ifill lets her sistas off the hook too easily.
Is it ever OK to beat up a woman? Or course not. Ritual abusers of women should be shot and killed — that’s a “no-brainer.” More complicated seems to be the idea that women should not hit men and the imperical evidence that women often instigate instances of domestic violence. I doubt many women participate in ritual domestic violence against men, but I think sometimes it becomes a form of abuse, an occasional compliance tool, or a mode of communication that aggravates conditions that create an abusive relationship. If dealing with the other side of the equation we could lower DV by just 5 percent, it seems like that might be a worthwhile conversation to have, given that we have tried shaming and blaming men for some 30-odd years and haven’t seen a decrease. Yet, many women aren’t willing to approach the problem a different way by agreeing that they must shame, claim and blame female abusers with no hedging or excuses.
When I’ve written about domestic violence, I’ve tried to present options to men because there is nothing worse than being on the other end of a woman’s violent advances and having to decide in seconds whether to run, fight back or absorb the pain, with those being the only options. No one wants to feel trapped. Me? I took it, because I could, I was confused and not terribly smart, I didn’t feel as if I had any resources to turn to, and I wasn’t clear on what else to do. I didn’t know the signs, didn’t recognize it as domestic abuse. Women have alot of resources to help them get out of their relationships and prosecute their abusers. Men need the same options.
Bottom line: Nobody hits anybody.