About two weeks ago, I overheard a disturbing conversation. I was in a waiting room and a group of people were talking with one another. Participating in the conversation were approximately four men and two women, all of whom were African American. Somehow or another, this group got on the topic of Chris Brown and Rihanna which then led to the topic of "men hitting women," in general.
The conversation was nothing but a vocal blur to me until I heard one of the two black women state that it is okay for men to to hit women and how it's the woman's fault when they do. All of a sudden my ears perked up. Here was her rationale: If a woman is bold enough to get up in a man's face and talk big and bad, he has the right to hit her ~ and ~ If a woman hits a man, he then has the right to hit HER. Whhaaaat?
I couldn't believe my ears. The woman employed the usual "blame the victim" rhetoric and used Rihanna as an example of when it's okay to hit a woman. In short, she said it's common knowledge that island women, like Rihanna, are jealous and verbally and physically abusive themselves. I can't tell you how many times I've heard this stereotype (especially as "evidence" of how it had to be the woman who did the hitting first). Because of this supposed "character trait," the woman reasoned Rihanna had to be the one talking smack and doing the hitting. Until Chris finally had enough and hit her back as a way to get her off of him. Really?
I was disturbed by this woman's words on so many levels. First and foremost, her staunch support FOR violence against women (her arguments justifying it aside). Second, her support of men beating women if a woman has the audacity to argue with a man or put her hands on him. I expressly remember the woman saying something like, "If a woman has the balls to act like a man, she should be ready to be treated like one." I've definitely heard this sentiment before and it angers me every time I hear it. In other words, a woman should know her place or deal with the physical consequences.
Opinions like those of this woman are exactly why violence against women remains a huge problem today. It's horrible when a man defends violence against women, but when a woman does it, it is unforgivable and sets us back collectively.
Let me make this clear. It is NEVER okay for a man to hit a woman!! I don't care if she's in his face verbally attacking him or dares to put her hands on him. Why? Because men are inherently stronger and physically more powerful than women. Thus, a man's punch or strike will almost always be more damaging and painful than any blow the woman could inflict upon him.
In my opinion, the only exception to the "men should never hit women" rule is when the man is protecting his life or person from grave bodily harm (or that of another person). That's it. To suggest otherwise, as this woman did, is to condone violence against women and it's often dire consequences.
Quick Sidenote: None of the men or other woman, from what I could hear, supported this woman's point of view.