I’ve often wondered, what it is about a woman that makes her prone to trouble; just how many undesirable things has a woman gone through and the only excuse given for her woes is, “she’s a woman”…
The other day, when I was leaving class, a friend called me. Apparently she and another guy were involved in a heated debate on the appropriateness of wife battery. My friend, a girl, was of the opinion that it is unlawful and generally unacceptable for a man to hit a woman while the guy thought it was completely alright to lay a hand on her, in the name of ‘discipline’.
“What’s up?” I asked her when I got to them.
“He thinks it’s ok to hit a woman,” she replied, “What’s your take on the matter?”
First I was taken aback. The guy, from my observation, is slightly younger than me. So that thought alone had me perplexed, because some hopeful part of me had imagined wife beaters only exist in the older generations. Somehow, I had let myself believe young people would automatically be anti-battering. Well, shock on me!
“You think it’s ok to hit a woman?” I asked, forehead creased, in utter disbelief.
“Yeah,” he replied casually, seemingly unperturbed.
“Why?” I probed.
He lifted one shoulder in a shrug, his lips curved in a sheepish grin, “Because my culture allows it.”
“Don’t you think that’s an archaic excuse?” I asked. “Aren’t we too civilized to be citing such reasons for such out-dated practices? You know you don’t have to do, or even agree with everything your forefathers did. If something is wrong you change it. If we, as the younger generation don’t do that, then we risk perpetuating things that are basically wrong.”
“But I don’t see anything wrong with that,” he argued.
“Why do you feel it’s ok?”
“Because she’s a woman. Sometimes it is ok to hit them, just to discipline them.”
Whaaaat? I couldn’t believe I was having that conversation with someone who was roughly twenty or only slightly older. Normally that would be a conversation I would imagine having with some much older guy. “What do you mean, discipline them?”
“You know, if she does something wrong and you hit her she won’t repeat it next time.”
“That’s what you think?”
“Well, in that case, it depends with the woman in question. Because if you hit me, that would be a Pandora’s Box you’d be opening.” At that point I felt lost for words. This guy, in my opinion, was ignorant and so obstinate; he wasn’t ready to have anyone alter his perception. “You do not treat a woman like a child. Once someone reaches a certain age, they require to be accorded some respect.”
“But sometimes women are just stubborn,” he argued.
“Hypothetically, you’re married and your wife finds out you’ve been cheating on her. In anger she slaps you hard across your face. Would that be ok?”
“No!” He barked determinedly.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because it’s not acceptable for a woman to hit a man.”
“Those are double standards. If you told me it was ok, then maybe I would have also seen the wisdom in your words; that it’s ok for a man to hit a woman. But as long as you hold those double standards, I will not agree with you on the matter.”
Then it hit me, that maybe if he were to look at it from a different perspective he could see things differently.
“If, say you have a daughter, and when she’s of age she gets married to some guy. Then one day she comes and tells you, ‘daddy, my husband hit me’. How would you feel?”
“It would depend on why he beat her. If it was a valid reason I wouldn’t have a problem with it.”
At that point I knew I couldn’t argue him with him anymore. He would have to see someone he loved or cared for being beaten to understand the magnitude of the matter. “Have you ever interacted one on one with someone who has been battered?” I asked him.
“No,” he replied.
“It’s not as pleasant as you make it sound. God willing, when you have, let me know what you think.” And with that I wished them a good day and walked away.