From Kenya…

by kenyantraveller

I had a very interesting conversation with a group of friends today on the subject of domestic violence. We were all in agreement that domestic violence is wrong but we disagreed rather heatedly about what a woman should do when she finds herself in a situation where her partner is threatening bloody murder. On one hand, we agreed that the number one instinct is to diffuse the situation as far as possible, but then, what next? One of my friends said “a man is always going to be bigger and stronger than you, so the most you can do is hide and protect yourself”. Now while I agree that one should never put themselves in a position where they are risking their lives, I find this kind of logic somewhat unconvincing.

I’m sorry, but the idea that when a man comes at you threatening violence should prompt you to retreat is just unpalatable. I get it; physically he may be bigger than you and more dangerous with adrenalin coursing through his veins, but I guess my instinct in such a situation would be to fight, especially if there was no way that I could get out of that place in a hurry. Now, we’re not talking about a random guy attacking you on the street, which obviously has a range of other implications – what if he’s carrying a knife or a gun? Would it make more sense to just let him have your handbag? No, we’re talking about a situation where your husband/boyfriend or even brother raises his hand to beat you, to the point where it seems that this man will not stop until he kills you. What do you do then?

My argument was basically that he may be bigger than me, he may be stronger than me, but so help me God I will not go down without a fight. I will fight back, regardless of how mad it makes him, because at that point that is not the man that I (once) loved; it is a psycho who doesn’t see in me the woman that he claims to love but a sub-human object that warrants a resort to violence rather than an appeal to reason. The idea that as a woman you should retreat into your self and let him get his anger out of his system is completely despicable to me.

Why is it that we find violence in men so tolerable but almost unconscionable in women? If two men are going at it, you rarely hear that one guy should be encouraged to retreat or shy away and let the other guy get it out of his system. Why is it that just because it’s a woman being attacked by a man who supposedly loves her, suddenly it’s okay to encourage her to back down and let him get it out of his system? Is this the equality that we’ve been fighting for? WTF?! Listen, it’s never going to be a fair fight, but damn it, if it comes down to it – if you can’t get out of there, if you can’t diffuse the situation – why the heck shouldn’t you fight back? Should you lie there and wait until the guy puts you in hospital before you strike back? I’m sorry, but I think that’s an awful message to pass to girls.

Listen, men who pick fights with women are usually men who don’t have the balls to fight other men, simply because they’ve been taught that women will back down. I think that if a man comes at you with murder in his eyes, even if you know that physically you may never be able to take him down, take the fight to him. If faced with the choice between waking up in a hospital with a concussion and no memory of what happened in the last two days, or landing a few choice kicks in his crown jewels and buying yourself enough time to run, I’d pick the latter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating violence; I think it should be an absolute, absolute last resort. But if a man is looking for a fight, why the heck shouldn’t you take it to him? Because you’re a woman?