Why Do Men Hit?

I've been working on this post in my head for quite a while now. I couldn't quite figure out what I wanted to say. It started out as a rant about powerful men who have secret love children. Then I moved on to asshole politicians like this guy who think it's perfectly fine to tell women what they can and can't do with their bodies. And then there was this dummy: Anthony Weiner, who thinks every woman who follows him on Twitter wants actual junk mail from him. These types of men don't actually physically abuse women, but still use them and then lie about their actions to anyone who will listen. 

All of these men abuse women in their own ways. They use women and degrade women and they marginalize women. These guys all suck, but they're not nearly as heinous as men like Chris Brown and now, Ray Rice. 

Unless you live under a rock, you've heard of Ray Rice. He's the professional football player who punched his then-fiancee, now-wife in the head and knocked her out cold while they rode together in an elevator and then dragged her limp, unconscious body out of the elevator once it arrived at their floor. This incident happened in March, but just now Rice is being terminated from the NFL. 

What took the NFL so long? There's a lot of Blah, blah, blah we didn't know. Oh fuck you, NFL. You're liars. We didn't need to see a video to know that Ray Rice is a piece of shit. Men like him just are. I don't care how fast he can run or well he can catch the ball or how much money he makes for the NFL. Fuck that noise. He ABUSES women. That's all I need to know about him. I'm guessing this isn't the first time he's cold cocked a woman that he claims to love. This is just the first time it was caught on tape and now the NFL has to do something about it. Come on, NFL, you were tougher on Michael Vick for abusing dogs! You're too little, too late.

There's a Twitter hashtag trending out there #WhyIStayed. It is heartbreaking to read why so many women stay in abusive relationships. There are so many reasons and I'm not judging them, I'm just so sad for them.

And then I'm furious. I'm furious because women shouldn't be in this position! Real men don't hit women. I am sick to death of men abusing women. I realize this is not a new problem. Men have ALWAYS abused women. Raping and pillaging was a world-wide sport and is still done in many countries. Here in America we're actually in a much better position now that we're not considered chattel and it's illegal to rape your wife, but we're still being abused and some are even dying at the hands of our husbands and boyfriends and that's total bullshit. 

The hashtag shouldn't be #WhyIStayed, it should be #WhyDoMenHit. We're too focused on asking ourselves why Ray Rice's wife stayed with him. It doesn't matter why she stayed. Many women are trapped in these types of relationships because of many reasons. Their self-esteem is shot, they've been cut off from all family and friends and have no one to help them, they are literally held captive, they love their abuser. I don't care why Janay Palmer stayed with Ray Rice. I care WHY Ray Rice feels the need to beat up women. He's a 200 pound professional football player who hit a woman. Why did he do that? Why do men hit? Why do men feel the need to control and to abuse physically smaller and weaker individuals? 

I have a son and I want to raise him to be respectful of women. I want him to understand that women are to be protected and not abused. I want him to know that women are to be cherished and not shamed. 

There was another famous fight in an elevator caught on tape recently. This one was between Beyonce's husband Jay-Z and her sister Solange. No one is quite sure what started the fight, but the video shows Solange hitting and kicking Jay-Z. Do you know what Jay-Z did? He stood there and took it like a man. I'm not saying that what Solange did was right. I write a blog called People I Want to Punch in the Throat, but I've never actually hit anyone in my life. I don't advocate violence towards anyone. However, for reasons unknown, Solange took a few swipes at Jay-Z and he never even flinched. Jay-Z is much bigger than Solange and he could have easily knocked her out with one punch, but he never even raised his hands to protect himself. I will show my son that video and I will tell him that that's how a real man behaves.

And then I worry about my daughter. I want to raise her to be tough as nails. I don't want her to take shit from any man. I want her to watch The Burning Bed. I will teach her that she should have a plan and she should know that I will always help her. I want her to know that no matter what, she's never alone. Her abuser can cut her off from me, he can take away her self worth, but I will always love her and I will always be there to help her.  

#WhyIStayed might be heartbreaking, but #WhyILeft is inspiring. 

If you need help, please make a plan. Be safe. Take care of yourself and your children. Call 1-800-799-7233 or email The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

 You are not alone.


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25 comments:

Kay B said...

Well said and love the blog!

Kp said...

It's so exasperating to see how long it takes to get such seemingly SIMPLE ideas some lime-light. A consequence for beating another human being? shocking concept. *eye roll*

I'm shocked too at how these concepts are just ingrained into people. The Mister and I were discussing the recent iCloud photo theft the other day and he gave the "well they shouldn't have taken nude photos" response. To which I said "A. I would bet they, like I, enjoy keeping their relationships fun and sexy. If I didn't see you everyday it might be something I would think about doing. And B., if someone BROKE INTO my account and STOLE those images... is the blame on that someone for STEALING my property, or my fault for having something worth stealing? The same could be said for shop keepers who are robbed."

You could see the lightbulb turn on. Like, no one had presented that kind of sense to him, and he had just always been told it was the ladies' fault. Pre-programmed man-brain. UGH.

Katie said...

I love this post SO MUCH. You were able to put my exact feelings into words. Ray Rice is a piece of shit, and seeing his poor wife sitting next to him in press conferences, posting on Instagram DEFENDING him....it makes me die a little on the inside. I am going to do my very damnedest to make sure my daughter knows her worth. I will also let her know that if any man ever touches her in violence, her dad, uncles, and grandpas will beat the living shit out of that asshole. She is not alone, and she should NEVER tolerate any sort of violence. God, now I'm crying. My heart breaks for these poor women.

Throat Punch said...

I was crying too when I wrote this. Heartbreaking!

MomQueenBee said...

I got married 30 years ago, and my mother sat me down for a talk right before the wedding. "You're going to be married now, and that means you are part of a new family. When things get rough, you don't leave that new family and come running back to this one. You stick it out and figure it out. The only exception is if your husband hits you. If that happens, even once, you get out of there and come back here because it will happen again and you will never, ever change him. Do not stay, even if you want to, because eventually it will kill you." My mother was a very wise woman.

Anonymous said...

A complicated issue, without a doubt. Being close to someone, who you know is in an abusive relationship, forces you to adjust the way you relate to them as the friend, daughter, sibling etc You have to be so careful by allowing them to take the lead as to how and when you can support them. If you fail to restrain yourself or impose too much of your own opinions on them, you can end up pushing them away and risk losing your connection to completely. If there choice is to stay, sadly and no matter what you think or do, it's their choice. I cannot imagine how a parent would feel knowing that her daughter's being abused by her husband. Such a heartbreaking and rage-inducing act. You've written this with a lot of passion. Great post.
Shannon Day (Martinis&Motherhood)

Anonymous said...

<3

Charlotte said...

This. 100% this. Thanks for writing this, Jen.

I lost a friend to domestic violence. She got away, out of the relationship. And he came back one day, broke down her door, chased her through her house and stabbed her to death. The police were too late. My heart breaks all over again when I read these news stories.

JuniperSunshine said...

Constantly focusing on "Why does she stay?" is just another way to blame the victim. She stays because she loves him, in most cases. You don't stop loving someone the second he hits you - but you can choose not to be with him anymore. I agree 100% that people should be asking, what is wrong with HIM that he thinks he can hit her. Real men do not hit women.

JuniperSunshine said...

"It's always her fault for having something worth stealing." - perfect definition of what is wrong with people's mindset when it comes to rape, as well.

Julie said...

For the most part I agree with your post however I don't agree with your statement that guys take it like a "man" as in Jay-Z's case. Why is it all right for a woman to haul off and hit a man? Why wasn't she (Solange) prosecuted? It's not right for anyone to lay hands on another in violence. True story - my brother was in the process of separating from his first wife, she took exception to something he said so she hauled off and hit him with a frying pan. He called the cops to press charges and was told he couldn't because he was bigger and could defend himself. I call bullshit on that and before everyone piles on I have to say I'm a pretty liberated 53 year old mother of four daughters and three granddaughters (plus 2 grandsons) and I've never told them that hitting is the solution.

Allison Williams said...

Please also remember the silent victims out there, men who are victims of domestic violence. We have a family friend and he's a big guy, not someone you'd ever imagine as the victim of his wife's violent anger, but he is. His wife has repeatedly beaten him, he's never once hit her back. She's been arrested several times for it and he's kicked her out a couple of times but he always takes her back and the cycle repeats.
It's not just women who are victims!

Veronica said...

I agree with you 100%! That was a huge part of why I DID stay with an abuser for nearly two years. It happened once, he swore it would never happen again...and then it did. And I was too ashamed to admit that I was wrong, that I had defended him only to be proven wrong about him. I would cry in the shower and just wish that he would get in a car accident on his way home from work and die so that I never had to face him again, and so that I could get away without ever having to admit who he truly was. Eventually I realized that if I didn't leave, I was going to be the one that ended up dead. And so I left. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, and it saved me.

tonya Walters said...

Its not right for a man to hit a woman and vice versa but sometimes their words are worse. Has anyone been in the situation of a man beating you our abusing you in every way? Its harder to get out of than you think.

Mallory Smith said...

Good for you for taking that very difficult step!

Mallory Smith said...

I think Jen acknowledged that she doesn't advocate hitting either.. She just appreciated the fact that Jay-Z didn't take the opportunity to hit someone half his size. If your story happened exactly as you say, your brother should have hired a lawyer because assault and battery laws are pretty straight forward. If Jay-Z had wanted to press charges I'm sure he could have.

Holden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Holden said...

Mallory: Jen said "I will show my son that video and I will tell him that that's how a real man behaves". So a real man accepts abuse and just lets it go? He doesn't say anything to authorities he should just accept it?

A real man should be protected just the same, and should use his voice to call authorities as well. Once an abuser always an abuser sticks to both sexes. Her son needs to know he never has to accept being abused. This is a disgusting opinion to have, a disgusting lesson to a child of any sex and a poorly written blog post because of that. And anyone who agrees with this sentiment probably could use a good "punch in the throat". Hypocrisy comes in all forms, and now it taints your blog in this ridiculous statement.

Leah said...

Because there's deeply-ingrained sexism in our society and that goes for both sexes. We're programmed to dehumanize and degrade women and most of us don't even realize it's going on in our daily lives. Its subtlety is precisely what makes it so insidious, as well as its ubiquity. Here are a couple interesting and fairly entertaining reads that touch on the underlying problems:

http://m.tickld.com/x/next-time-someone-says-women-arent-victims-of-harassment-show-them


http://www.cracked.com/article_19785_5-ways-modern-men-are-trained-to-hate-women.html

J.C Lemon said...

Very well said. Here in New Zealand we have quite a bad rape culture of victim blaming women in sexual attacks. People seem to think that she was "asking for it" due to her clothing or where the attack took place. And we also have a really high level of domestic violence too especially when it comes to little kiddies but thankfully there isn't too much victim blaming around that. It was only just on the news last night about that NFL guy who knocked out his wife - it was horrible to watch!
A lot of women are making a change in our rape culture by holding Slutwalks (a march where women dress quite provocatively to protest men raping) and also Take Back The Night marches too, I think you guys have them in the USA?

J.C Lemon
jc-lemon.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I don't care if you're male or female. You do NOT strike another human being. While I commend Jay-Z for not hitting back, there shouldn't be a difference between being attacked and defending yourself depending on whether you're a girl or a boy. If that situation was reversed and she decked him to defend herself, that video would have gone viral about women empowerment and she would have been praised to high heaven. There is a huge difference between defending yourself (by defending I mean restraining them NOT knocking them out) and being a douchebag woman beater. Men should not have to just accept being hit because they're men and they should be tough, because if people start applying those values to men, EQUALITY suggests women should suck it up too, does it not? The equality stick works both ways, you can't beat someone with it and not expect some self defense.

I have two daughters. I teach them not to hit other people and be respectful. I also take them to Karate twice a week, so they can adequately defend themselves if the need arises. We talk about steps to take BEFORE you have to resort to fighting back. If I ever find they've been hitting people, they know they'll be in a huge amount of trouble. And if I had a boy, I would do EXACTLY the same.

LaurelMia said...

You're right Tonya, words are worse. Those who've been in a verbally abusive relationship can attest to that. Abuse is abuse!

LaurelMia said...

Janay probably hit him because she was tired of being the one to get hit all the time! Lots of men verbally abuse their wives INTENTIONALLY to make her so crazy she finally hits him. Then he uses that as an excuse to knock her around. Can you say pathetic?

If any man asserts his power by hitting a woman or child, he deserves to get the s**t knocked out of him. And if my daughter is the one to punch him, he better not come crying to me.

LaurelMia said...

Well said Jen! Awesome post!

About this woman-shouldn't-hit-a-man crap...how many men are hiding in domestic violence shelters? NONE.

That's all you need to know.

Yes there are crazy women but for God's sake, let's keep this in perspective!

maryan1 said...

Amen!

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