I had the misfortune of getting sucked into a comment firestorm first thing this morning. I checked out a new blog and found a post about women slapping men. In the post the blogger asked her male readers if they had ever been slapped by a woman. Since I had just written a post on the very same subject, I commented and linked to my post. And the firestorm ensued. The exchange is at the bottom of this post. I share it here because I worry that some of my regular readers might have interpreted my earlier post in the way this blogger did and I want to be abundantly clear about this.
I did not intend in anything I wrote in that post to justify Ray Rice’s actions. I did not intend to defend him. I did not intend to turn Janay into the perpetrator and Ray into the victim. I believe anybody who gave my post a fair reading would realize that and I cannot understand how somebody reading it would reach the conclusion that I was justifying or defending him and, ultimately, that I am a misogynist.
I wrote that post because I believe, as with most things, that snap judgments and conclusions based on scant evidence typically do nothing to further the discussion and our understanding of the dynamics of the situation. And frequently then end up totally wrong. As far as I’m concerned, a conclusion that the man is always wrong will never lead to a solution to the scourge of domestic violence.
I continue to be amazed at the articles and comments I have read this week by people who insist that the beginning and end of the discussion is that Ray Rice hit his girlfriend. I don’t get a world in which women are excused from assaultive behavior, but men must never strike their girlfriends. That there is a difference in who can and cannot assault another person. It seems that it is domestic violence when a man assaults, but it’s not when a woman does because she is smaller and frailer. Would that change if Janay had been a 220 lb WNBA player and Ray had been a 150 lb accountant? If it would, why? Why should it matter the weight, size or gender of the person doing the assaulting.
The other blogger seems to think the size and gender of the perpetrator matters, that the extent of damage caused by the respective combatants matters, and that anything that led up to the assault is irrelevant. This is a critically important statement from the commenter: “I don’t need to know what had happened before and neither do i care, even if she was punching him all night long, that is some disgusting despicable shit that we saw.” Just think about that.
My point is that size and gender shouldn’t matter. Nobody has a right to slap, strike, hit, or assault in anyway another individual unless in self defense, to save a life, or for some other justifiable reason. Domestic violence is wrong no matter the gender or size of the perpetrator. No matter the extent of the damage caused. Yet, so many people want to ignore the fundamental nature of what the video shows. And, ultimately, what the video doesn’t show … what led up to it, what has happened within their relationship in the past. This is all relevant as far as I’m concerned. Not to justify or defend Ray Rice, but to understand the dynamic.
I cannot and never have justified or defended Ray Rice knocking his girlfriend out. I am as disgusted by his actions as everybody else is. But I’m just as disgusted with her for assaulting him. I’ve stopped watching the video, but every time I watched it I cringed and wanted to jump into it and stop him. And her. But, please, give me a flipping break. Because I want to recognize that there is a whole history to their relationship that none of us know, that there is evidence that indicates that she was assaulting him also, that understanding the why and how is necessary to really resolve this issue of domestic violence, and that snap judgments and unfounded conclusions and wanting to hang him high does absolutely nothing for anybody … that makes me a misogynist! That turns me into a knuckle-dragging, mouth breather. That turns me into, apparently, somebody who is no better than Ray Rice.
My point for those of you who read my blog regularly is that I hope none of you interpreted what I wrote earlier this week as justifying or defending Ray Rice. That was not my intent. Hopefully, you understood.
And here’s the comment thread. Not my proudest moment in one or two places, but it is what it is. I think after getting called a misogynist and being subject to what I believed was a complete and continued mischaracterization of my post and my words, I had a right to say the things I said, but then again, maybe in this woman’s world, women can call men names and they’re just supposed to take it.
September 12, 2014 at 1:29 pm
Yes. I’ve been slapped. Just wrote a post about it and compared it to how people are viewing the Ray Rice situation … https://kingmidgetramblings.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/maybe/
I will never understand the view that women can slap men and men are just supposed to take it. Nobody should slap anybody.
Sorry to take this down a serious path.
September 12, 2014 at 2:20 pm
Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the follow. Obviously i am apposed to all physical altercations between men and women. But i think you are mistaken in thinking that i will ever tolerate any injuring contact from a man to a woman, unless she’s got a knife or a gun and he is concerned for his life. I read your post and I’ll be very honest, I most ardently disagree with most of the content, in fact it’s appalling to me. Just being honest. I don’t need to know what had happened before and neither do i care, even if she was punching him all night long, that is some disgusting despicable shit that we saw. The fact that cringing in horror is not the only reaction that inspired in you, is indicative in my opinion of who you are. But that’s the beauty of wordpress we can agree to disagree and move on to the next debate. I hope the vitriol Ray Rice received follows him around like a shroud of shame for the rest of his life. Cheers.
September 12, 2014 at 2:24 pm
So because I can cringe in horror but also be open-minded enough to realize that the video doesn’t tell the whole story tells you who I am … Please tell me, what does it say to you about me?
September 12, 2014 at 2:31 pm
That you’re open to making excuses to a grotesque act of violence against a woman. Although you’re saying that you’re merely trying to mitigate the vitriol, what you are really doing is suggesting that it might have not been what it looked like. She musta done something to piss him off, he snapped, he’s had enough” Nothing matters or justifies whats recorded in that video. A 220+ man punches out a 100lbs girl and drags her out like a rag doll. Come on.
September 12, 2014 at 2:39 pm
Now I understand. You’re a selective reader. I have stated several times how disgusted I am by what he did. The point of my post was not to make excuses for him but to try to get close-minded people like you who want to attack the man regardless of the circumstances to recognize that many DV situations are not as clean cut as you might think. Where’s the outrage that she slapped him and spit on him?
September 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm
There is also no “but also” & no “circumstance” your rhetoric is very obvious, you’re
a misogynist, plain and simple, and not just a little bit. You either are capable of beating down a woman or you are not.
September 12, 2014 at 2:42 pm
I’d think her slapping him WAS outrageous if he didnt cause her brain damage.
September 12, 2014 at 2:40 pm
And yea, men are just supposed to take it. Real men can walk away and never look back. Slack jawed mouthbreathers retaliate and hit women back.
September 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm
September 12, 2014 at 2:43 pm
Thats some funny stuff you’re putting down. Please vacate my Blog space. Thanks
September 12, 2014 at 2:46 pm
Shortest blog follow of my life. I need no part of your close minded black and white world. You have absolutely no clue who I am and what I am yet you have no problem tagging me with a vile description that doesn’t even come close to my reality. Yes you are disgusting.
September 12, 2014 at 2:47 pm
September 12, 2014 at 2:51 pm
And to you too. Hopefully, you’ll one day recognize the world is full of shades of gray. It’s more complicated that way but it’s also very real.
September 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm
Shades of grey on the subject of the circumstance which justify men beating down women in elevators? You’re still here and still funny, and it’s still regrettable.
September 12, 2014 at 2:55 pm
Are you always a selective reader?