Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Domestic violence is (mostly) wrong

Disclaimer: It is wrong, ALWAYS, to beat your spouse, significant other, child, pet, etc.

Let me give you some background here. I am 33 and have been in four serious, long-term relationships since I was 18. I also had two serious high school boyfriends. Of the six, one was abusive (not physically, but that's another post), so let's leave him out and just consider the five.

Five very different men, five very different relationships. And in all that time, only once did one of them come anywhere near raising a hand to me. And that's what got me thinking.

The closer we are to people, the more we have the ability to hurt them. And the closer we are to someone, the more we know *exactly* how to push their buttons, to get under their skin. So is it right for me, as a woman, to push a man to the point that he strikes out and then cry "domestic violence?"

Now, please understand, I am exceedingly sympathetic to women who find themselves in relationships with abusive men. I've been there, and I have close friends who have been there. And there some men that I'd like to round up and have a few minutes alone with. But those are not the men I'm talking about. I am talking about a man who cares for his significant other and who, under normal circumstances, would never lay a hand on her (or anyone else).

There are those who would say that the man should walk away. That if he feels close to losing his temper he should remove himself from the situation. And I don't necessarily disagree with that. But I will say that those people have not ever been in an argument with me. I have (I hope) grown over the years, but there was a time that I would not let go of an argument. And God help the guy that tried to walk away from me.

So here's the bottom line: abuse is wrong. But as women, we need to examine the role we play in an abusive relationship.

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