That question popped in my head yesterday when I was reading about a recent proclamation from President Obama about October being National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“Despite tremendous progress, an average of three women in America die as a result of domestic violence each day,” our President reported. ”One in four women and one in thirteen men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.”
He added, “This is not just a job for government; it is a job for all of us.”
In light of the proclamation, stories and pictures of women who had been abused poured in. Commenters expressed sympathy for the women and by proxy, the children who often suffer as a result. Only the near-deranged pointed a critical finger by wondering of abused women, “But what did they do to deserve it?”
Most women take a zero tolerance stance on men hitting women. Though there might be an allowance for self-defense, ‘no matter what she did, he should have kept his hands to himself’ seems to be the prevailing motto.
But what about when it’s the other way around?
Yesterday, I read a report that the stepdaughter of former New York Governor David Paterson was arrested after beating her boyfriend unconscious. Allegedly, she hit her boyfriend with a frying pan and broke a bottle over his head during an argument on Saturday.
FOX news reports that police arrived to the scene to find the boyfriend semi-conscious and bleeding on the ground. He required three stitches. She alleges her violence came after she was choked. They were both arrested.
Witnesses say the result of their fight looked like a “murder [scene].” Another reports, “He wasn’t moving. He had two shoes on top of him like she kicked him out of the apartment and threw the shoes.”
Instead of comments nailing her to the cross — what would have happened had she been male — there were virtual cheers and high-fives, condoning her wailing on him.
“Whoop that trick,” one commenter wrote, pulling a quote from the film “Hustle & Flow.”
Another wrote, “Love when a women can kick ass… Rihanna needs to call her and get some lessons.”
Um… No. This is not okay, and I say that even though I was raised to believe that it was. When I was still too young to date, my grandmother (RIP) told me that if a man ever hit me that I shouldn’t fight back. Rather, I was to, “boil some grease like you’re cooking chicken. Get it hot enough to pop. Wait till he goes to sleep, then you pitch it on him! I tell you he won’t ever lay a hand on you again!”
Protecting yourself is one thing. I support that. But beating someone’s black behind blue (or as my grandmother suggested, attacking them while they sleep)?! Is that still considered self-defense?
You tell me.
Demetria L. Lucas is the Relationships Editor at ESSENCE and the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: Your Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter at @abelleinbk