On air: Is hitting your partner ever understandable?

domestic-abuseBelow are three of the reasons for us taking on this debate. And here are seven reasons that we’re hearing why sometimes hitting your partner is understandable. Do you agree with any of them?

– Extreme provocation. Very unpleasant behaviour causes someone to snap.

– Self defence. If you don’t hit back, you’ll be in danger.

– It’s our culture. This is how we do things. People have rows and it’s no big deal.

– Religious beliefs. A wife is a man’s property and she can be treated accordingly.

– Occasional violence is sometimes a necessary way to get a point across.

– Someone’s childhood has been very difficult and led to violent behaviour. Understanding not condemnation is what’s needed.

– They’re under pressure at the moment. It’s not right, but it’s understandable when you think of the pressure at work / home they’ve been under.

1. The Chris Brown story.

Now let’s be clear, we have no idea what did or didn’t happen between Rihanna and Chris Brown outside the Grammy’s a week ago. But what is clear is that it’s the biggest story online, and has been for a week, and has sparked multiple debates about when, if ever, it’s acceptable (or at least forgiveable) to hit your partner.

Big piece in Vibe magazine on domestic violence among African Americans.

2. New UK report – 1 in 5 men suffer domestic violence.

BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat picked up on this story and got as massive response. It seems it’s a massive issue, and one that isn’t seeing the light of day very often._45458693_science_dpressedman66i

Stats came from this organisation.

3. Muslim cleric in Australia – it’s OK to hit your wife.
This is an old lecture, but there’s renewed interest in the last few weeks as it’s been picked up online.

120 Responses to “On air: Is hitting your partner ever understandable?”

  1. 1 Katie Davidson
    February 16, 2009 at 14:40

    The only time that it is acceptable to hit your partner is when it is self defense and you are in danger. Physical, and for that fact emotional, violence is never the way to solve a problem.

    Nashville, TN

  2. 2 Roy, Washington DC
    February 16, 2009 at 14:45

    Self defense is the only reason listed that I find acceptable. The others all boil down to either a lack of respect for one’s partner, a lack of self control, or both. Granted, I come from a culture where women are respected as equals, but if you aren’t defending yourself, I see no valid reason for striking another person, ever.

  3. February 16, 2009 at 14:51

    For self defense, in the heat of the moment if attacked that it is understandable. The same as if you are attacked by anybody else.

    Otherwise there is never a reason to hit a partner. None of the other points listed above are ever valid.

  4. February 16, 2009 at 14:55

    James from Kenya,

    Maybe in self defense if she comes with a knife to me I have to defend myself otherwise I can be another Bobbit like victim. But its not justifiable in any way to hit women to prove your masculinity its gross and insane and UnKenyan

  5. 5 gary
    February 16, 2009 at 14:57

    No. A person who would strike their partner has bigger problems than the partner can solve. Thus, running away and staying there forever is best.

  6. February 16, 2009 at 14:59

    NEVER. Never ever.
    Never hit anyone. Never hit a country, never hit an ideal.

    Hitting anyone is outrageous and … it’s no way to go forward as a human race.

    Your car doesn’t start in the morning… hit it.
    See how far you go in solving the problem.

    Hitting your partner, that is assuming your partner is someone you make love to, is outrageous and disgusting.

    The human race has a long way to go.
    To stop hitting people would be great benefit to its evolution.

  7. 7 Kelly, from Chicago, IL, USA
    February 16, 2009 at 14:59

    Violence is NEVER okay, unless it’s in self defense of your very life. Sexual violence is NEVER okay, period. If you need violence to make a point, or it’s in your past, you need counseling. As for the cultural/religious argument, I don’t really understand it. I feel that violence against women is a severe issue and I can’t stand the idea of women as property, but anything that is my property I want to take care of because it’s important to me. I don’t hit my car, break TVs, or hit my pets if I’m angry or frustrated. I feel that if you’re damaging anything–including yourself–due to too much emotion, counseling is needed.

  8. February 16, 2009 at 15:00

    Actually even in self defence, turn the other cheek or run like hell.
    Hitting back is not a solution to the instigators problem.

  9. February 16, 2009 at 15:01

    To me, I see a lot of women being caught up in their ‘independence’ that they don’t want be seen as a victim. Abuse happens all the time, and women AND men really don’t want talk about especially in this day n age… again with social consequences, the individual is more concerned with how he/she will look in the public’s eye.

  10. 10 Ramesh
    February 16, 2009 at 15:09

    It is no way acceptable in western societies. If at it happens before marriage, it would be better for the couple to break the relationship without making any fuss about the incident. I am interested about what if it happens after marriage because the western culture boasts a lot about dating to understand each other before going for marriage. Obviously the couple would go for a marriage after a lot of this understanding happened. Then why would there be a need for a slap or a big hit whatever the provocation may be?

  11. February 16, 2009 at 15:12

    You forgot a few other acceptable excuses.

    Sometimes it is an accident that only happens when he/ she is drinking. It is really an alcohol problem and not a violence problem. And we all know people can not control their alcoholism. “He is really a great guy when he isn’t drinking.”

    Also there is the, “I don’t have any other choice but to take it” reasoning. In this country that makes no sense, but it still exist.

    However, there is the “she asked for it” defense that is sometimes truer then it sounds. We have a history of parents that beat their kids to demonstrate behavior that they do not agree with. The “subconscious conversation later in life goes something like this. “Why do you stay with him if he hits you?” “Because he loves me mom and dad.” “How can you think that somebody who hits you loves you?” “Because that is what you told me all growing up. You said, ‘I hit you and I love you. It hurts me as much as it hurts you. Sometimes I have to spank you to get your attention.” Then we wonder why our children grow up and find comfort in abusive relationships.

  12. 12 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    February 16, 2009 at 15:14

    In 2005, after years of psychological abuse, my soon-to-be-ex husband gave me a concussion and a black eye. He said he was sorry BUT I had provoked him. This is the repeat abuser’s stock excuse, an open invitation to further abuse.

    I did not leave him then because our teenaged son had Asperger’s Syndrome autism and paranoid schizophrenic delusions and I didn’t think I could care for him on my own, while divorcing my husband. In 2007, our son left a note saying he was afraid he would lose control and hurt someone, perhaps as he had seen his father hurt me, and he took his own life.

    No, it is NEVER okay to hit your partner. If you hit someone other that your partner, you are liable to be prosecuted for assault and battery. The laws defending family members should be at least as stringent as the laws protecting anyone else a person might attack. Any cultural or religious tradition that says it is okay is due for some serious moral re-evaluation.

    Donnamarie in Switzerland

  13. 13 jane
    February 16, 2009 at 15:17

    Never permissible to hit anyone except in self defence, no excuses religious custom, my father did it, etc. No hitting or caning kids at school, no slapping for a laugh. Respect others.

  14. February 16, 2009 at 15:24

    Hitting a Woman is Revolting!
    No excuses. Reprehensible in all its forms.

  15. 15 David
    February 16, 2009 at 15:31

    The catalyst of hitting some one is anger and frustration. What is the cause of anger and frustration?

    You find partners who hit one onother actually love each other and do not want to part. Hitting your partner is saying that “I have had enough” but I do not want to leave you. This is human.

    Do wild animals play this game?

  16. February 16, 2009 at 15:31

    Hitting on your partner is sometimes the only way that your partner can understand and respect you, especially here in Africa. It is just that hitting your partner has now been termed as Gender Based Violence, but it also helps to restrict some arrogant partners. I agree with the idea that Occasional violence is sometimes a necessary way to get a point across. Like for example in Liberia here, if even you can do all for your partner, but if you can’t beat on her she will feel that you don’t love her, especially the Bassa women.

    Mohammed Kondawa

    Monrovia, Liberia

  17. February 16, 2009 at 15:37

    No, hitting your partner is never justified. Intelligent beings in control of their emotions realize that violence is not a solution for any issue. However, man is animal by nature and dominance in nature is normal. Thus, the less man is in control of his emotions, the more likely he is to invoke violence to achieve his needs/desires. This is why our prisons are full. Having said that, man should aspire to be the superior intellect and control his emotions under all circumstances. The problem is, we’re raised with “physical punishment” that teaches us that those with the most power can exert control over the less fortunate; a learned behavior…..

  18. 18 Bob in Queensland
    February 16, 2009 at 15:37

    No debate. Striking a partner…or anybody for that matter is never understandable or justified.

    As an aside, it’s worth stating that Muslim leaders all over Australia have condemned the cleric you link to as both out of touch and wrong in his interpretation of the Koran. Since Muslims are so often condemned for not condemning the extremists, it’s worth pointing out when they do.

  19. 19 Sandy Wetton
    February 16, 2009 at 15:37

    I fully agree with Kate Davidson and Roy in Washington DC. Self defence is the only justifiable reason and only then if you can’t run out of harms way. In my opinion we are generally too soft on perpetrators of violent actions against others.

  20. 20 David In Oregon
    February 16, 2009 at 15:38

    All of the scenarios given are “understandable.” However, the moment partners find themselves on the brink of extending or receiving violence for those or any reason should serve as a signal to end the partnership.

    At that juncture either you or your partner or both have reached a point of incompetent response which will recur and possibly escalate as time goes on.

  21. February 16, 2009 at 15:39

    Hello whys,the point of hitting your partner in self depend is reasonable,but what would let your partner to strike you if indeed he/she consider you worthy? true partners talk about the things that matters and understand each other.hence,hitting a partner correct nothing but only intensify hatred and total misunderstanding between the two partners in whatever the point it may be.

  22. 22 Anthony
    February 16, 2009 at 15:41

    Well, if you’re a woman in the U.S. then it’s understandable. I’ve been:

    -Hit in the face, head, and stomach
    -Kicked in the legs and stomach
    -Hit in the head with a toy electronic drum
    -Sliced on the arm with a 10 inch cooking knife

    Now, people say “oh my she’s psycho”, but if it’s a guy who punched a woman in the face once, he’s an evil jerk who should be put away for life….so much for equality.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    P.S. I never hit back once…. Instead I would actually hug her lovingly and say “I love you” (in a dramatic way), that would actually get her madder, lol!!!

  23. 23 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    February 16, 2009 at 15:42

    and let us be clear, men are not allowed to hit women nor are women allowed to hit men. Regardless of the reasons, the fact is that domestic violence, or intimate partner violence (IPV) can have very deadly effects. I just read where more women between the ages of 15-44 die, or are injured/ maimed from IPV than they do from wars, cancers, malaria or motor vehicle accidents.

    Not sure about these statistics but they are cause for concern. As well as, there was a report on the BBC (world service) last night that at least 3 million British men are abused by their spouses. We take it that that is in heterosexual unions. It would be interesting to hear the numbers in gay domestic partnerships and all these other versions of relationships we form, currently.

    A Jamaican MP just recently lashed out at the gay community here, for being violent and said that they should not be given gun licences. He eventually apologised, I am told, after the gay rights group J-FLAG harshly criticised his remarks. Still, there is a lingering feeling that given the high levels of intolerance towards certain representations of homosexuality here, same gender relations dispute often escalate into serious violence, even deaths. This is largely felt to be attributed to the silence about the existence of homosexual unions and the menacing threat of violence and ridicule if a partner complains about abuse to security forces.

    The state has to insist that none of its citizens should be abused in intimate relationships, regardless of reasons.

  24. 24 bluemountain78
    February 16, 2009 at 15:45

    Violence only leads to more violence . One should hopefully never have to be physical to get your point across. If you feel that angry walk away from the person get your bearings and your point s together come back with an unemotional i.e. logical point and be sensitive to the triggers that bring about the violent feelings. That way hopefully you wont be in situation where hitting your partner becomes understandable

  25. 25 Robin
    February 16, 2009 at 15:51

    Self defense is acceptable if the violence is proportionate to the threat. To use a somewhat silly example, if someone hits you with a newspaper and you punch them in the face, that is disproportionate and unacceptable. As are all of the other reasons listed. I spend most of my life defending people’s right to believe whatever they wish to believe and preserve their unique cultures, but the claim that the abuse of women should be accepted because it’s “part of the culture” (and/or religion) is indicative of a base-level lack of acceptance of women as human. Women are human beings, deserving of all the rights and privileges men enjoy. This is not negotiable.

    Also, the rise in reporting of domestic abuse of men is welcome, and overdue. The social construction of masculinity as strong and dominant can sometimes trap men in dangerous situations, when they are unable to reach out for help, or are not believed when they do. It is still true that an overwhelming majority of domestic violence is perpetrated by men on women and children, but that doesn’t negate the need to protect ALL victims. Even if they are male.

  26. 26 Jennifer in New York
    February 16, 2009 at 15:51

    It is never ok to hit your spouse. If you were having a bad day at home would you be forgiven if hauled off and hit a co-worker? No you’d be fired, and perhaps arrested…….you should have at least the same respect for the person you chose to spend the rest of your life with. Self defense is one thing……you have an undeniable right to protect yourself and your children, even those that can not protect themselves, but never ever should anyone, male or female be forgiven or allowed to hit another human being, or animal or pet for that matter. Extreme provocation? Aren’t we taught in grade school to control ourselves? In a society that outlaws slavery, or the owning of another person, then physical violence should be just as outlawed. If you live In a society that claims that one person can belong to another, I suppose you have a right to do to that person anything you wish, and then the WHYS question should be can one person own another?, but a life partner is not owned, and therefore not yours to abuse in anyway.

  27. February 16, 2009 at 15:54

    you never need to put your hands on anyone else in anger. I do not doubt that men can suffer just as easily as women can from domestic violence. people just need to learn to respect each other.

  28. 28 Tony from Singapura
    February 16, 2009 at 16:00

    I would like to add another reason: Inability to communicate effectivly can result in a frustration that can only be expressed physically.

    Sometimes my wife who’s mother tongue is not English, can get so frustrated with my slovenly ways that she throws things at me… big things, and her aim quite good.

    My strategy is to duck like Georg W Bush, then try not to agrevate her until she cools down. After exhibiting good behavior for a day or so, I can safely resume my slovenly ways.

    So there are other strategies for self defense that dont involve reciprocal violence.

  29. 29 Robert Wolfenstein
    February 16, 2009 at 16:06

    Self-defense isn’t really a case of hitting one’s spouse but rather of hitting back when attacked. Then the same rule applies within a couple as does in civilian life with complete strangers.
    Even allowing for bone fide bilateral fights, one should remember that what appears to be an acceptable exchange of blows could well conceal a case of self-defense in response to unacceptable abuse.
    In the end everything is understandable, literally. But understanding isn’t the same as condoning or forgiving. One shouldn’t confuse explaining and excusing.
    Accepting in the name of cultural relativism is turning a blind eye to barbarism.

  30. 30 Peter
    February 16, 2009 at 16:06

    Its ok to hit your partner but be prepared for a costly law suit . Seriously,violence can become habitual. Once you start it is hard to stop. Americans started again in the 1st Iraq war and the rest, we all know. Unless they get a bloody nose, no one is safe from them. So husband or wife,hit back when you are hit. Let them to jail if necessary but learn to forgive.

  31. 31 Ron S. from Ft Myers Florida
    February 16, 2009 at 16:10

    Ok..call me “old fashioned” or what have you..but I was rasied to respect women..period. ANY man who attacks a woman is NOT a man. I don’t care WHAT reason he may think he has to do so…unless his life is in serious peril (to which I again cast doubts), he should NEVER rasie a hand..open OR closed…to her at all.

    But let us not forget that the most important and effective tool 2 people can have is communication. It seems that in an age where everything is done via crackberries, craptops and hellphones, we seem to forget the lost art of interacting with each other face to face.

  32. 32 Chernor
    February 16, 2009 at 16:14

    From the reasons listed above I think self defence is the only one that make some sense.

    I remeber seriously beating my girl friend when I was jealous.Sometimes, when your partner does something to make you feel jealous, you may tend to hit her/him. Where I am writing from, you hear especially girls telling their boy friends that if you dont beat me up it means you are not truly in love with me. That is not necessaryly the culture but hitting your partner is seen as a way of showing love.

    However, some people really detest it, I am saying this from a personal experience, my girlfriend did not forgive me for beating her up. We broke up. I felt so bad, I regret ever touching her but it was too late.

    My conclusion now is that, it is not understandable at all. Violence even in self defence in unacceptable. I would ever regret that day when I beat the person I love the most in this world.

  33. 33 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    February 16, 2009 at 16:16

    Hi WHYSers!

    Apparently, my first entry did not make it onto the board, for some reason. Computer error, perhaps. Not sure!

    Still, my simple answer is NEVER! It is NEVER okay to hit your partner, whether you are male or female, Chris Brown or Rihana, or not!

    It is completely unfortunate that whatever happened between them did; that is, to have warranted this blow up! But, it is completely unacceptable! Period!

  34. 34 my way
    February 16, 2009 at 16:16

    The answere is a simple NO . It is not right to hit you partner (be it males/female )

    Reasons: Pure frustration,lack of self respect, insecurity,,,,,,, metal probems.

    Coming from an Asian background i know it exists in a very big way.some dont comeout unless it gets too bad. Thats the sad part of it though.

    Self defense i agree to.But that is self defense. Can not be counted as initiation.

  35. February 16, 2009 at 16:17

    Salaam Ros,
    OK, so many ordinary Muslims and also non Muslims claim that Islam considers hitting the wife by her husband is acceptable, and their excuse is the Holy Quranic text “Wa Idhribuhunah” which can be translated into English as ”and hit them”… Unfortunately those good people have forgotton that Arabic is one of the most sophisticated languages in the world… Every Arabic word or sentence has so many meanings… So the verb “Idhrib” means hit, but it also means leave or walk away to a very far place, and that suits the sequence of orders for Muslim husbands that were mentioned in the Holy Quranic text very well… Besides, the Prophet Mohammed is the Quran that walks on two feet, and no one at all, whether Muslim or non Muslim, dares to prove that the Prophet had EVER Hit one of His wives… To the contrary, the love story between Him and His 1st wife Khadija is so remarkable… When He got married to Her, He was 25 and She was forty… When She died, She was 65 and He was 50… He named the year of Her death “The Year of Grief”… Allah orders us in the Holy Quran to take the Prophet as our no.1 example in life, and that surely includes the relationships inside the Islamic family… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  36. February 16, 2009 at 16:21

    All violence is mental bankruptcy, whether domestic violence or violence between international belligerents.

    That we resort to threats and violence simply shows how poor our persuasion skills are.

    Cognitive scientists know how the mind works. They know how you can change your mind, and by doing so, change your life. You can learn to change your mind. The skills are easily understood and assimilated.

    That we prefer to beat each other over the head in mutual frustration instead of investing personal time and energy in learning how to get what we want peacefully is a sad comment on our present mental state.

  37. 37 Ogola Benard
    February 16, 2009 at 16:21

    Why bother to hit a woman? better self defense and go off but again i once heard women gossip that they feel fine with one or two slaps? I would think, better sit her down and ask her why the extreme behavior? Anyhow, people who beat their wives never took the right choice and perhaps growth background contributes allot to this beating but as one grows up it should fade!

  38. February 16, 2009 at 16:22

    Discussing domestic abuse in western culture today with out discussing the psychological environment that leads up to it is illogical.

    Put 100 Americans in a classroom and ask, “who thinks it is OK to abuse your spouse?” 99 of them ill say no. (there is 1 in every crowd.) ask them, “how many think it is acceptable to stay in a relationship where they are being abused?” and again all will say “no”. So in a culture where violence in a family setting is so definably unacceptable, why is it that domestic violence is so common? But ask that same group to define what constitutes “abuse” and you will find 99 variations.

    The emerging answer is in our conflicting hypocrisy of how we deal out to our children. Spanking and other forms of corporal punishment wit a high percentage leads to one of two outcomes. The recipients often become abusers, or they become abusees searching for an abusive relationship.

  39. 39 Andrew
    February 16, 2009 at 16:27

    As much as women do suffer from domestic violence and is ingrained in many societies around the world, as noted in the daily email, men do suffer from domestic violence by female spouses. Without diminishing what women experience, sadly violence against men by partners is on the rise in the west. What makes it all the more horrific is how public campaigns against DV, men against women, now highlights this issue as never before and has made it a widely discussed topic but violence against grows. On the one hand men who are abused are thought to be feeble and weak and are often derided as it is thought that a man would be capable of defending himself and how could he find himself in such a situation. Sadly the split along gender lines is becoming less distinct and we should be concentrating on how domestic violence against anyone regardless of gender is serious problem and on the rise. I have worked with men who were victims of DV and the one thing they felt more than anything was that there was never much sympathy for their plight or that they instigated the problem in the first place. A victim is a victim regardless, but how many men do not raise the issue for fear of ridicule or not being believed.

  40. 40 Ros Atkins
    February 16, 2009 at 16:27

    Hi Ros,
    Hi everyone.
    I don’t think in an “ideal utopian world”, there could be any justification for hitting your partner or anybody. But we are not in an ideal world. In as much as i don’t encourage it, i also do not offhand condemn those who do that. Sometimes the pressure, stress, depression, state of mind and anger can cause people to over-react and hit their partners.
    When things like these happen, i expect partners to swallow their prides, put on cool heads, sit down and face the issues involved. Not to search a quick fix by reporting immediately to state authorities.

    Accra, Ghana.

  41. 41 Ros Atkins
    February 16, 2009 at 16:32

    Here are some of the messages you’ve sent in reply to the Daily Email.

    Hi Ros,
    NO, it is never understandable (except if both of you are boxers and have both consented to a fight, of course with a certified refree supervising). All the excuse people give are just lame attempts as rationalising that wicked behaviour. Anyone who wants to be hitting anyone at all should join the WWF. No matter the provocation, I doubt if anyone would want to hit at an armed soldier, they still get to control themselves, so how come they let go of their controls at home?

    Nengak Daniel.
    Abuja, Nigeria.

    What a nice topic, I wish you could involve me in your debate, last week I went through extreme provocation by my girl friend and I assure you if she was around I would have hit her, thank God were were conversing in a telephone, I ended up throwing my phone on the wall and it got destroyed. But on second thoughts I prefer we look for a way to release our anger.

    Dear Ros
    Self defence, being allowed in law for killing someone at times, must be allowed when all else is useless. Otherwise a simple slap is being considered more heinous than murder.
    Best wishes

    No, absolutely not! It’s disgusting to hit anyone, let alone your (once?) beloved partner!
    Horst Peter from Hamburg / Germany

    No! Putting your hands on someone you claim to love is inconsistent, contradictory, deeply problematic. If you hit a stranger you face criminal charges, right? So how is it justifiable to batter your partner? Even the self-defense argument doesn’t hold water: step away and file charges of battery, or risk escalating matters to the point of death.

    There is nothing to be gained by escalating violence. Ever.

    Lydia Nayo
    Oakland, CA

    I am sure that there are some extreme situations in which hitting a partner is the only option. For example, if there is a malaria-infected mosquito on her face about to bite.
    This situation is generally preventable by other means. It would be very helpful to be sure that, whatever the culture, there are highy accessible avenues in place to facilitate non-violent dispute resolution.
    It would be pretty tough for just about anyone to take the moral high ground on this issue unfortunately. If we say hitting is never acceptable, then how do we explain the US invasion of Iraq?
    I’d be happy to see the overall solution to this hitting problem.
    As a global society, I don’t think we’ve quite got it.

  42. 42 Jennifer in New York
    February 16, 2009 at 16:35

    To Ron S. From Fort Myers……from Jennifer in New York….who actually grew up in Port Charlotte, CHS class of 93 – I love love love the crackberries, craptops and hellphones comment…….I hope you don’t mind but I might use those expression regularly from now on……while using my computer of course!
    Here’s to communication!

  43. 43 Dennis Junior
    February 16, 2009 at 16:37

    I think that hitting your partner is NEVER acceptable behaviour….

    ~Dennis Junior~

  44. February 16, 2009 at 16:45

    I don’t see a reason why hitting is ever acceptable. We’re already told not to beat kids and that should apply to everyone of every age. Hitting is bad treatment and shouldn’t ever happen. There’s always a non-violent way to get the message across.

    Billy Soh, Singapore.

  45. 45 steve
    February 16, 2009 at 16:48

    If you think about it, the law provides defenses for extremely emotional distress, which can lower a murder charge to manslaughter. In a way, even though the person is still held criminally responsible, we tend to think that walking in your spouse having an affair and killing them is not as bad as killing them over other reasons. So in a way, in society say that n ot all violence is as bad.

  46. 46 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    February 16, 2009 at 16:48

    The chemist and author Issac Asimov said, “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”

    This is true in all cases of violence, whatever or whomever the intended victim.

  47. 47 Meg in Canada
    February 16, 2009 at 16:50

    I only find self-defense acceptable here. If I were in an abusive relationship and my partner hit me and I feared for my own personal safety, I would hit back. But I don’t believe that initiating this behaviour is acceptable. In the circumstance that a person has past issues they have not confronted and is acting this way because of their own misguided upbringing, this should be revealed and the person should also be given rehabilitation instead of just punishment.

  48. 48 Dave in Florida
    February 16, 2009 at 17:09

    It is only understandable to strike someone in self defence. If your culture or religion says it is all right to strike your partner — your culture or religion is pathetic.

    The UK study about wives abusing husbands is interesting. Several years ago there was a Major League Baseball player in the U.S. who finally had his wife arrested because she physically and mentally abused him. Of course, the response from American men to the player’s action… “What a wimp!” It’s a problem that is totally hidden.

  49. 49 Paul
    February 16, 2009 at 17:10

    When a partner displays signs of malignant sociopathic behaviour,
    Tis time to “Exit stage left without further ado”….!

    the assulted person will have sufficient confidence in
    their local law enforcement for protection from further hostile attacks.

    A public record of perpetrated physical violence is
    extremely important when court litigation is available
    to the victim.

    In the end,
    keep in mind, our’s is the only specie on Earth
    which is wired to commit murder strictly for pleasure.

  50. February 16, 2009 at 17:11

    While in the west its unspeakable to hit your wife, here in KENYA its an accepted and endorsed part of our culture.it is so rampant that when a woman iz not hitt by her husband she would complain that he does not love her and has another womam outside the marriage. SO when James you go on to say its “UNKENYAN” what does that even mean??? Dont be ashamed of your culture bro atherwise you will be a slave. PEACE ALL

  51. February 16, 2009 at 17:21

    Is it ever understandable for a criminal to hit you on the head and steal your wallet?

    Well, as I cannot imagine any sane male/female answering ‘yes’ to the above that just sets this topic in perspective.

    What about provocation?

    Yes, I’m stood in a corner with my wallet half out of my pocket, it’s bulging with tenners, and I’m elderly, vulnerable and couldn’t possibly fight back… besides, I’m that gobby bloke who wont pipe down, so, really I’m asking for it, aren’t I, and attacking me, well, what else should I expect in the circumstances!?

    As a father of two daughters and a son I know that anybody striking any of the 3 of them would cause me deep upset and in response I might consider taking the law into my own hands.
    However, if any of the three offspring were to hit their partner or attack someone for the sake of it, they all know I would disown them, too.

    No, violence against another person except in self-defence is never, ever acceptable and is the action of a bully and coward.

  52. February 16, 2009 at 17:26

    There are circumstances in which either partner resorts to violence as a means to show domination. The degree of violence varies from verbal abuse and the simple jerk to beating-up.

    However, there is no reason to hit a partner, especially if he/she happens to be physically less strong. It’s better for them to separate instead of living under the same roof only to have continuous degrading battles in which the “winner” cherishes enslaving the defeated partner.

    There are cases in which one partner is masochistic and the other is sadist. In such cases , hitting seems the reason to unite them as either one can’t live without the other.

  53. February 16, 2009 at 17:31

    Where, how and when?

    Everybody seems to think “self defense” is acceptable here. But what defines it. Alright a 90# woman is swinging at her 250# husband, is he allowed to punch her in the head? How about self defense “de facto”. Can you go in an wack your partner once he le lets you up knowing full well he is going to come back and do it again? If one mate is threatening or abusing a child can the other spouse step in. Does the defending spouse have to wait till the physical abuse occurs to the child before they can act?

  54. February 16, 2009 at 17:38

    Even the Dalai Lama says that a person is justified in self defense, but apart from that – wanting to hit someone in a moment of stress or anger may be understandable but that doesn’t make it acceptable.
    Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent

  55. 55 Mukul (Parsippany, NJ)
    February 16, 2009 at 17:40

    In my experience we love to provoke people to see their reaction. Which leads to next step, how far can they be pushed. We do it all the thinking we are safe from the result. We all have this weakness.

  56. 56 Asiya
    February 16, 2009 at 17:46

    Please forgive the nature of my question; but how do we define hitting during sex? Or rather, spanking. That the change in term mean a change in implication? It is a violent act. I mean, if we must never hit our partners, then when people actualy ask to be hit during coupling and the partner obliges, then that ought to be considered domestic violence as well.

  57. 57 Jennifer
    February 16, 2009 at 17:48

    Domestic violence is not hinged on if someone is religious or not. I find that inaccurate and stereotypical-totally in the way some people seek to use the Bible to be twisted. Recently I have heard about the increase in domestic violence within the gay community. Domestic violence knows no boundaries………noone is exempt.

    What type of man wants a wife that he has to intimidate? Only a man who is not really one; lacks confidence and self worth. Only when men are raised by women who have been raised by loving men to know that women should never be treated with disrespect or abused will domestic violence stop.

    That being said; it is NEVER understandable or acceptable to hit your partner; EVER.

  58. 58 Dale Smith
    February 16, 2009 at 17:50

    Partners who resort to hitting each other for any reason probably should not be together.

  59. 59 Dan
    February 16, 2009 at 18:03

    I cannot see any reason to hit a partner except in self-defense if unable to withdraw or summon help.
    I find it abhorrent that a Muslim Cleric says it is OK to hit a wife but even worse that behavior is supported by those who nuance the Arabic language.
    Forget for a moment that it is you or your spouse fighting, would you want your Daughter beaten by her husband?

  60. February 16, 2009 at 18:09

    @Donnamarie from Sweden,

    (And any others who were involved in abusive situation) was there any signs of his abusiveness prior to your engagement and/ or marriage? Had you ever seen him get into bar fights, make threats towards others, or anything that might have been forgivable because they were not directed at you? What other characteristics attracted you to your ex-husband?

    Answering these questions and deterimining the trend might help to address the problem.

  61. 61 VictorK
    February 16, 2009 at 18:10

    This is only debatable if certain things are going to be admitted:
    *Western values and prejudices aren’t universal, and there’s no point in judging the entire world according to our norms.
    *Violence against women (which is what we’re really talking about) is almost universally accepted in the non-Western world, whatever the official, ‘modern’ line may assert to the contrary.
    *A truly representative panel for this topic would have a Western feminist on one side of the question, and a mullah, an African, a Latin American, and Indian, an East European, and a Chinese on the other side. Instead, I expect a panel that will be the reverse, or made up entirely of reps from women’s organisations.

    More generally: it’s a lively subject, but what’s the point? A Westerner isn’t going to be converted to spousal battery; those cultures that practise tough love won’t get a fair hearing & will in any case carry on regardless.

    Aren’t there more meaningful issues in the world than things like this or women needing protection?

  62. February 16, 2009 at 18:13

    All this talk about only hitting out in self defense is just easier said than done.

  63. 63 Monica in DC
    February 16, 2009 at 18:15

    Violence is NEVER okay.

  64. 64 Ben Mueller
    February 16, 2009 at 18:20

    I take issue with Mark blaming domestic violence in the USA on the country’s history of slavery and racism. The idea that black men were unable to live out their masculinity in American society and therefore had to resort to beating their wives or partners in a domestic setting is ludicrous. Firstly, living out your masculinity has nothing to do with violence or hitting someone. And secondly, if the argument were correct, incidences of domestic violence should be far higher in countries that have experienced slavery in the past. However, as the high rate of domestic violence in places such as Saudia Arabia, Iran, Congo or indeed most of Sub-Saharan Africa shows, this is simply not the case.

  65. 65 bob
    February 16, 2009 at 18:21

    Violence towards loved ones is not understandable, not justifiable, especially from the standpoint of trying to live life in a way that reduces and eliminates suffering.

  66. 66 Keith Cantrell
    February 16, 2009 at 18:24


    I totally disagree with your guest who seems to imply that this is a unique black american problem. It’s not. It happens to all races and every socio-economic group.

    My experience: Two years ago my wife and I were involved in a very heated argument. She lost her temper and hit me with a backpack. So, I lost my temper too and hit her in the eye with the back of my hand. She called the police and they arrested me. The police said that since she hit me first I could press charges and she would also be arrested. I declined and not surprisingly went to jail for a week and ended up in divorce court.

    I do not hold anything against her but think this points out the acutal problem. Instead of just punishing people who commit this crime we should be offering more services for mental health issues such as depression, anger management, conflict resolution and marriage counseling.

    Thanks for considering my comments.


  67. 67 Sandy Wetton
    February 16, 2009 at 18:25

    Charla’s story is very sad but if a relationship detiorates to the degree where communication and respect has broken down you leave, either temporarily while you both get help or forever.

  68. February 16, 2009 at 18:28

    I hit my wife only once and I felt stupid, sad and regretted my actions. I cried when she cried and made a vow to her that I will never repeat my stupid action. We were not married then but have since married and have four kids. We have stuck together since 1994, during the good and bad times. We get upset at each other sometimes but it has never occurred to me to hit her again. I agree marriage is full of frustrations and provocations but violence does not solve any problem in relationships, talking does.

  69. 69 Sid
    February 16, 2009 at 18:31

    I think it is imperative to distinguish between the 2 cases of violence:
    1) Under influence of alcohol or other
    2) Not under influence
    Both are unacceptable but the latter is more dangerous because it requires more serious therapy than the former.

  70. 70 Tom D Ford
    February 16, 2009 at 18:31

    I’ve heard black and latino celebrities brag that their mom and grandmother “whomped” them as they were growing up, to punish their misbehavior, and all that is is domestic violence. That is a very dysfunctional role model and is really child abuse!

  71. 71 Tim Moles
    February 16, 2009 at 18:33

    I hit my partners in past. I went to prison for 14 months in Washington State. The bottom line I hit my partners. No excusses, no minimizing, no blaming no one except myself. I had a problem and I accept my responsibility in my role as abuser no matter what went on around me. My control is mine alone. No one caused me to be a perpertrator. I allowed it, I encourged it and now I accept me as a person. I pray for healing to victims and perpertrators around the World. Peace and acceptance is the only way. I have hope for forgivness for all. Without hope we have hopelessness and this cannot be so.

    I have lossed the love and respect of my family and friends and rightly so. But this does not give me the right to give up on life. I seek to help my family heal form my violent acts perprtrated by my own hands.

    I Pray for Peace

    Tim Moles Oregon State

  72. 72 Wallace Ryan
    February 16, 2009 at 18:35

    There is no reason whatsoever to assault your loved one. Anyone who beats up on a woman is a weakling and certainly not a man.

    Real men don’t beat their wives. Violence is the province of the ignorant and the cowardly.

  73. 73 Rose In Florida
    February 16, 2009 at 18:35

    I once slapped my ex-fiance…he was extremely emotionally abusive and controlling…I lost my cool only once after 5 years of this….is this considered self-defense? Defending oneself from emotional abuse? Needless to say, I wised up and got out.

  74. February 16, 2009 at 18:35

    Are you even going to challenge Mark? He just blamed Chris Brown hitting his girlfriend on slavery. That’s a fine thing to contemplate, but where’s his evidence? You could blame every negative thing a black American does on slavery. You’ve put him on your programme with his assertion, it’s your responsibility to challenge him to do more than just theorize without evidence.

  75. 75 Maurice
    February 16, 2009 at 18:36


    There is also a myth that its ok for women to hit men because they can take it. I was in a long term relationship when my girlfriend, in a fit of anger, delivered a blow to my gut. After I recovered I swore to her that if she ever hit me again I would hit her like she was another man. She never hit me again.

  76. 76 Neferblue
    February 16, 2009 at 18:37

    when we speak of violence against men and women we must recognise that in most cases the behaviour of the the abuser is almost always triggered by the abusee. we like to sit back and avoid both sides of the story and be busy pointing fingers away from the victim. in the 7 years i have been with my fiance he has knocked me once, i am not proud to say it but i am admitting that it was my fault. it was nothing serious but at the time i felt violated. i felt how couldu love someone and still want to hit them. this happened over 4 years ago and i am still with him, it is not because i have a low self esteem or i am seeking love the wrong place. its just that i was able to admit and accept the fact that we women tend to do crazy things and expect our partners not to retaliate. many of them try not to but its only part of our human behaviour to respond to provocation. i think too many of us women are being one sided about this issue. i am in no way supporting this kind of violence but i think we need to be more open about the cause of this kind of violence. we cant just sit back and expect men or women to stop hitting while continuing to do what we know causes the hitting.

  77. 77 Alexandra
    February 16, 2009 at 18:41

    I’m hearing a lot of people still confusing “understanding” a loss of control with “condoning” it. I think many people would understand someone “losing it” if they walked in on their spouse with another person, or if they cleared out the combined bank account, etc. It is possible to understand WHY some one did something without actually believing it was the RIGHT thing to do, or thinking they shouldn’t have to face the consequences.

  78. 78 Syed Hasan Turab
    February 16, 2009 at 18:42

    Its a sick ignorant behaviour living in society. Usually this kind of problem arises because of loyality of any partner. Always struban behaviour & loyality in question been observed, infact we are too much demanding with out knowing the available choices, beside couple’s childern’s are the victoms.

  79. 79 Anthony
    February 16, 2009 at 18:44

    After I got cut with a knife by my wife, I left, because I knew that next time I would have knocked her out (and I knew she had problems and wasn’t trying to change), then I would have gone to prision, and my son would have a wife beating daddy. There are options people!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  80. 80 Jennifer
    February 16, 2009 at 18:45

    I was once caught cheating by a long-term boyfriend, who responded by beating me. He was a very non-violent man, and has enormous respect for women in general. However, in this situation he was enraged, betrayed, and felt he was justified.

    A response we had as a couple was “If everything we did to each other bruised, he would have been black and blue all over “. This circumstance split everyone we knew into “acceptable” and “non-acceptable” camps.

    As the victim of physical violence, I can say that violence is never justified. Although I will never stop regretting my own behavior, violence cannot and should not be the answer.

    I would have felt just as guilty without being hit. In the long-term, resorting to physical violence will not make him feel better either. It is a childish impulse, and regrettable and absolutely unacceptable in every situation.

  81. 81 Maurice in Portland
    February 16, 2009 at 18:45

    Finally, a guest stated what I have observed. Its socially acceptable for women to assault men. Women hit men in the movies, in cartoons (Charlie Brown), in commericals, on television, and just about everywhere. For the most part, men in these situations do not hit back because its not socially acceptable. A double standard which allows women to hit but not men. What is often missed when men are arrested for assaulting women is what happened prior to the assault. As I previously stated, there is no excuse for anyone to assault anyone, men or women.

  82. 82 JP
    February 16, 2009 at 18:47

    The caller on right now about how she’s not leaving her abusive husband due to financial reasons is making excuses that are just as ludicrous as those made by the people doing the abuse. There are many different options available to abused spouses such as government and privately run homes or relatives. What she should be thinking of is her children and the message that staying around is giving them.

  83. 83 sahai
    February 16, 2009 at 18:48

    I certainly understand why men will hit their women but it is not acceptable for whatever reason.Children who see abuses willalmost always be abusers and abuse others because children learn from what they see but as parents we have to stop this fro the inception and dont allow our children whatever the sex to be subjected to such experiences.

    Also there are men who hit certain women the women who allow them to but in other relations those same men dont lift a finger so it has alot to do with both

  84. 84 Clay
    February 16, 2009 at 18:49

    I was in a LTR for 5 years & never experienced instances of DV from either party. Time got tough, we had an argument after a long day & night at 2 jobs & my partner hit me in the face with a milk crate & I attempted to defend myself by grabbing her, not hitting her. The police came & I was arrested even though I didn’t strike anyone & my face was cut. I have also experienced threats from from another person I dated that if I didn’t do as they wanted they would call the police & have me arrested for DV even there had been none. It seems in the state of VA this is fairly common. All someone has to do has file a report & the police come arrest you & ask questions later. This is also very emotionally devastating & abusive & has negatively affected all relationships since these.

    Violence is never the answer but neither are manipulative lies.

    Clay, Virginia.

  85. February 16, 2009 at 18:50

    As a couples and family therapist who has worked with survivors of domestic violence for the past 15 years, I have yet to hear a justified reason for domestic violence. There are many reasons this happens, but it’s never OK. The impact on children who experience violence is devastating. Even when they don’t see it, they hear it and see the aftermath in the home. Those who ask the question, “Why does she stay?” are asking the wrong question. The question to ask is, “Why does he beat her, and why to do we continue to allow this?

  86. 86 steve
    February 16, 2009 at 18:51

    “Reading you your rights”. you only are read rights when you are under custodial interrogation. When you watch TV shows with people getting arrested, and getting raid their rights, that’s fiction. That doesn’t happen. When you get interrogated and you aren’t free to leave, then you have to have your rights read.

  87. 87 Dave in Florida
    February 16, 2009 at 18:51

    “For the most part, men in these situations do not hit back because its not socially acceptable. A double standard which allows women to hit but not men.”

    Amen Maurice.

  88. 88 Tom D Ford
    February 16, 2009 at 18:52

    I note that the missing voice here is that of children!

  89. 89 Erin
    February 16, 2009 at 18:52

    As soon as you say, “I know its never justified…BUT…” you are JUSTIFYING violence.

    Someone had a rough childhood or past?Thats sad, but TOO BAD. They need to take ownership of their lives and get into counseling, no one has the right to harm another person, stranger or not.

    Physical violence is tied so closely to mental/emotional violence, its never just a punch, a scratch, or a kick…it is fear, it is supression, it is power and control through an imbalance. As soon as someone hits back in self-defense, they are brought into it, they are drawn into the level of violence and therefore support the attacker’s beliefs that violence will solve problem.

    As soon as we make exceptions in our minds or our culture, such as violence on t.v., in the movies, and in our relationships, we give power to the abusers. We tell them, “we know its wrong, but we won’t stand up for ourselves or for others, therefore it can’t be THAT bad”

    EVERYONE needs to stand up and say NO EXCEPTIONS. sorry if your childhood was rough, sorry if you have problems communicating, sorry if you are frustrated but TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE and stop justifying violence when you know there is no good reason.

  90. 90 Tom D Ford
    February 16, 2009 at 18:54

    Here in the US it is illegal to beat a dog the way some religious people beat their children!

  91. 91 Essexgirl
    February 16, 2009 at 18:54

    No it’s not acceptable for women to hit men…of course not. That awful movie The Holiday presented a woman hitting a man as light entertainment. But the truth is that it’s mostly men who hit women and women are generally less physically strong than men, so it’s a form of bullying. Picking on someone weaker. My sister was put in hospital twice by her ex husband.

    But women need to grow up too. She didn’t leave him until she’d found another man. That’s ridiculous. Grow up girls.

  92. February 16, 2009 at 18:57

    I think we are confusing two things: violence, which is not acceptable but sometimes is an understandable response to frustration, and abuse, which is a knowing and intentional effort to intimidate someone so they can be controlled by the partner. I agree that violence is only acceptable as self-defense in a relationship, but how to intervene depends on whether the person is out of control, or is USING the abuse to control the partner.

    Portland OR

  93. 93 steve
    February 16, 2009 at 18:57

    I think the bottomline here, which hasn’t been said, is that women are addicted to drama, hence why so many of them don’t want to leave abusive situations. Your guest is addicted to the drama of her relationship. Otherwise she would have left.

  94. 94 Eric, Las Vegas, NV. USA
    February 16, 2009 at 19:00

    Domestic battery is a two way street. It’s never exceptable and weather it is a man or a woman inflicting violence, they are displaying their frustration at their own inability to communicate or move on.

    Don’t kid your self. Women hit men just as often as men hit women. Men simply don’t report the issue out of embarassment.

  95. 95 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    February 16, 2009 at 19:05

    To Anna in North Carolina:

    Get out, get out, get out. Even with nothing else, you’ll still have your life. I’m 58. I haven’t worked outside the home in over 25 years and that in a different land. I live in a country not my own, where they speak four languages, none of which is my own. The deck is stacked against me here, and in favor of my soon-to-be-ex-husband.

    But I’ve gotten out from under his control. I’ve lost the big house in the Jura and the chalet in the Alps. I live in a tiny apartment on a bare budget and pinch every penny twice. Small though my life is now, it is MY OWN. Whatever deficits you might face alone, Anna, it cannot be as bad as being clouted round physically and being psychologically abused by a cretin who is as blind to your intrinsic worth as my soon-to-be-ex was to mine.

    Anna, get out, get out, get out with your life. I’m here to tell you that there is life after abuse.

    Donnamarie in Switzerland
    (WHYS Team: If Anna asks for contact information for me, please give it to her. I have a close friend in North Carolina, who was abused by her Swiss husband and got out many years ago. She’s willing to shelter Anna if Anna can make the jump. If I were closer, I’d gladly share what little I have with her, to help her break out of the cycle of abuse. Thanks.)

  96. February 16, 2009 at 19:06

    TO ANNA:
    Hi my friend, please consider this:

    (From a ‘spiritual’ point of view,) You have a responsibility to look after yourself. There is no one on this earth – you could even say this universe – who is closer to you in such a way that they can and should take responsibility for you.

    YOU have that job, that responsibility.

    You could say that the ‘greater’ you – your ‘higher self” if you like – your bigger self, has a responsibility to look after the rest of you.

    Therefore, carry out your responsibility. Stop being a slacker. Do your job. Look after yourself.


    Secondly, can i suggest that you take a look at WHAT IS REALLY IS, when you say “this life I have entwined with his”. WHAT is it really that you are trying to get out of all that? Get right to the bottom of it. Yes, there may be friends that live nearby, or family. Maybe there’s even education involved. But ultimately, isn’t it all just about material gain? Aren’t you in the end seeking all that FOR STUFF? If you have financial ties with him, in the end that’s all it is, isn’t it? If you left tomorrow, yes it might be hard financially, but you’ll have enough to eat won’t you? A place to stay? Friends? Family? The government and NGOs can surely help you with these things, so the answer must be yes: it’s just about keeping STUFF.

    So I ask you: why are you betraying yourself – your deepest heart and wellbeing – ignoring your deepest responsibility, for a bunch of STUFF? Or future stuff….

    Please think about that and look at what is truly valuable.

    Because if you stay there, you will be damaged for a long, long time. And that is alot harder to fix than getting more stuff, or even an education, and even friendship.


  97. 97 Sarah
    February 16, 2009 at 19:08

    I just wanted to say to the final caller that I very much feel for her. Such huge decisions are incredibly difficult, and similar situations to the one she’s experiencing have occurred within my own extended family. After so long spent in the shadow of an abusive, controlling man, making a break for freedom must be so hard to contemplate.

    But it would be worth it. Even if her father doesn’t want to know about her problem, there are plenty of support groups and sympathetic ears out there. She’s clearly an intelligent, sensitive lady, and deserves so much better than what she’s currently got. My heart goes out to her – I hope she finds a support network and rebuild her life. And if other posters seem unsympathetic to how conflicted she feels about everything, well – the last thing she needs is to beat herself up about it.

    Go for it, lady. Best of luck.

  98. 98 Andreas West Australia
    February 16, 2009 at 19:08

    Forever the BBC has provided a comforting distraction from the troubles of my own life.
    The subjective experience of violence….
    I’m an anthropology student and I can not help but be distracted and wrapped up by the emotional elements of both sides.

    Anna’s story of abuse
    John from San Francisco; and your experience of injustice…

    The only experience of abuse that I had was not in an intimate relationship, but workplace abuse… out for a night to celebrate I was lured outside while ecstacy was ground up and put in my coffee…

    A malicious action compared to an action committed in the moment. Nevertheless a form of abuse. I felt peerless and without recourse. In fact John from San Fran, you mentioned a feeling of psychological rape…

    My own experience was unpleasant at the time, but was one of those things that well you learn to accept. That state & judicial responses to ‘family’ matters I don’t think always deliver the ‘best’ outcomes.I hope through time you can learn to be (fundamentally) at ease.

    I only wish that when someone loses control, loses discipline of their soul to lash out…That they could look into the eyes of the other and get insight into themselves.

    Forever the battle with the animal in (hu)man.

    In all this I hope that in the hard economic times ahead that the argument and violence is not the result for many resulting from fiscal strain.

  99. 99 Jenni
    February 16, 2009 at 19:12

    Movies have a large role to play in setting examples. So many movies show heroes and superheroes overcoming the ‘bad guys’ through using violence. So much gratuitous violence passes as entertainment, and audiences are desensitized to the point where they cheer when someone on screen gets a punch in the face as a way to end an argument.

    Violence against women and children will not end till men accept that they have rights and should be treated equally. Religious, cultural and traditional reasons are merely excuses. And the line that men resort to violence because they can’t control themselves is also spurious. If they can’t control themselves, how can they believe they have a right to control their wives and children?

  100. February 16, 2009 at 19:14

    One more thing: when I say, “do your duty to look after yourself” i should add, “because nobody else will.”

    Of course I mean that partly to make a point. But in reality, isn’t it true that no one on earth CAN or WILL or is even ABLE TO look after YOU as well as *YOU*. Please think about the implications of that deeply.

    If you’re not going to look after you, who will?

    Do the right thing by yourself: let your deeper, wiser self take the lead and do what’s right, even though your ‘smaller self’ feels that it’s hard.

    In the end, that still small voice is almost always right: as though it has lived for millions of years and can see far into the future.


  101. February 16, 2009 at 19:24

    Words can be stronger than actions. I came very close to slapping my former husband, across the face, after he told me he had been having an affair. We were happily married for 22 years. Something stopped me and I’m happy to say instead of slapping him, I told him, many times afterward, that I had wanted to slap him. Words can be stronger than actions. I was so disgusted with him, telling him I wanted to spit in his face and slap him was a much better reaction than actually doing it. I have never regretted it. and am thankful that I stopped myself.

  102. 102 Gloria in Oregon
    February 16, 2009 at 19:28

    So many wonderful comments in this blog. For me, most special, were the comments from Malc Dow, who spoke succinctly and eloquently and wisely. His words are like a poem we all, everywhere, would do well to memorize.

    I only have one additional comment, and that is for all of us to compassionately encourage those who cannot control their rage, to seek professional counseling and/or psychotherapy to gain insight & understanding into themselves. (Therapy would also be beneficial for those who are the unfortunate recipients of domestic violence.)

  103. 103 Tom D Ford
    February 16, 2009 at 19:46

    When King Solomons’ teaching, “spare the rod and spoil the child”, is the foundation teaching for parenting in the “One God” religions, we can expect to have lots of domestic violence in the societies where Judaism, Christianity, and Islam dominate.

  104. 104 Luci Smith
    February 16, 2009 at 21:01

    Having grown up in a family in a time where children were considered to be the property of the parents and with a stepfather who would not dream of hitting his wife, but constanly hit and beat up on us children, I can say that violence in the home is a sign that someone has problems.
    My advice is to get out and seek help. The perpetrators of violence continue doing what they are doing, – that is just their way until somebody stops them with either violence or sanctions. The rest of us just have to show that we do not approve of their behavior. The best way to do that is by leaving and divorce.

  105. 105 h kpelly
    February 16, 2009 at 21:39

    Hiting someone in self defence when you are under attack I find nothing wrong with. But to hit a person in order to ‘teach them sense’ as we use to say is to say the least, a coward action. those who do this actually show their weakness instead of strength. By the way, inflicting pain on another person as a means of bringing them to order just shows how insecure a person is in the situation.

  106. 106 Thomas Murray
    February 16, 2009 at 21:51


    I assume you mean the Chris Brown kerfuffle with his girlfriend in Hancock Park the morning before the Grammys. We all go off our nut every once in a while. Even Jesus Christ went all whip-ass medieval on a bunch of money lenders once. But premeditated violence against anyone — barring self-defense — is right out.

    If religion permits it, society needs to step in. Freedom of religion does not include wailing on your wife. Those who think it does, well, their religion needs a good old fashioned purging. If spouse abuse is because of your culture, or deprived childhood, or because of the pressure, or makes a point, one can rethink these issues in jail.

    In the days of YouTube expect nothing to fail the microscope. And we’ve got celebrity meltdowns a-plenty. Christian Bale dropping the f-bomb in a three and a-half minute tirade on the set of “Terminator” made the Tube. So did Anderson Cooper when he deliverd the news sloppy drunk on CNN. And was was Joaquin Phoenix’s (“My life is my (bleeping) life”) loopy interview on David Letterman.

    These guys make Prince Harry look like a (bleepin’) BoyScout.

    No to Spouse abuse in Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  107. 107 Roberto
    February 17, 2009 at 00:48

    RE “” It’s our culture. This is how we do things. “”

    ————– My NPR station talked of the epidemic of gang rape of Cambodian girls by middle class gangs of young men. Apparently it’s a new fun sport for them and bonding experience.

    Unfortunately, regardless of the eons of lessons of history, modern peoples are usually no improvement over ancient peoples. Stronger groups too often prey on weaker groups. It’s the exception when they are helping weaker groups, often after they have routed them in some fashion.

    The recent global economy in the US has hit men much worse than women. When a reported 82% of the men are the ones losing their jobs, doesnt’ take a seer to predict the potential violent socioeconomic fallout.

  108. 108 Yasmine
    February 17, 2009 at 01:28

    the only time you should hit a person is only in self defensefor protecting yourself, but not because someone feels like it or wants to get attention, relationship or marriage is a union between two people: not a property for anyone.

  109. 109 Auspicious Ndamuwa
    February 17, 2009 at 08:31

    Hitting your partner is the most disgusting and cruel thing that can creep in a relationship. What has to be stressed here is that the two become one, and is it possible under any circumstances for you to hit your own body? Stoics and other crazy people have been known to subject themselves to torture but in a conventional set up partners are not supposed to hit each other. Misunderstandings are part of everday life but nobody must be allowed to drive home a point with blows, slaps, smacks, stripes and what have you. Marital violence still continues because of partners who do not realise that beating only worsens the situation. Most partners who beat each other do so because they never had ample time (during courtship) to know each other and learn how to carry each other along with the many human frailties that surround us.

  110. 110 Chia Chia
    February 17, 2009 at 11:22

    Great topic, Ros
    It needs to be brought into the open

    Domestic Violence towards women takes on many forms.
    Is it understandable that a man would throw acid on a woman’s face because she refused to marry and move in with him? (Pakistan)

    The South African woman who’s husband died from an organized attack– had she had the ability to remove herself and her children from her husband’s abuse, maybe she would have done so, instead of organizing a beating which inadvertently lead to his death, which SHE still ended up paying for.

    Many women don’t have the means to leave an abusive partner. They often rely on their partner financially, and when children are involved, the economic dependence is even greater. we, as a society, need to not only demonstrate an open intolerance of domestic violence, but also a means to support them in their transition to safey and self-reliance.

    Chia Chia
    “Ja Ja”

  111. 111 Mary
    February 17, 2009 at 11:22

    Dear Ros,

    If there is any violence in a relationship, then leave–if possible. I am very well aware that isn’t an option in some parts of the globe.
    What do you do in that situation, I don’t know, I don’t live there. It is an option here in the States. This I do know, my mother, an abuse survivor, took that route. Violence against women, and it is mostly women in this case, is bad. It is never understandable nor is it excusable. It is usually a means to control women. That said, it is up to the governments to do something about it. It is up to them to pass and enforce laws that protect the abused. And it is up to them to come to a realization that women are people, not property.

    Could we please get off these discussions about violence towards women?
    I beginning to wonder about the mindset of the folks who work at WHYS.
    I usually like getting these emails, it gives my mind something to chew on during the day. When I get ones like today’s, I just get turned off and start to consider dropping it. There are many ills that world as a whole are facing. Domestic violence is a domestic issue, meaning any solution must come from within a country or culture. Solutions which are imposed from the outside very rarely work. So, please find a topic that is relevant to more than a few people. I swear, if I get another email with abuse towards women as a topic, I’m gone.

    Mary Jarvis

    Harrisburg, Oregon

  112. February 17, 2009 at 11:31

    I would consider the following as the best strategies to avoid hitting your partner. It’s cruel and uncouth to hit anybody especially a female! In any case, it may even exacerbate the problem at hand!

    Prevention is better than cure;

    For Extreme provocation, don’t wait for your brain to boil, walk away from her/him before she/he says something more provocative than what has already been said….

    For Self defense, You don’t defend yourself by hitting back, otherwise, a shield would be a weapon for attack! Just stop at defending yourself and walk/run away to avoid being hit again on target!…..

    For Culture, You need to initiate change, stop being fixated, why don’t you stick to your culture of walking naked for instance? If you have dropped the culture of walking naked, then you can as wall stop hitting your partner!

    For Religious beliefs, Nothing with life is the property of anybody be it an animal! Property does not have life, so stop being naive!

    For Occasional violence being a necessary way to get a point across, I don’t think that is true, it only puts a different point across, that you are stronger and powerful in physic, nothing more. In fact, It instills fear in your partner thus love and anything sentimental escapes through the window every time you enter the house!

    For Someone’s childhood being turbulent, such a person is not fit to have a partner! Perhaps you can try having a non-human partner. I mean if you cannot get rid of your childhood problems, then move on with them alone!

    For pressure at that moment, just don’t go to your partner until you are sure all issues not pertaining to your relationship are sorted out. If you are not allergic to alcohol, try a few drinks, if you have social friends, visit them and chat for a while, if there is a comedy show somewhere or a movie, you can watch one before going home, trust me, after a couple of laughter, you will have no more hung-over of stress to transfer to your partner!

    I don’t booze but the other solutions have helped me keep my hands to myself. I have never and will never attempt to lay a finger on my sweet heart!

  113. 113 steve
    February 17, 2009 at 12:21

    @ Mary

    Since when was the topic limited to women? There were male guests who talked about being abused by their wives. Close of half of domestic violence is committed by women, it just goes unreported, as typically the male is arrested by the police in response to domestic violence calls, regardless of who did the hitting. I’ve been punched and thrown into streets by women before. It’s not just men, so if you’re going to avoid listening to this show based upon a flaw in your thinking, then you’re missing out on an interesting show.

  114. 114 smithcopper
    February 17, 2009 at 12:24

    No it’s not okay to hit your partner. It shows lack of discipline of mind and in need of rational therapy.

    Growing up my mother told me my father kicked her while she was pregnant with me which occured during a fight that led to their separation and divorce. He was gay and she was Catholic-Jewish and thought she could change him. She threatened to get an abortion and he didn’t want her to get rid of the child if I was his. It’s understandable that he felt trapped and that she felt disillusioned. It was not okay for him to kick a pregnant woman.

    Also my grandmother related a story about the time my grandfather punched her in the face when she was cooing to the baby, their first son. She told me his excuse was that he said she was swearing at the baby. So she waited til he was asleep and wrapped his belt around her fist and pummeled his face til blood spurted. She said he begged her to stop.

    In my job as a bill collector I deal with a lot of people’s anger about their situation and some are rageaholics but really it’s all about how you talk to people. I talk to a lot of angry people and get abused verbally on a daily basis. Every call I have to wipe the slate clean and be a rational negotiator and try to assuage anger. People reveal themselves in the ugliest ways over the phone. Sometimes I am able to laugh it off and think about Waiting for Godot when the one character says almost out of boredom “Let’s abuse each other” while they wait for Godot.

    Can a husband rape his wife? Can a wife hit her husband and make him too passive?

    The world needs more love and sense of community. And we need to focus our minds on what pure holy good and true and learn to relax and suspend our desires and fears to analyze them in a rational way so that our behaviour is also rational.

    I was in a relationship with someone who was recently diagnosed as schizo-affective and bipolar. He made a lot of deplorable mistakes and erratic decisions which brought a lot of heartache to his family and myself. Did I want to punch him in the face? Yes. Had I? No. And we have managed to stay friends. Was I disappointed and frustrated like the lady in A Beautiful Mind? Yes.

    I read this on a bathroom wall a month ago “It’s good to be kind someone may be fighting a harder battle than you.”

    Most of the time people create a lot of unnecessary conflicts that don’t need to exist.

  115. 115 Vernon
    February 17, 2009 at 12:37

    It was interesting to hear of other’s experiences and I was wondering where mine fitted in but I see that it could also be a significant phenomenon and that is emotional abuse. My 1st wife used to put me under a lot of such abuse when she couldn’t get her way to the extent of locking doors so I couldn’t escape her haranging. It got to the point where I was so tormented that I resorted to physical retaliation at times. Eventually despite the positive times we did have together much of the time, it did end in divorce.

  116. 116 conner kinna
    February 17, 2009 at 18:59

    I think the 2 fellows you have on at the moment just have an axe to grind. Resonsibillity is what everyone should have for their own actions.

  117. 117 John in Germany
    February 26, 2009 at 13:32

    When a man strikes a woman he is no longer a man but an animal. But-i have seen woman provoke there partners to a point where it would not have surprised me if they had. The old story, making up to another man by flaunting their attributes. Practically requesting that their partner acts in one way or the other, to the point where others had to restrict the man. Then laughing and walking away. Of course such relationships are better no relationships, but it is so.

    Crazy old World.
    John in Germany

  118. 118 Ibrahim in UK
    February 27, 2009 at 15:13

    Hit? no.
    Wrestle in a selection of desserts … that’s a different story.

  119. March 24, 2009 at 00:24

    yola i think its understandable to hit your partner only if the situation is self defense. so yah lyk its ok if say ur husband is an abuser and say youv had enough so you defend yourself

  120. 120 dingle
    April 1, 2009 at 11:47

    I get sick of hearing people say ‘”Real men dont hit women” .
    Men with a fire inside them have a temper soft ass weak men dont thats why they never raise their hand.
    Thousands of years its been ok to use violence to teach right from wrong and as a reaction to something we dont like.
    Then we hit the 21st century and were told to stop it all its now wrong.
    Its in our blood and genetics from our bloodlines.
    We cant change straight away but we are trying ladies we really are.
    We were learnt that if you disrespect someone you get a slap in the mouth and thats were it comes from.
    Sometimes a women can say something that hurts much more than a physical beating and wont stop what they are saying,how do we stop them saying this only to walk away ,so when we do see this as an act of peace and dont say”there u go again walking away ,is that all you can do”.
    Men and women need to work together to get rid of violence.
    Even if this is the better or the worse.
    This doesent apply to the sadistic vindictive attackers that are out their,just the guys who are good and just mess up and loose their temper and still not at full strenth slap their partner.
    Sorry babex

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