"She hit first".
That was the refrain from one woman's husband when she applied for a personal protection order against him.
While talking to various women and agencies for this feature, I was struck by this excuse that the husband gave in front of the courts.
My eyes widened when the wife told me her story. Then again, there is a whole school of thought that goes something like this: You started it, so I fight back.
It emerged after the Janay Rice fiasco; commentators noted that in the video, the couple were fighting and she appeared to have flailed at her would-be husband.
Although she does not condone violence or physical abuse, American comedienne Whoopi Goldberg turned heads when she suggested women should not be surprised if she hits a man and he hits back.
Sorry, but I don't buy it.
I, for one, am firmly in the camp that real men don't hit.
There are exceptions, but the average man is, after all, much bigger and stronger than the average woman. The average man hits harder than the average woman.
Should a man hit a woman, the power ratio would be very unequal. If a man were to hit a woman, it is almost equal to when a woman were to hit a child.
Then again, men and women don't hit each other for the same reason.
Women hit out of frustration, sometimes to get attention. They don't hit men to hurt them, because they know that is not a realistic expectation.
Men, on the other hand, hit women usually to hurt them.
When a guy like Ray Rice throws a mean left hook at someone's jaw, he knows exactly what will happen. And if the target is his soon-to-be-wife in an elevator, he knows he will have to drag her out of there later.
I have never been hit by a man, although I did come close, once.
I was in my teens when a schoolmate was constantly abused by her then-boyfriend. I told her to leave him if she wanted to be happy. Unfortunately, she went and told him and I was confronted by the bully.
Fight or flight?
I decided to stand my ground.
Putting my face just inches off his, I taunted him and goaded him to hit me.
He could have and if he did, I would not have known if there was any defence, since I told him to.