Here I am, preaching equality.
But I'm the biggest hypocrite if I don't confess my weakness.
I enable men to hit me.
The concept of sexism is new. I don't know if I believe men shouldn't hit women but can hit other men. I don't know. I'm young on the scene. But I can say this with experience, it doesn't feel good to be hit. It's demeaning, it's sometimes painful, and it breaks a little piece of the trust you should have for a man you love.
There have been two occasions in which I have hit a man in anger. One was my stepfather. When he struck me in my nineteenth year, for the first time in several months, I struck back. All the rage for what he had done to my mother, my sweet sister, my tiny brother, was empowering my fists. And when Aaron humiliated me in front of a crowd of people, in a really terrible manner, I slapped him. Not hard. It shocked him, and me. I felt awful for doing it.
But now a new, terrible fear has come to light. Tonight, I realized that every partner I've had, except one, has hit, punched, or otherwise struck me. And I absolutely make excuses for them. I shouldn't have scared him with my clumsy banging. I should watch my words-of course he would hit me after being insulted! And eventually, I just expect it, because I get it from almost every guy I endear to.
Take my first boyfriend. He would strike me, then suddenly tear up and apologize. He would tell me how his dad had fits of rage, ripping holes in things, and compare himself. Only, his dad never hit a girl. He became progressively more willing to hit me. If I did something he didn't like during sex, I would be roughly informed not to do it. He was a dear, sweet guy to me other than that little habit he formed, because I let him.
I dated a man named John. Actually, John was very much a boy. A deeply disturbed boy with a dark past. He told me how much he hated man who hit girls, and wanted to kill them.
One day, I was in the passenger seat of my car. I was moving my feet in time with the radio. One of my shoes accidently struck the dashboard. Before I knew what had happened, John had reached over and struck my leg. Hard. I looked up in shock, and saw his eyes mirroring mine. He looked at that moment like he hated himself. I heard myself telling him I was okay, that it hadn't hurt, and not to worry. His expression didn't change. He dropped me off at home and I hoped some time alone would help him get over the hurt he had suffered.
But guess what? By the end of that summer, John had struck me three more times. I wore bruises on my arm in the shape of his hand for over a week. And he wasn't making excuses like my ex had. His face turned passive, uncaring, and I think that's when he lost respect for me.
Tonight, I was reminded that men really don't have a good enough reason to hit a girl. It shook me to hear that I don't deserve that treatment, no matter what I did. But then I remembered how both of those men were gentle and sweet, and by the time we parted, they had become hardened and merciless.
Maybe I deserve to be hit, after all.