“What Do You Do When A Girl Hits You?”


Joseph Kerr wasn’t prepared when his wife became abusive–and the systems in place to help weren’t ready either.

What do you do when a girl hits you?

I was sitting across the desk from the child protective services supervisor, who spoke with confidence of things he didn’t know.

“You’ve been to Iraq, we know all the guys who come back are fucked up in the head… If you need medication to stay focused or to see someone for mental issues — we know the military just sends you to war and spits you back out on the streets — we can help you with that.”

That’s one hell of a worm in the water. I had steady hands on my gear as the bullets were flying. My voice was confident when addressing senior leaders no matter the circumstance. Now I wore a nice-guy smile and kept cool as the guy who was going to decide if I was fit to see my daughter again belittled my Marine Corps career and used my stack of medals to weigh the scales against me; to prove my psychosis.

My hands lay gently on the table; the identification tabs from jail and the hospital were stacked on my left wrist. I turned my head slightly. He’d have to continue to insult my manhood and military service into a baseball-sized lump enveloping my eye.

“What do you do when a girl hits you? … You wouldn’t just stand there, right? I mean you’re a big guy, you’re a Marine, you’re trained to fight, the Marines wouldn’t teach you to get beat up….”


Getting hit by a woman is a new kind of scary for me. I can face fear, I can fight scary, but I can’t hit a woman. It’s a prisoner’s dilemma for the assaulted. The guy laughed at me when I said there’s nothing to do except just turn away. I asked what he’d do if I were a woman and started hitting him in this private interview room. “I’d grab your arms and hold you back,” he said. I countered, “that’s going to be tough for you to explain why I’ll have your handprints and bruises on my arms and there’s not a scratch on you.”

He made a final attempt to reduce me to a crazy-veteran archetype. One more question and I could relieve him of the work required in an actual investigation.

“So the police thought you were lying, right? That’s why they arrested you. If they believed you they wouldn’t arrest you.”

Breathe. Think. Pause, not too long. The words have to sound calm. Breathe.

My marriage wasn’t great. Heck, let’s be straight, it was on the verge of collapse. Probably had been there for at least two years. I was staying for the kids. My wife and I fought (verbally) nearly every time we had more than a few sentences to say to each other. We were roommates with chidden running around. It was horrible, but each weekend I was home and I had my kids. My two awesome kids. I’d take them out as often I could and do anything I could so they didn’t need to be in the middle of their mom and I.

Finally it was going to end. She wanted to move out of state with the kids and had no interest in discussing sharing custody. “We’re not discussing it, you can’t stop us from leaving. Sign it or I’ll get a lawyer and make you sign it.” She handed me a do-it-yourself version of divorce papers.

I reached out to some divorce lawyers. This life sucks for me, for the kids, for everyone. What do I do? “It’s a game of chicken in your house now,” the he said. “Neither one of you can leave with the kids, and the first one who leaves without them is a step behind in trying to get custody.”

Is there a worse possible way to resolve such a pending disaster?

Then the email confirmation — plane tickets, one adult, two children, one way, leaving soon. Tomorrow morning would be different, but sleeping on the couch was normal. I ended up on the ground next to the stairs. She kicked my head into the solid wood base. I blacked out, came to, stood up, bleeding. My daughter was screaming, “Stop hurting daddy!”

It was over. We were over. I headed out the door to the police and then the hospital. My daughter stopped me. “Daddy, you need to go to a doctor, here take this,” she handed me a bandage. “I love you” was the last thing I said to her. It’s been almost a month.

I walked into the police station falling apart. What happened? What will I do next? What happens on Monday? What happens for the rest of my life? How will I explain what just happened to my kids? My head was spinning as much from the injury as from the complete collapse of my home life. I knew the officer, I had came by the night before suspecting that my wife was leaving with the kids, he assumed why I was crying, “hey man, it’s alright, you knew this was going to happen….”

I pulled off my sunglasses and revealed my bloody face. “Whoa, what the hell happened?”

I started piecing together what happened. The argument, her throwing the breakfast I was making for the kids on the ground, grabbing my laptop, the stairs, my kids, screaming. I pulled out the Band-Aid and broke down again.

“Is she hurt? Did you hit her…?” No. Never. I waited.

“We’re sending a car over there to talk to her.” I waited some more.

“You wife is telling a bit of a different story, as happens a lot in these situations, she says you threatened her.”

“We’re going to take you into custody now.”

“Stand up and put your hands behind your back.”

An hour later I was handcuffed to a hospital bed waiting for CAT scan results to know if my head was bleeding. I looked at the officer.

“What do you do when a woman hits you?”

“I don’t know what to tell you, man” he confided. “We don’t like doing these things, but our hands are tied. We have to look at who is the primary aggressor.”

Stop Violence Against Women aggregated legal writings and produced a list of determining factors for the primary aggressor. Below is a portion of the list:

⁃               The height and weight of the parties

⁃               Which party has the potential to seriously injure the other party

⁃               Whether a party has a fearful demeanor

⁃               Whether a party has a controlling demeanor

Like most men, I am taller and heavier than my wife. I’m a Marine veteran with combat training. Studies have shown that gender (either biologically or by social framework) plays a role in being fearful. Women are more likely to report being afraid[1].

In 2006, the spokesman for the New York Mass Transit Authority, Gene Sansone said, “a lot of psychologists agree that people are more receptive to orders from men.”[2] Of the full list of 12 criteria to consider, it seems unlikely the man in any situation wouldn’t have at least these four lined up against him from the moment the police start looking at the evidence. Another third of the list involve prior histories, and the final few ask the officers to weigh the injuries of both.

The two officers escorting me to and from the hospital and then to central booking didn’t have any advice when I asked what I should have done. “Sorry, man.”

They never took photographs of the side of my face.

Thirty hours later I stood in front of a judge and had a county prosecutor argue against me: “His wife is afraid of him. She said he…”

Released on my own recognizance; order of protection outlaws me from contacting her or my kids for a year.

A few days later my eye had an almost cartoonish discoloration. I’d gone back to the ER complaining of headaches and the light bothering me. She cleared out my bank account. I was a friend’s couch away from adding to the homeless veteran population — 62,619 + 1.

I sat across from my lawyer and talked about the other time. She grabbed me and ripped my shirt. Her nails cut my face. I bled. I tried to walk out the door. She blocked the door. I was a gym-every-day, active duty Marine, fearing someone a fraction of my size. If she had a penis I’d have a dozen ways to put her on the ground. Instead, I was left to sneak out a bedroom window and spend the night in a parking lot.

I tried the police and now in front of a guy practicing law for nearly as long as I’ve been alive I tried again.

“What do you do when a woman hits you?”

“Run. Run and don’t go to the police.”

That’s it.

I reached out to a few domestic abuse support groups. “How can this actually be happening? How can I be the one to have been arrested? Why?”

I spoke to a nice lady on the phone and tried to pass my confusion into a question they were built to answer: legal advice, criminal cases, orders of protection. I was going to have to get rid of this order of protection if I was going to get my kids.

“Sir, are you calling about domestic violence?” — yes.

“Okay, we’re going to help you. Has there been an arrest?” — yes, me.

“Ummm, wait what?”

Their web site mentioned they deal specifically with custody in cases of domestic abuse. Sounded like exactly whom I needed.

Then came the second punch. “Do you have custody of the children?” No, that’s why I’m calling.

“I’m sorry sir, our charter only allows us to help domestic abuse victims who have custody of their children.”

This silly game of catch-22. Why don’t I have my kids? Should I have taken them with me as I went to the police station? Should I have asked them to explain the nice officer how mommy had hit daddy and be an accomplice in her arrest? Would any of it matter? There were no injuries on her; plenty on me. They’d have just watched their dad get handcuffed and be as confused as I am.

At this point I couldn’t help but think beyond my situation. How I am I going to explain this all to my kids when I see them again. What would I tell my son if he ever was in a relationship that had gone as bad as mine had? If he called me up one night and said, dad….

“What do you do when a woman hits you?”

I never realized how much violence against men by women was a part of TV shows. There must be something disarming in realizing that the larger, stronger man is allowing the woman to do something physically to him. One of the classic tropes of the Seinfield series was Julia Louis-Dreyfus pushing the other male characters[3]. Sometimes it was playful, sometimes it was out of anger, but it was always her pushing him.

The HBO hit show Newsroom takes it a step further with Olivia Munn’s character, a socially awkward economics Ph.D. When someone suggests making up lies about her online to get a story on an internet prank group she grabs the guy and throws him up against a wall and yells at him[4]. After her ex-boyfriend posts naked pictures of her online she goes to her office and kicks him in the groin then punches him in the face, finally taking a photo of him laying on the ground with blood pouring out of his nose[5].

The character’s anger could be understood for either gender, but could the violence? There is no way a guy could go to his ex’s office and touch her no matter how grievous her transgressions, yet somehow Munn’s attack feels like a triumph over her emotional tailspin during the majority of the episode.

So, what do you do when a woman hits you?

Guys can laugh off a slap from a girl. It’s a punch line in sitcoms whenever there’s a crass joke. But be careful that those never become more than playful. Because I’ve never found a helpful answer to the question. I hope you never have to.

 Photo—tinou bao/Flickr

[1] “Gender role and behavioral avoidance: The influence of perceived confirmability of self-report,” McLean, Carmen P., Ph.D., University of Nebraska – Lincoln, 2007 http://gradworks.umi.com/32/62/3262188.html

[2] “Voices Down Below”, by Justin Rocket Silverman, AM New York, 2006

[4] Newsroom YouTube clip, Season 1, Episode 8 http://youtu.be/LZC0Nz255KQ

[5] Newsroom screen grab, Season 2, Episode 5 http://imgur.com/a/GN3ou#0


  1. Poetentiate says:

    Anyone thinking of enlisting in the Armed Forces needs to read this and consider if the system that they are wanting to risk life and limb for, is worth it. This man is being treated as subhuman garbage for reporting his (ex)wife to the police for assaulting and injuring him, and this appears to be the way it almost always is.

    Also, I wonder how often she injures her children when she gets angry, now that he is not around to protect them?

  2. Check the Police report Randall tells a story about his wife hitting him which ultimately caused him to get arrested. What the public failed to recognize is that Randall is a pathological liar. Randall was arrested due to the fact that he attempted to strangle his wife because she caught him cheating. Randall failed to note in his blog that he passed on STD’s to his wife who at the time was pregnant. The day of the confrontation, Randall body slammed his daughter and cracked her skull. She was innocent and was caught up in his rage. Randall went to jail due to his actions. The police arrested him based on the evidence of child abuse.

  3. Truly heart breaking story. When I read the title I thought “oh please.” You just grab her, detain her, whatever. Its simple. I was wrong.

    My heart goes out to this man. He illustrated beautifully how a man caught in this situation is bound to lose and lose big. Domestic violence is an incredibly despicable thing but it is horrible how we have such a bias as a society when it comes to men being abused my women.

    I had a girlfriend who was verbally and mentally abusive. I lucky enough to say that it was just mostly the verbal abuse that set me back a bit but the physical abuse (hitting, slapping, throwing objects) taught me something valuable. No one, regardless of gender, should hit another person. It is possibly one of the most disrespectful things a person can do and good confirmation that you are with the wrong person. I countered the physical abuse by stating that assault is assault and if you put me in a situation where I have to defend myself, you’re going to lose. What happens after, legally would be a different story.

    As a father of three boys, I’ve realized that I not only need to teach my sons to always be respectful to women but to also require that same respect in return. We live in a society where it is okay for women to hit a man, for reasons that are perceived as “okay”, but it is never okay for a man to hit a woman. That needs to stop, its never okay to hit ANYONE.

  4. Ymarsakar says:

    You can’t protect yourself from violence if you don’t avoid it first. Sleeping while predators are around, with no sentry or alarm system, is a bit too dangerous, okay.

    Would you go to sleep in the house of a mass murderer cop that had killed so many people and been cleared of any wrong doing every single time? Maybe? I wouldn’t.

    It’s much safer to go sleep out in the wilderness, with the bears and snakes and mosquitoes, then to sleep in the company or presence of a woman who has clearly been mind controlled by evil authorities and influences. If your authority is no longer the gold standard with her, then she will do whatever they tell her she can do. Stealing makes her righteous and forgiven? Yes. Using violence makes her right and you the aggressor? Yes. It doesn’t have to make sense, obeying authority is obedience, they aren’t allowed to question their orders. The moment she prostituted herself to the bully boys in the law, she was going to use force to get rid you, de facto. This is the same as a mobster telling you he has put a price on your head and the contract is being carried out. They have already gone to war, mentally speaking. You have to prepare yourself against this. You can’t ignore it. If you know martial arts and can deflect blows, then don’t go to sleep except in a closed and fortified room or implacement. Cause no warrior has ever deflected lethal attacks while asleep. Pretending to be asleep, yes, but not asleep.

    Evidence does help. It may not stop them from arresting you, but it would stop the civil suits and court fees, similar to Zimmerman. Being in California is perhaps… not wise. Florida, Georgia, Texas are all better places to be. Choose your battlefield wisely.

  5. Thank you for reading and sharing this story.

    We are working to help this Marine, my big brother, raise money for legal fees. Eight months, and still fighting this legal battle. (http://gofundme.com/battered-marine-dad)

    Thank you ALL for your support.

  6. “Tomorrow morning would be different, but sleeping on the couch was normal. I ended up on the ground next to the stairs. ” – what happened in between those two sentences?

  7. So sad and so true.

  8. Jennifer G. says:

    What do you do when a girl hits you?


    That is the only acceptable response. I have said this to females who chose to remain with abusers, and I say it now to men who are victims of violence:

    The day that a girl hits you is the day you leave.

    The first time you are hit you are a victim.
    The second time you are hit, you are a volunteer.

    By not leaving, you (male or female) have made a choice to stay.

    That is it: Get out, get gone and stay gone.

  9. systembreakdown says:

    I’ve been accused of being a feminist because, as a female Marine, when I point out double standards, it is usually one in which women are viewed negatively (i.e, that girl hangs out with a bunch of guys and therefor must be promiscuous– something I have had people accuse me of when the guys in question were in my unit and we were eating together after a unit function). However, I have always been quick to point out double standards and sexist views that negatively portray men, as well. I find it very sexist that these officials didn’t believe a man could be a victim of abuse at the hands of a woman. Situations like this make it even harder for men to be comfortable admitting them when they arise because society will trey stripping them of their manhood or accusing them of lying. While women are more often victims (stastically speaking), they are not the only victims.

  10. This broke my heart to read. I am truly sorry to hear what has happened to you and your family, and I fear for your children…

    As a woman who has suffered abuse from both of the female family members I grew up with, alongside of the men who came and left throughout it, I know how horrible of an experience it is. But having lived through this abuse, I know that women are just as capable of abuse as men are. Sure, most women I personally know resort more to barking than biting, but on the flipside, so do most of the men I know too. As many others have said on here, abuse is abuse. It’s terrible that men are just portrayed as these evil beasts who rape and abuse, but can never be the actual victims of such things.

    In this situation though, the justice system just failed on so many levels. They didn’t take the photos, therefore they basically just skipped the evidence collection. They didn’t get a story from the children, the witnesses, and so again that was an overlook of evidence/testimony as well as leaving the children in dangerous custody. If this woman was abusive to her husband, what is going to stop her from abusing the children? Even if they weren’t taking the man’s claim seriously enough to investigate for him, they should have done it for the safety of the children!

    It is just so frustrating and heartbreaking that good people get punished for being good people….

    Also for those who say women are incapable of violence, tell that to women like Gertrude Baniszewski.

  11. I can sympathize with this story. I spent a night in jail after being hit, and abused yet again by my long time live in girlfriend. I always kept my cool, thus time she had also decided hitting me wasn’t enough so she punched my 3 month old tv shattering the screen. I threw her out, called the cops, they came and looked for her, didn’t take a statement from me or my roommate who had seen most of it. Then I get a call threatening me to take her back or else. later that night cops showed up for me. I had audio, I had witnesses and it didn’t matter. I had never been to jail, had not broken the law but I got hauled away for being male. has far has weight and all she outweighed me, and was about has tall has me but I still had to be the aggressor. Luckily the charges were dropped after the detective investigated but still I should never have been hauled in to begin with.

  12. Your main defense as I see it is to basically say.
    “If i’m a trained fighter and have so much ability to hurt someone, then why does she not have a bruise on her? I’m trained to fight and kill men twice her size, if I wanted to hurt her and be the aggressor she would have had least had one mark on her, she has none, I do.”

    However men not in the military can’t really pull that, but a variant of it might be a good defense if they use the “your bigger then her” argument and your the only one who’s been beaten”

    • That would work in a perfect world.
      Unfortunately, they use a checklist and determined that he is the “primary aggressor.” In handcuffs. Eight months fighting the bogus charges.

      We are raising money to help him with his legal fees, and appreciate all help in spreading the word / awareness.


  13. Get out of there and get a restraining order and report it AFTER the restraining order. Also prepare for that eventuality, donate to the local prosecutor’s campaign every year. EVERY year. Also his/hers significant competition, you want to make friends, not enemies.

  14. I just want to say thank you for your courage in speaking out about these issues. I know that the feminist I have worked with over the years, in particular those who are working as advocates for victims of domestic violence, are NOT happy with the “required arrest” mandates and other ways that the system assumes men to be aggressors and women to be victims. There are a lot of things wrong with the way we handle violence, child-rearing, custody and other issues…. all of them tied up in patriarchal values of masculinity and femininity. I hope one day, as more people come forward to share their experiences, we can change this culture.

  15. egg mcmuffin says:

    The answer is… there is always a lead in to this kind of behavior. Men cannot dismiss it as “she just needs to calm down a bit”. Get cameras, audio recordings, and a pit bull for a lawyer. Also, file a statement with the police dept at the first sign of perceived trouble. Develop an exit strategy from the violent woman… also if you all remember…. the correct adage was “never hit a lady”. If she is hitting you, she is no lady. Game on. Defend yourself and have witnesses. Share your issues with people who can vouch for your character…. it could help you down the road. I don’t hit anyone, or am I a fighter. However… guy or gal… come stepping to me with fists a flying? Prepare yourself for war.

    • Josh K. says:

      Restraining is the best option. Most men can restrain most women. Heck, even most women can restrain most women as well. Only if you actually need to beat someone to defend yourself, then yes. But only to make em stop, till they stop – and focus on not to hurt them more than they have hurt you.

  16. I cannot believe some of the comments I’m reading on this thread. To the women who are arguing that shedding light on female aggressors somehow diminishes awareness or clarity around violence against women, or cannibalizes limited resources to address such violence:

    1) Lies, damned lies and statistics – this writer is one of MANY men who is not “counted” in domestic abuse statistics. That doesn’t mean that females are aggressors as often as men; that doesn’t mean that women are not more vulnerable than men, physically and socially speaking. But it should make EVERYONE, male and female, VERY concerned that we operate within systems that don’t treat violence as violence – PERIOD. As a woman, I don’t want this man’s story swept under the rug so that a female-centric narrative can hold court. That doesn’t make me feel safer. It makes me feel terribly sad, and angry about the state of the systems that are supposed to keep us ALL safe.

    2) If there are limited resources to address domestic violence, how is that the FAULT of men who bring abuse against them to light? Why should it matter who suffers more, or who is more vulnerable – shouldn’t there be resources for EVERYONE who needs them? If you really want to rage against someone or something, then why not view men such as this author as a potential ally, and band together to protest and change the broken system with its insufficient resources, red tape, and insane biases?

    In short: how can you sit there and demonize someone speaking truth to power, when you yourselves seek the same outcome – a system that protects everyone from harm, and metes out justice when harm is done?? I just… I can’t understand it. This isn’t a zero-sum game.

    Joseph, thank you for sharing, and for your considered approach to this subject. We are all in this together.

    • 1. Exactly. This is that illusion that helping men somehow silences women. Its amazing that for people who make no small bones about how female abuse victims are under counted will then turn around and pretend that the numbers on male victims are totally accurate and there is no way they could be higher. Most likely its not that they don’t want them to be higher, but specifically they don’t want to lose the gap between the numbers of male and female victims. That gap is what helps keep women in the center of the conversation on violence.

      2. If there are limited resources to address domestic violence, how is that the FAULT of men who bring abuse against them to light?
      What they are doing is suspending the (correct) line of logic that a woman shouldn’t be blamed for being attacked.

      Why should it matter who suffers more, or who is more vulnerable – shouldn’t there be resources for EVERYONE who needs them?
      While ideally resources should be available to any who need them they are limited. Showing that “women have it worse” helps continue the argument that resources should not only continue to be diverted to women but actually diverted AWAY from men.

      If you really want to rage against someone or something, then why not view men such as this author as a potential ally, and band together to protest and change the broken system with its insufficient resources, red tape, and insane biases?
      Or they could even get outraged at the women that abuse these men. They have no problem raging at the men that abuse the women they care so much about but for some reason when abusive women are called the rage suddenly falls short (or is directed at the male victim because to them we’re supposed to help women and rage at men rather than help the victim and outrage at the abuser).

    • Heather says:

      A shocking story and I agree with both of you that domestic violence is unacceptable whether it is men against women or women against men and all victims should be taken seriously and treated equally. Whew, it’s scary how stereotyping still pervades our society and affects how such cases are treated. It’s true that usually when we see women hitting men in movies, the implication is that he deserved it. I guess it’s really hard for society to see women, who are meant to be nurturing, caring, motherly creatures, can also be angry, violent and messed up. We know such women exist, but we’d prefer to believe they’re largely an exception. My friend’s mother was extremely violent and the effects on her family were devastating. I have two boys and plan to have continued conversations with them around the fact that although I do not believe men should hit women, I also don’t believe women should hit men; and if they’re in a relationship where that happens, it is best to set boundaries around what is acceptable behaviour, get help to find better coping methods, or get out. I hope the legal system aided Joseph in the end or that his children are coping okay with not having their father around.

  17. I feel for you. There are no good options for you to take and it seems like everything is stacked against you. I’d like to share my own story. Although not as egregious a story as your, it still can be another story told about women who are violent towards men. I started dating a women last year and although things were hardly perfect, we both seemed to love each other. We had our fights, far more than I think a healthy relationship has (but I would still be in this relationship if it were healthy), but I never once laid my hands on her or threatened to do so. Slowly, as our arguments became more intense the stakes became high (we each invested so much our time into the relationship, towards the end we were all each other had it seemed) she became increasingly violent. Although she never hit me in the face, I was pushed and punched in the arm and chest many times. I am a large man and she was a tiny women so I knew I could never hit her, and I never will, or any other women. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t afraid for my wellbeing (she had a rough history, mine…not so much) and actually found myself sleeping on my own couch one night with a hammer under my pillow and the door to the living room closed and locked. She had become very emotional that night after we had an argument and pushed me many times. I told her to stop and calm down but this only made her more angry and increased her threats to “try her”. I told her I was going to call the police and again was met with more pushing and threats until she stormed off to the bedroom. I didn’t call the police that night but I really should have. No one should have to fear for their safety (man or women).

    A few weeks later I did call the police after an argument led to being pushed and threatened. I asked her to leave (my home, she was not on the lease and had not been paying rent. Plus she had no job) and she refused, so I called the police and waited. When they arrived, we had already separated and I was on the sidewalk in front of my neighbors house and she was on the back porch. The male officer questioned me while she was questioned by a female officer. I told my side of the story, she was pushing me, threatening me and I feared for my safety and I wanted her to leave. Truth be told, I didn’t want her to leave, I loved her and I just wanted to stop arguing. The line of question from the officer was more a long the lines of whether I wanted her to leave (which I ultimately decided against) and nothing was mentioned about the violence or threats. If the roles had been reversed I am almost certain they would have been harder on me, than they were on her. Granted, I was given the opportunity to make her leave (4 oclock in the morning, nothing in hand for her) but I could hear and see her crying in the dim light of the porch and I just couldn’t do it. No charges were filed and I felt like I had wasted the time of the police.

    I am lucky to be out of that relationship, but I still worry that something might happen in the future.

  18. wellokaythen says:

    I’m very curious about the editorial decision to have the title say “when a girl hits you” instead of “when a woman hits you.” The first time he raises the question it says “girl,” but for the rest of the article it says:

    “What do you do when a woman hits you?”

    That seems to be the main question of the article. It’s describing an adult, female human who uses violence against a man. The assailant is clearly a woman and not a girl. It’s clear that “girl” and “woman” give very different connotations about how dangerous the abuse is. This is not a 5-year old pinching a little boy. This is adult fists and adult muscle power.

    The word “girl” gives the impression that the damage should be discounted somehow.

  19. This is a really important piece to hear. And it is heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking. What does a man do when a woman hits him? I have no answer for that. What do you when your wife kicks you in the head? I simply don’t know. I simply can’t imagine what kind of woman does this. Other then a really terrible one. The fact that a man does infact have a different body structure and muscle mass compared to a woman can clearly be both a draw back or a positive. I don’t think it’s fair to completely ignore what a man may be capable of when coming to combat with a woman. But we also should not deny that anyone is capable of violence.

    In the case of Joseph, when you have military training and are bigger than your wife, how do you stop an escalating situation without coming off as the abuser yourself? Again, I don’t know. Is the answer to use violence to fight violence? I don’t really believe it is. But then again, I have no answer for what really would be the answer. Would it be wrong to use the daughter to describe what she saw? I’m not so certain it would be. Especially if it prevents the daughter herself from being in an abusive situation with the mother.

    I certainly understand that abusers come in all shapes and sizes though. My brother dated a very gorgeous, young woman who was petite..maybe 5’5 and 110 pounds. She turned out to be an abusive person. It never escalated to the point of her hitting him, however, she had done things like hit herself in the head with a bat to get him to let her in the house after they broke up, would purposely let his dog out so it ran off, and threatened suicide right on the day he was suppose to fly to meet myself and my parents in Maui for a family vacation. My brother was always a confident guy and actually was the one that was abusive to me when we were younger. He didn’t fit any stereotype and either did she about what an abusive relationship looks like.

    So I think the key here is throw out our misconceptions about what abuse looks like. Preconceived notions in general get us in trouble. The people that didn’t help Joseph where both victims and perpetuators of their own biases. And because of that, Joseph was cut off from the help he needed.
    Unfortunately, I do see a common mentality in society to blame the victim or to not trust what the victim is accusing the other person of doing. We see it hear in Joseph’s story and other men like him and we see it in rape cases when it comes to both men and women, where the victims are still targeted as being the one to cause the trouble. What is exactly behind those mentalities, I have no clue. But I do know that unfortunately in our culture, not believing the victim is all to common.

    I do think that violence against men and women is common place in media. Joseph talked about the ease at which female characters are shown slapping, hitting or kicking the balls of a man. Unfortunately, when someone hurts you, it makes us feel better to hurt that person back. Which is why it can be so satisfying to a cheating man getting slapped in the face. But it’s not much fun seeing your gender the victim of violence. That much I get. And if we can take away the satisfaction to hurt others simply because they hurt us, that would be a key component in empathy and growth. I don’t personally like seeing men slapped or kicked in their private area. However, the psychology about why it’s prevalent can hopefully explain the way to change it.

    Women are no stranger to violence in the media themselves. Often though, violence against women is sexualized. Most story lines about violence against women focus on beautiful and young women being victims. When there is a less attractive or older victim of violence, often it is perceived that the abuse is somewhat deserving or the older or less attractive woman is portrayed as such a harpy herself that it’s hard to have sympathy for her. This doesn’t even get into the amount of actual violence that is often procured in alot of entertainment that is sexually satisfying to men such as pornography. Where a woman’s physical and verbal abuse is sexualized and often very much welcomed.

    Unfortunately, it does seem the public does like to see each gender receive some form of violence. How do we change that as well? I do not know. But I desperately wish we could.

    It is my hope for Joseph that someone reading this can actually give him the help he needs. That maybe there is a men’s group or a professional of some kind, a lawyer, reading this that may want to reach out to Joseph.

    Joseph, I hope you are able to get your life back together, especially your children. And I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through something like this. I wish there was more I could do to help you but just by reading your story, it’s given me a lot to consider.

    • Erin,

      You say you want to help. Why don’t you call around to domestic violence prevention centers in your area and ask them why they refuse to help men who are victims of domestic violence? If they won’t, start a shelter that helps men and women equally. Stop treating this as a one-off, unusual situation, and recognize the systematic way in which we refuse to help men and boys when they are abused.

      If you want justice, work for justice. Don’t just wring your hands.

  20. This is such a sad article. I wish that didn’t happen to you. I wish all victims of domestic violence could be taken seriously and get the assistance they need. I hope you got your children.

    • Krissy C says:


      He doesn’t have them yet but he gets to visit. It’s sad, too, the way they’ve been fed an awful narrative about how “bad” daddy is. My niece was in the room and SAW what her mommy did to her daddy and yet she’s starting to believe what she’s being told. Meanwhile he’s fighting a criminal case where charges keep changing, hearings are delayed and legal fees keep adding up. I started a fund raiser to help with his legal fees: will you help by sharing it?



  21. This blindness to male victims of women is not doing women any favors, either. Think about it. Discounting aggression in women or discounting women’s capacity for violence is just one more way of discounting women. It’s just one more layer of the “sugar and spice and everything nice” infantilizing garbage that’s kept women down for centuries. It’s as much disempowering as empowering.

    If we want a society that really does think women are just as capable of men are, then we have to accept that women are just as capable at the BAD things, too, not just the good things. “Anything you can do, I can do better” also includes domestic violence.

    • Krissy C says:


      As a woman (and the sister of the Marine who wrote this article after getting his head smashed in by his wife in front of his daughter) I agree: blindness to male victims ISNT doing women any favors. I’m stymied by the incredible bias in the system. He’s still fighting; charges have been changed, dropped, added and his legal fees are mounting. I started a fundraiser to help with the cost; will you help by sharing his story?

      Women ARE capable, just as capable, of abusing men (and women) as men are.

      A Marine’s frustrated little sister,



  22. Carrie writes:

    “Hey Good men project,
    Nice job rewriting the narrative regarding physical abuse in this country. Violence against women is an epidemic. Some of us aren’t buying your BS. Violence of any kind should not be tolerated, but simply look at the statistics for domestic violence and you will see the real issue.
    Feel free to call me an “angry feminist”—I wear that title with pride.”

    It would be unfair to call her angry on the basis of one message. When I look at her message, I don’t see anger. I see language that is:

    passive aggressive
    lacking in empathy
    ideologically blinkered

    But I don’t see anger, exactly. I don’t consider “angry feminist” to be an insult anyway. Anger is just a feeling. It can be justified or unjustified. It does tend to destroy reason and a sense of accountability, however. Same with being proud of a label. Pride can be good or bad. If I said I was proud of my anger, that ought to be evidence to others that I’m somewhat unhinged.

  23. wellokaythen says:

    This whole “male perpetrator/female victim” assumption breaks down in same-sex relationships. (I think I wrote this somewhere else here, but I don’t remember where.) I wonder if there are people in same-sex relationships who can shed some light on this issue. There is DV within some of those relationships, and the dichotomy totally falls apart.

    Think about it:

    If one mad abuses another, then that means two perps and no victims?
    If one woman abuses another, then that means two victims and no perps?

    Total logical failure.

    • wellokaythen says:

      Sorry, should say “one man” not “one mad”. Hmm, writing mad when I mean man….Freudian slip, perhaps?

    • I recall reading something about this long ago, where the statistics apparently showed that domestic violence among lesbian couples was usually ignored and dismissed, because police and social service workers believed that women are incapable of violence, which meant that there cannot possibly be a victim in these cases.

    • Being gay totally changes gender dynamics in a relationship. It is something that is equally liberating as a gay man, and frightening to see in hetero relationships. Women are completely capable of violence against men, and it is damaging to society that we do not take this into consideration.

      A statement like “It is not ok to hit women” is bad for society. Quite frankly, it is not ok to hit people, no matter what their gender is. And it is time for society to catch up in this matter.

  24. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    The only winning move is not to play.

  25. Tom Brechlin says:

    When are people going to be honest and admit that men don’t count? A lot of empathy in these responses but it means nothing without action.

    President Obama and Vice President Biden signed the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization. March 7, 2013. It’s been reinstated……. And life goes on, business as usual.

  26. My mother raised me as a feminist. If a women slaps me or hits me I will hit her right back.

    • Then your ass will be shipped off to jail and you will be labeled a wife beater, denied any kind of services or assistance and constantly picked on and humiliated. Go on and tell the cops you are a feminist and that she hit you first as she spins out a lie about you being the aggressor and see which side they take. Spoiler alter: It won’t be yours.

      • Your 100% right.
        I guess that would also make me an activist. =D
        I will tell you one thing however, You tell a women upfront that you will hit her right back and she might very well rethink attacking you in the first place.

        I have used force with three women in my life. The first as a kid when this girl kept hitting me so my mom told me to just hit her back next time. The next time was at 16 with my girlfriends drunk mother who attacked me and was pulling my heir and hitting me. after a bit of this I told her if she did not let me go I would defend myself. I pushed her off me and started to walk out when she turned and went after my girlfriend…. so I beat the shit out of her, 14 years later she still has the scar on her forehead from our fight.

        the 3rd time had was at 20 when my new girlfriend tried to stop me from walking out the door and leaving by blocking my path. I stopped and looked her right in the eyes before I pushed past her. Not to hard but my point was made that if your going to try and stop me then you better be ready to stop me.

        • Anonguy, to me, it sounds to me that you have more anger and an agenda against “Feminism”, then you do the actual issue of violence against men.

          • Well your free to think that. I would point out I self identify as a liberal feminist. I also corun a feminist Facebook page examining issues of consent mostly.
            You could argued I have a issue with violence or masculunity, but I don’t see this as a agendy so much as respec for women. If I would hit a man only chivalry could explains why I would not hit a women.
            Its not violence vs men or women. Its just violence.

        • I agree with a lot of what you say. But hitting an abuser back does nothing to deter them from doing it again if they have anger issues. My ex wife used to hit me on a daily basis for five years. I eventually got to the point of hitting back (always at minimal level of force) to try to defend myself and deter her from doing it again in the future. But what I found is that she was so angry it did not matter to her if I injured her in response she was going to hit me anyway. So the point is violence only produces more violence. Best thing to do is simply leave the situation.

  27. Ouuhh!

    I cannot believe why or how it is so hard for you to get legally punishment for the woman of abusive behavior or assaulting u!?? Put some hidden cameras to the house if she is really beating you, so u have hard evidence!!

    Or my way is to make very clear with my manly charisma that if u assault on humanbeen you better be ready to face the consequences, because if you will be violent you will get that back, cus that is how world works(I’m a christian ev.lut. strongly man of god), but every action has a counter and you have to take responsibility of your acts!! –Guys man up! What do you think the muslims say!? …laughing them ass off, i tell u!! ; )

    But all good, try to scope with your females, love them and make sure they know there is really no equality between our worlds! Mans world and hes surviving is completely different than the world of feminine..!


    • Troy Wahl says:

      In California (and I’m sure in some other states as well), one either needs informed consent (thus the signs that state a business does video surveillance) or a search warrant for surveillance to be admissible evidence. There is no way an abuser will give informed consent and a judge needs evidence of the abuse before they’ll sign a search warrant. Catch-22 again.

      Law in all states requires minimum and equal force (which includes skill level) be used to resolve a conflict. As a marine, dealing with a presumably untrained civilian, his training automatically meant that he had greater skill, thus touching (unarmed) her would have meant using excessive force unless she had a weapon (which is how a prosecutor would argue it). Catch-22 again.

  28. What about less severe cases, though? E.g. women slapping due to perceived “disrespect.” I was watching “Something to Talk About” the other night, with JulIa Roberts and Dennis Quaid. Dennis Quaid’s character cheats on his wife, Julia Roberts’ character, and in retaliation: 1) Kyra Sedwick’s character, JR’s character’s sister, knees DQ’s character in the balls; and 2) JR’s character gives DQ’s character food poisoning in a fit of pique. The first act of violence is portrayed as deserved and the second as wrong-doing, but understandable wrong-doing. And I realized that I’d seen this movie many times without giving either instance of violence much thought. Yes cheating was involved and you could call this violence acts of passion, but I wouldn’t be okay with a man beating his cheating wife. But woman-on-man light violence was normalized for me.

    I agree with all the “walk away” advice, but at a deeper level, how do we stop thinking that violence against men by women is at some level acceptable, an okay way for a weaker person to interact with a stronger person? It’s as though we all need to re-do kindergarten: no hitting (except in strict defense), ever.

    • I think that the problem deals directly with body-size.

      One common refrain I’ve heard is a woman saying “Yeah, but when someone has 100 pounds on you…” I even read a version of this today, written by Joanna Schroeder, an editor of this site, in a comment on another article. This is SO common, that I’ve come to believe many women just cannot get past it.

      Speaking as a small man, I’ve never understood this point of view. I’m 5’7″ tall, and my weight fluctuates between 150 and 160 pounds, depending on how often I’ve gotten to the gym recently. The very same men that women complain about ALSO have 100 pounds and several inches on me. Moreover, one needs only glance at statistics to know that, as a man, I’m far more likely to be the victim of violence (whether its murder or simple assault), than any woman.

      Yet, despite the statistics being against me, and my small stature, I don’t feel scared around men, because as a man, I know that men are human beings and not mindless brutes.

      But no matter how many times I’ve tried to explain this, it just falls on deaf ears. The whole “I’m at risk because women are smaller,” still gets trotted out, and my own viewpoint as a small man is ignored.

      Until the hurdle that comes with body size differential can be overcome, I just don’t know how we can get past this.

      • wellokaythen says:

        When you go to the ER because someone has cracked your skull, the MRI machine can’t tell the difference between a female assailant and a male assailant. The doctor doesn’t evaluate the damage to your face based on the gender of the attacker, because damage is damage. A concussion is a concussion. A bruise is a bruise. Men’s nerve endings are just as sensitive as women’s. Men experience pain just as easily as women do.

        Contrary to what many women think, a man’s skull is not harder than a woman’s, and the physical size difference or muscle power difference matters even less when there are weapons involved. Put a gun in her hand and the “100 pounds difference” means nothing. Men don’t absorb bullets any better than women do.

      • There are other male privileges besides just physical body size. I am not automatically afraid of large men, I come from a family of large men who were all teddy bears. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel nervous if I’m the only woman in a subway station at night.

        • Max Headroom says:

          Tia, you should protect yourself when alone at night with whatever is available to you legally in your area. Believe me, men are also afraid in those circumstances.

          You are however misinformed about the myth of male privilege. It is a feminist fairy tale that does not exist. Even wealthy men have wives and ex wives that spend their money with impunity. Mothers routinely alienate fathers from their children. Men are by far the largest share of victims of violent crime, workplace injury and death. I could go on. Educate yourself outside of the feminist propaganda machine if you want to learn the truth.

          • I must respectfully disagree that male privilege is a “myth”. While I agree men are more likely to be assumed perpetrators in terms of domestic abuse and are alienated from their children, male privilege exists in an economic sense (equal pay and stereotypes of women in the workplace), the commodification and sexualization of women’s bodies, and the fact that violence against women, especially women of color and trans women, IS perpetrated by men in its majority.
            However, having a penis/identifying as male is not the only piece that gives one privilege. Being white, able-bodied, financially well off, heterosexual, cisgender and stereotypically good-looking also play a part.
            No doubt there are many, many men who are abused and stereotyped by women. But male privilege can still exist without devaluing that. Male privilege presents the masculine ideal as such that it does not actually benefit in the long run; in domestic abuse situations, it encourages the idea that men are too physically strong/prone to rage to be victims.

            • That’s ridiculous. I’ve never worked at an employer that paid women any differently than men. Most of the job offers I see have a fixed pay scale that’s based upon clear guidelines.

              I was sexually abused when I was a child by one of the girls in my class. I never said anything about it, out of shame and even as an adult I can barely come to acknowledge that it happened. And when I do, I never admit that she was a classmate that sexually assaulted me.

              I remember being mugged and in a separate instance being beaten by a classmate in public. I didn’t fight back because I had been conditioned to never hit a girl.

              I have a hard time comprehending how all the damage I was forced to endure while nobody cared is not a big deal. How somehow I’m a lesser human being because I was unfortunate enough to have been born with only one X chromosome.

              Before you judge men, you might want to consider that our experiences tend to be demeaned and swept under the rug by advocates for women’s rights where they conflict with the narrative they wish to choose. If you listened to them, then all those women that engage in statutory rape don’t exist and dating violence is only male on female.

          • Max and Ted… I totally agree with you. I wish I could “like” your posts! 🙂

        • Michael Rowe says:

          So Tia, your reaction to an article on mean being battered by women is to cite “male privilege?” Wow.

      • wellokaythen says:

        An assault is an assault no matter what size either person is!

        Even *IF* an assault causes no obvious physical damage, it’s still an assault!

        Physical abuse is physical abuse no matter what force is behind the attack, no matter how “tough” the victim is.

        Imagine for a moment an abusive husband says in court that slapping his wife was no big deal because he didn’t hit her very hard and it didn’t even leave a mark. I’d like to string him up myself for saying something like that. I sure as hell wouldn’t let him off the hook as a juror.

        If I shoot a gun at a person in anger and the bullet totally misses, I don’t get a pass because I didn’t cause any damage. It’s aggravated assault even if there’s absolutely no physical damage to the person.

      • “Until the hurdle that comes with body size differential can be overcome, I just don’t know how we can get past this.”

        There is no hurdle. We ignore body size all the time when it comes to crime, so why not with domestic violence? Body size is not evidence of anything. A crime is a crime is a crime, no matter how big the person is.

        If I pull a gun on a bank teller, the FBI doesn’t stop to consider whether or not the bank teller is bigger than I am. It’s a robbery.

        “But Your Honor, how could I be guilty? The bank teller is a foot taller than I am!” Does anyone expect that to fly?

      • Women are scared of sexual violence mostly, dude. You don’t have to comprehend it, just accept that is a really scary thing.
        Many men condone it. If you don’t know, that is extremely common for women to receive rape threads on the internet, all the time. That is shocking. We have a society that blames the victim. Pornography shows how many men are attracted to women being raped, that is a highly searched for type. Sexual crimes can be very difficult to prove sometimes. Men are also raped, sure. Not as much as women on the streets, though, and that may be one of the reason most men can’t really see where women are coming from. Even if it happened 90% less, that is still too scary to risk not being super protective of yourself. Once again, you don’t have to comprehend exactly what passes through a woman’s mind, just respect it.

      • Women are at risk because WOMEN are devalued….size has less to do with it…

        • Poetentiate says:

          What a loaded statement. If you’re being assaulted you are certainly being devalued (as a person) by the assaulter. If what you say is true, then since men are assaulted more than women, they are devalued more than women.

    • you run. run as fast as you can.

  29. “If I wanted to fight I would have hurt her. A woman wouldn’t have the same feeling. A woman would feel defenseless and vulnerable. ”

    Yeah, thats exactly how I felt when a a middle eastern guy started following me on my early shift walking a few blocks to work in the dark,trying to tell me I needed to be his girlfriend, would not buzz off when I made it clear, and the cop I took it to couldn’t care less.It’s not a priority unless someone is dead basically. It’s not a gender thing. I had to change jobs.

    but thank you-It’s kind amazing for a guy to say this. They never want this card played. In my generation it’s the default position of guys to squeal equal victimization, so repulsive, when the body count tells the truth about that. When simple physical observation shows the imbalance of the sexes.

    Try to prove there was no assault on her again, get your lawyer on side.I don’t know the details or the laws but focus like crazy on showing that there was no threat by you to the kids, if you can. If you said something you can’t take back, try to keep in touch with the kids through a neutral contact; a lawyer, send letters/gifts whatever to her parents or anyone in common that she agrees to etc. so that they will know they can look you up.They will anyway, kids always do sooner or later.It’s not the end. You will see them in their adult lives, worst case scenario, which is most of their lives.
    On dealing with the ex – if you have contact,even through a lawyer,whenever the person is volatile, drop the past,keep it about feelings, apologize, don’t try and get her back or restore the family, respect the boundary, tell her what you think she needs to hear, just agree (in theory, like; “I see how you feel”,don’t admit to anything you didn’t do.) even if shes dead wrong, smooth the waters, it will make it the easiest on you, most of all.It seems cowardly but it’s the softest option ON YOU in a hard situation, with the best results in keeping contact with your kids.In my experience it is wise to be very very gentle when handling a venomous snake.
    If there is any PTSD or any issue, we all have something, it will go greatly in your favor to see somebody It shows you’re in the good citizen game, and that you deserve to see your kids, even if it’s just to give someone a progress report on what will be a lonely battle, look after yourself.

  30. “So, what do you do when a woman hits you?”

    You run away from her if you can. If not, you push her away and run. In the rare instance where the woman hitting you is stronger than you are, and you can’t run away, you stand your ground and hope you don’t die.

    “So, what do you do when a man hits you?”

    You run away from him if you can. If not, you defend yourself and hope you don’t die. In the rare instance where the man hitting you is weaker than you are, you push him away and run.

    “So, what do you do when a person hits you?”

    Run away if you can. Other actions depend upon whether the person is stronger or weaker than you are. If you are thinking about the possible law related consequences of defending yourself from a violent person, rather than reacting to save yourself? It’s pretty likely you do not feel at risk of real harm. It’s really likely you could easily run away.

  31. “Run, run and don’t go to the Police.” Sad to say, you’re lawyer probably gave you the best advice. I personally know 2 men who are in abusive relationships and there’s really nothing else they can do. One was arrested when he called the police with the fork she stabbed him with still sticking out the back of his neck! It was only because SHE decided to end the relationship and didn’t wish to pursue charges that it was dismissed. The other poor guy shows up a work with new bruises every week. He confided in me (I’ve known him since he was born) That he want’s to leave but she threatens that if he calls the police she’ll just claim she was defending herself and he’ll be the one arrested! (Since he has an arrest record from when he was 18 or so, this really puts him in a bad spot). I told him take someone with a video camera with him go to his house, get his stuff, and make sure to videotape the whole thing. It seemed to me the only way to do it!

  32. Not buying it says:

    The reason I have never been hit by a women so far & I am in my forties is very simple, I make it quite clear from the beginning & throwout any kind of relationship, violence will be met with violence up to & including anything that she might want to inflict on me, ” do not lay a hand on me & I will never lay a hand on you ” period, I don’t play the chivalrous Knight or the gentleman if the other person does not want to be respected for who they are as a human being, male or female.

    • Josh K. says:

      That is really just sad so many American males think it is okay to fight violence with violence. Even more when it comes from someone smaller than you. That is not self defense, just plain ignorance. Pathetic, guys. Well, some will even beat their own child, too…
      I wonder how many give violence back with even more force – to someone smaller, that won’t be able to defend themselves. Seems contraditory, but that is about strenght in the end. You could restrain them, that is why you feel so free to do anything back. I wonder how many of you would feel that free to give violence back if the one beating you were a guy 3 times bigger than you. Not many of you, I’m sure.

  33. Joseph Kerr says:

    I want to clear something up I’ve seen in the comments here and on a reddit posting of this. This isn’t something the site wrote. I wrote this on my own after this happened as a way to express all the frustration I had at these various agencies. Then I sent it to this site because I had seen a few pieces from them shared by friends on Facebook. The thing about a dad wishing his daughter will have good sex is probably one of three pieces I’ve read off this site. But it seemed like it would be hitting an audience that might do well to think about the central question I wanted to raise.

    I purposefully used a question in the title and throughout the piece because I didn’t want to become preachy. I didn’t want to suggest to you that I, attempting to become a “good man…” could solve this question.

    What I wanted instead for a conversation to begin and for men and women to look at the question and the circumstances and struggle individually with the answer.

    One of the things I’ve enjoyed most from watching the comments have been the fact that people seem to be arguing more with themselves than with each other. You each are having that internal, conflicted reaction to the question… which is what I wanted.

    Thanks for spending the time to read my words.

  34. Abuse in relationships is unfortunate when it occurs, regardless of who is guilty. The short answer for what to do when a woman is the aggressor is to defend yourself. For both women and men: the truth is that the aggressor – whether a husband or wife, is not necessarily wrong about the issue but is wrong to resort to so much force to communicate with or to control the partner.

    People react differently to physical aggression. Some people would rather be slapped or spanked or slugged once in a while than to be shouted at. Others would rather get yelled at or have sex or money withheld as their punishments.

    I would say that people need to gauge how healthy or unhealthy the relationship is. If it was a rare outbreak of stress I personally believe that is different from a clear pattern of abusive behavior which is gauranteed to be associated with “unhealthy intimacy”. If the partner will cooperate and there is the money for it, counseling should be sought to find better ways of resolving the conflicts that have flared up into abuse. If either a man or a woman is just harsh and abusive and there is not the money nor the willingness to fix the problem, then the other person may just need to get out of the relationship. Obviously, the more severe the abuse, the more important it is for the injured party to escape. Even if he or she was right about whether or not to pay a bill does not justify anyone ending up with a broken arm.

    Some readers will feel I am seeming to pander to the violent. I don’t think so, but I am being a bit more truthful about human nature than some are willing to be.

    • Joseph Kerr says:

      This wasn’t a healthy relationship outside of these two events, and the fault for that is spread between the both of us.

  35. I think it’s…sad, that ANYONE would have to suffer through an abusive relationships. Fights happen regularly in virtually all relationships, but it should never be to the point where there is continual physical lashing out towards the man OR woman. I’m sure this story is highly similar to many of the stories women tell, and that there ARE plenty of instances where the man is the aggressor, but it should still be legal for a man to use his own strength to defend himself (and ONLY to do this) when in an altercation like this with a female. Just because we’re often physically superior doesn’t mean we should let women hurt us. Hell, what’s a scrawny guy to do when his wife is physically superior? Will the wife automatically be seen as the aggressor? That isn’t really fair to her, either : (

    Either way, thanks for the share, whoever it was that posted this story. I’m sorry you had to suffer through being separated from your kids and this abuse, especially after protecting our country. I pray you find your answers soon and can give your kids the life they deserve; a warm one, with their father.

  36. Hey Good men project,
    Nice job rewriting the narrative regarding physical abuse in this country. Violence against women is an epidemic. Some of us aren’t buying your BS. Violence of any kind should not be tolerated, but simply look at the statistics for domestic violence and you will see the real issue.
    Feel free to call me an “angry feminist”—I wear that title with pride.

    • So what exactly is it about the this “epidemic” of violence that women face that shows that experiences like the ones in this post are BS?

      Violence of any kind should not be tolerated, but simply look at the statistics for domestic violence and you will see the real issue.
      So in one breath you say that no violence should be tolerated but in the next we need to look at the stats on DV to see the “real issue”? So is the reality of female against male violence a real issue or not? I think the problem is that you seem to be under the impression that there can only be one real issue (you did say to look at the stats on dv to see THE real issue). I’m pretty sure they are all real.

      Feel free to call me an “angry feminist”—I wear that title with pride.
      Baiting? How adorable.

    • Mr Supertypo says:

      sorry but violence of any kind is a epidemic, and none should be tolerated.
      You may think there are only one kind of violence outhere, but in reality violence is multiform and hits everyone, regardless of gender, age or ethnicity. My suggestion is, take advantage of the time spent here on the GMP to learn about men and the struggles they face, yes you may be surprised.

      • You are so right about violence being epidemic, cutting across all cultural barriers,well most of them anyway.That is the issue-violence in America- that defines the conversation that we just can’t seem to have. Everywhere one looks, lesbian culture, straight female culture and in American culture in general, there is fingerpointiing;Its those other people who are THE violent ones is what they say.The denial of violence has been a common theme in American culture throughout its history.The denial of the violence that has shaped who we are as Americans is seldom, if ever truly confronted in this country.While I am sure

    • Pointing out that, hey guess what? Women do actually beat men sometimes does not detract from conversations around abused women. Especially when they take place on sites that were meant for men to have such conversations. You know that guy who goes on feminist sites and yells out “but this happens to men too!” and totally derails the conversation. You don’t like that guy, right?

      Right now, you *are* that guy.

    • John Anderson says:

      @ Carrie

      “Violence of any kind should not be tolerated”

      Then why do you tolerate violence against men?

      “Feel free to call me an “angry feminist”—I wear that title with pride.”

      Your anger isn’t the problem. Your lying is.

    • Carrie: “Nice job rewriting the narrative regarding physical abuse in this country.”

      Hey, we’re only showing the other side of domestic violence; the side that’s too taboo to talk about in regards to male victims. The side that YOUR narrative had a hand in keeping hidden.

      Carrie: “Some of us aren’t buying your BS. Violence of any kind should not be tolerated, but simply look at the statistics for domestic violence and you will see the real issue.”

      Um…uh…I’m sorry but this makes no sense whatsoever. “Violence of any kind should not be tolerated” + “Look at the statistics for domestic violence and you will see the real issue” = Does not compute.

      Or maybe you’re just saying female victims are more important than male victims. Which make you a hypocrit.

      Carrie: “Feel free to call me an “angry feminist”—I wear that title with pride.”

      Too bad. So you’re happy with being stuck in the past instead of looking to the now where both genders can be harmed.

      Feel free to call me a “Angry Humanist” – I wear that title with pride as well.

    • Joseph Kerr says:

      This writing wasn’t sought by the web site, nor do I work for them. I wrote this after it happened as a way to try and express my frustration with the different agencies I dealt with and then brought it here to see if they wanted to publish it. Heck, I didn’t even get paid for it.

      I didn’t intend to rewrite a narrative, or to diminish the violence done to women, I am sorry you felt that came out of my piece. I specifically tried to look only at my instance with a few cultural tie ins (like the Newsroom piece) to kind of link together why this seemed to be the way the system was constructed.

      I don’t think it’s ok to hit women. I do think domestic violence is a problem. I actually thought I was the only guy who had been through this until I wrote this and so many people seemed to have a similar experience. Notice thought in my piece and here in the comment thread I’ve explained that while I was attacked, I never felt like i was in danger. I was bigger/stronger/etc… than she was. If I wanted to fight I would have hurt her. A woman wouldn’t have the same feeling. A woman would feel defenseless and vulnerable. My feeling of helplessness was due to my (assumed) legal consequences and hesitance to fight back.

      I don’t want to call you an angry feminist, and I don’t understand why you are so proud to call yourself angry. I’m not angry. I don’t want to be angry. I tried to teach my kids not to be angry. Anger is an emotion that makes you act irrationally. I go to the gym when I’m angry or read or something, but I don’t enjoy having that emotion around.

      Feel free to comment back, I’ll respond if i see it.

      • I wrote a long response to you but it was eaten. So just going to say that I’m a woman, my husband set me up for a domestic assault arrest. He attacked me and I called the police, I protected him by not being completely honest about what he’d done to me, meanwhile he told them utter lies. Later I found out he learned this “tactic” from MRA sites. This sort of thing is scary, men constantly saying women lie about rape and abuse while abusers use MRA tactics to further control their spouse. I want you to understand that most articles like yours try to maintain that women abuse men equally. That is a lie that plays into why many women get worried about articles like yours. I appreciate your saying that you know you could have hurt or killed her easily while you were not afraid of her. That is key. I see you were wronged, I understand in the moment you didn’t stop your wife from hurting you, probably shock more than anything. When the person you love suddenly hurts you physically it is traumatic, I know, I went through similar. What happened to you in the system was wrong, I’m a woman and it happened to me too. MRAs saying it is common for women to set up their husbands and teaching abusers how to do it to the woman first is damaging. The constant drumbeat that “women abuse men as often as men abuse women” is damaging to fixing domestic abuse issues. This is why many women become upset about articles such as yours. You were a victim of injustice, yes but the victims of domestic abuse and domestic murder are overwhelmingly women. Where do you think our limited resources should be spent?

        • Later I found out he learned this “tactic” from MRA sites.
          By chance do you recall which MRA sites he learned this stuff from?

          That is a lie that plays into why many women get worried about articles like yours.
          This is the thing I have a hard time with about stats on male against female violence and female against male violence. There seems to be stats that can say just about whatever you want on which happens more often (or if they happen about equally). But anyway I wonder what stats are you going by when you say that the idea that women abuse men equally is a lie.

          I think the reason you see some MRAs doing the stuff you describe is because they have been wronged by the system and they are looking for a way, any way, to strike back.

          The constant drumbeat that “women abuse men as often as men abuse women” is damaging to fixing domestic abuse issues.
          No more damaging than the drumbeats that say “abuse is something that men do to women”.

          • so much for my reply, I am not going to try to recreate it, the site refreshes and kills comments while writing.

        • So… should he just not talk about what happened because it might make women uncomfortable?

          What exactly do you want him to do here?

        • Mr Supertypo says:


          Forget all about the stats, forget all about the MRA forget all about feminism.

          The reality of abuse is not a number game, and female vs male abuse has to be taken in consideration. I know its not funny when your own gender its on scrutiny, but this has to be done. Women are not angels, and women are just as abusive as men.

          Said that kudos to the author, and lets hope we will see more articles like this.

        • They should be spent on each and every single “person” that comes and seeks out assistance from abuse. Okay so (maybe) the queues will comprise mostly of women but each and every single individual that seeks out help will be helped.
          Men are not justified victims,
          Men are not acceptable casualties,
          and Men are not and should not be treated this way.

    • Hi Carrie
      Are you a troll?

    • wellokaythen says:

      In response to Carrie’s recent message:

      I’m just going to give the benefit of the doubt and assume that we are all having a rational discussion.

      Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that 99% of DV victims are women and only 1% are men. Just as a “what if?” for the moment.

      First of all, what difference should that really make in terms of law and law enforcement? Make the language and the approach gender neutral. I don’t see how making it gender neutral would actually hurt female victims.

      Second of all, even if men are “only 1%” that means we’re still looking at something like 100,000 male victims. A hundred thousand people is not chump change.

      Finally, I don’t see why any issue, including domestic violence, is some sort of “majority wins all” thing. A big majority of victims are in the ____ category, so therefore that’s the “real issue” and the minority category makes no difference? That’s an odd way to look at it. In other circumstances that’s called the “tyranny of the majority.” That would be like saying that “real se”x is heterosexual sex. The other kinds must be, I don’t know, denials, derailing, “rewriting the narrative,” etc.

      I just naturally cringe anytime someone adds a “,but” after “violence should not be tolerated.” Imagine someone saying “rape should not be tolerated, BUT….” Definitely a red flag.

    • wellokaythen says:

      I’ve changed my mind about Carrie’s message. Everyone consider this possibility:

      We’ve been played, and I can’t believe I fell for it. The message from “Carrie” is just so perfectly bad, just such a perfect discrediting of feminism that it’s hard to believe it’s authentic. Every sentence expresses such a purity of wrongness that it strains belief. It’s everything wrong about some strands of self-proclaimed feminism that it seems unlikely. Like when something sounds too good to be true, in this case it’s too bad to be true.

      It’s like one of those exercises in English class where you’re given a paragraph with every kind of grammar mistake possible crammed into one paragraph.

      If I were an anti-feminist looking to make feminism look bad, that message is exactly how I would do it. (I would have thrown in some misspellings, but maybe that’s too obvious.) Sending it with a woman’s picture was a very nice touch. Like I said, I fell for it, too.

  37. Tsk tsk tsk..all this talk about women this way, remember what one of your beloved writers here said..”If you WANT women, you need to LIKE women!”

    • pointing out that women are not perfect divine creatures, and that occasionally one or two of them become violent and abusive is not the same thing as “hating women”

      Actually, expecting them to be perfect divine creatures without faults is far more hateful, in my experience.

  38. I used to record with my mobile phone and used to say out loud what she was doing, like:

    “hey, don’t push me”, “you have no right to push me”… “why did you throw the appels at me!?” “hey, don’t try to slap me”…

    and basically, you can hear the whole interaction and the fact that she just answers stuff like “shut up”, go to hell, I do what I want”… she is not denying anything is enough for me.

    Legally, recording isn’t worth anything here in europe, but socially, I’ll prove I’m not the bad guy, she was the bad one! that’s the most important to me. my reputation, for me and my future kids.

  39. Get Dropcam and video record everything. Tape all the threats and beatings. Then make numerous copies and save them all over the place. Just to be sure, I’d stick them on youtube too. Send the judge a link.

  40. I don’t know about other states, but in Texas, women can and do end up arrested for abuse of their male partners. Don’t ask how I know–not what you think.

  41. Documentation is all very well but documentation can easily faked by the other party & I’ve heard at least three different situations where it was, fortunately two faked so badly (with make up) that they were thrown out. Don’t just take it or you will always just take it, & you will take it in front of your kids, that’s no way to raise kids or live.

    If she starts hitting you in front of kids go to the cops with the kids, phone them (or get kids to phone) as you’re going there. They then become a danger to you AND the children. You get your call in FIRST. If you’re male you’re instantly at a disadvantage legally so you have to own the situation from the beginning or the other party will.

  42. Okay, as someone that has been the victim of an alcoholic/abusive woman, is there groups to join, or an activist group to make local government aware of female manipulation? This has happened to me twice. I would love to be part of something to change this. I live in western Wa.

  43. It’s important to never let a woman hit you, no matter what. Cops will always side with the woman because, they reason, she is just a bitch but there’s nothing you can do about it. This happened to me. Run away, duck and jump out of range of her attack, or throw harmless objects at her like paper towel or balled up wax paper to distract her while you try to find an exit or sneak out a window. This is not a joke. My ex wife once slapped the back of my head so hard my hat flew off my head and I said that was the last time I’ll let that happen and I hid in a closet for nearly 24 hours until she left for work (it was a long weekend).

  44. Happened to me. What I did worked best: don’t leave the house and call the police. Ask for an EMT if necessary. Then call your lawyer if you can. Ask to press charges when the police arrive. Tell them you feel threatened and ask them to escort the woman off the property.

    But what ever you do, don’t leave the house.

    At the end of the day, it is about who assaulted who. Make sure you document and get the police report.

  45. I was in a very similar situation, and spent a long weekend in jail because of it. Luckily for me the police did take pictures of the damage to me (and pictures of no damage to her) so the charges against me were dropped (and she ultimately plead guilty to domestic assault). But it wasn’t resolved until much later, making those months very difficult. Going through the divorce later I was still incorrectly cast in the light of the abuser, and not the abused, even though all the evidence was against her.

  46. While my brother’s situation isn’t exactly the same, spots are eerily similar to your description.

    His wife’s been unstable since before they got married, and the marriage has lasted not quite ten years so far. The latest incident involved a fight, death threats against both him and the kids, him trying to leave the house and her physically blocking his way and then biting him, him yelling to the kids to call the cops, her throwing the phone so hard it broke, and eventually her getting arrested and spending all of two days in jail and getting out with a no-contact order. Then she spent a few weeks with a friend, all the while breaking the NCO with phone calls and third-party contacts.

    I will never forget having to coach the kids on what to do if their mom tried to kidnap them. That is a talk we should never have had to have, and the kids should never have been asking why mommy threatened to kill them (“when you come back we’ll all be dead!”).

    And they’re back together now, and from what the kids say they’re still fighting. She had made the most profound promises – no fighting, never again, it won’t get this bad, I know better now, I’ve grown – up to saying that if she ever fought again he could take the kids and she wouldn’t fight for custody. But no, nothing ever came of it. And I don’t know how much of that is my brother not having a backbone (because he has problems in that regard) and how much is him realizing that if they split his chances of getting the kids are slim just due to the way the law is weighted around here to favor the mother even when she’s the aggressor.

    All I can think is, I’m glad I’ve never gotten into a relationship like that.

    (By the by, a friend who works in the court system told us that the most troubling detail here is the throwing of the phone. When one person tries to prevent the other person from calling the cops, murder is often the next step… at least, when the aggressor is male. It’s a danger sign to look out for.)

  47. CorruptCopFighter says:

    You document everything, you take pictures, you make video diaries, you send them to your trusted friends and family, upload it to the cloud…that way when your account is hacked by her and they are deleted after you are arrested, you still have them. After checks are forged and your account is cleaned out. You pray you have a good public defender that believes in you and that knows how crooked and corrupt the system is but fights for your rights, you refuse all plea deals and you take it to trial. And during the trial, when she lies again and again, your attorney catches her in them. Then when all of the police get on the stand and lie, your attorney plays for them, their audio and video which has THEM on audio and video, planting evidence. The Sgt. who gave the order to plant the evidence then stutters and mumbles and admits “I think I’m mistaken, I’m really tired and I must have forgot that yes, that evidence was not there”…then you get on the stand and you tell the truth, you show the jury the dozens of photos of the abuse by her, and the mountain of evidence you saved. The corrupt DAs (that’s a whole other story), then cross examine you, and lo and behold, you catch them in a trap. You point out yet another lie and they are finally speechless. Then thankfully a jury of ordinary citizens, find you not guilty of all charges. In fact, you’re found not guilty of simple assault, with jury instructions that stated to be found not guilty of that, you had to prove…yes, you had to prove that you were defending a 6 month old little boy who was in your arms when you were struck repeatedly. But the struggles don’t end there…you have to keep going, because now you’ve caught a group of thugs with badges who are upset…yes, upset that they were caught, caught lying, caught planting evidence, caught committing perjury… But you keep moving forward and you keep fighting for what is most important, the little boy who you protected that night and you pray he is safe….there is plenty more to come
    **Everytime I walked away until the night she struck me repeatedly in the face while he was in my arms and I was feeding him a bottle and I had to get her off of me…I knew that if one of her punches was off mark just a little while he was in my arms, he would be dead.
    Just saying, the above is what I would do…

  48. wellokaythen says:

    Document, document, document. Have the staff at the ER take pictures of your injuries. Film her interactions with you. Place hidden cameras. Refuse to meet with her in private without witnesses present.

    I admit I’m not a lawyer, but is domestic violence really treated completely separately from other forms of assault? Maybe I’m just naïve, but I was under the impression that assault is assault, especially if there is physical evidence.

    • John Anderson says:

      You should also communicate by text whenever possible so that you can substantiate everything you say.

    • Cesspool of grief says:

      Documentation does not always work especially when you up against a woman who is a pro at getting out of this kind of stuff. The female I dealt with was so clever as to bring a picture from another fight with someone else. She had used this same picture many times in court against many of her victims. I am the mother of one of her victims. But one night she attacked me because I was going to call the police. She said if I called the police she would claim I raped her, after all that one has worked for her before too. She has many victims in this area and she got bolder and more bolder as she went along and then she murdered and is very confident that she will get away with that as well because she is very expert at playing the system. Many of her past victims have assaults on their records because she is expert at playing a system that was taylor made for her uses. Yes VAWA has made the court room a woman’s world as she so delightfully boast all the time. She is a monster that VAWA has created and her victims are not just men. Yes this has worked perfectly in her favor.

    • “I admit I’m not a lawyer, but is domestic violence really treated completely separately from other forms of assault?”
      Yes. Like you wouldn’t believe.
      The only thing unusual about this guy’s story is that he has an article publishing his story on an independent website.

    • Suzzie Terrell says:

      Domestic Violence is prosecuted under preponderance of the evidence rather than innocent until proven guilty. This means a Judge can say despite any evidence or witnesses, I think it happend so it’s guilty. In criminal court, assault is handled under innocent until proven guilty.

      This one of the main reasons there is such a huge domestic violence reform movement. That and the lowered definition of violence. Few Men realize every time they raise their voice they are committing violence if a Woman calls 911. Here in NC the definition of DV as stated by the bar association is “ANYTHING that makes someone feel threatened”. That means if you and your spouse are fighting verbally and she calls 911 and says “I’m scared” you are going to jail, lose your home and job, and not see you kid’s for a year.

      • Actually a lot of men do realize this but when they say so they are called names or accused of just wanting the right to beat and rape women.

        That means if you and your spouse are fighting verbally and she calls 911 and says “I’m scared” you are going to jail, lose your home and job, and not see you kid’s for a year.
        This is a very real reality for men and I’m glad that more and more people are starting to see that.

        Reform is badly needed.

  49. QuantumInc says:

    I haven’t experienced it in my own relationship, but my room mate faced severe physical attacks from his fiancee. She would go crazy in ways that threatened

    both their lives, and he wasn’t shy about using physical force to restrain her (though by that time he was just as emotional as her). The notion that one was

    the abuser and the other seems simplistic. He came to me for emotional support and counsel, which I gladly gave, though in retrospect I feel he took

    advantage of me. The landlord forced him to move out, I helped him move but haven’t heard from him since then, so I think he reached out to me because I was

    convenient, not because I was a friend.

    I held a deep conviction that they had the right to figure things out for themselves. In retrospect that seems naive. I should have intervened when I heard

    yelling, but at the time I didn’t. The last time, he told me she had tried to choke him, and then herself (half heartedly, there was no real damage, though

    it was still terrifying) meanwhile I had my ear to the door trying to figure if I should interrupt. I deeply regret the fact that I always told him “You have

    to think critically and decide for yourself whether or not to leave her” and not “Leave her now!” I did advise him to talk to marriage counselors, at least

    the sort with sliding payment scales, and to give her plenty of space, i.e. leaving her alone for weeks at a time, but it didn’t seem to help much; she

    refused to see a counselor, insisted she could handle it, and then another incident would happen.

    I have a bag of his stuff that he forgot, or didn’t care about. I should call him to return it and ask how he’s been doing. However, the landlord shared some stories about him making ridiculous lies (telling the neighbors he owned the house for example) and the fact that I counseled him so many times, we even cuddled once because he was so incredibly distraught and lonely, but he never made much effort to return the favor, (he never made a friendly call since he moved out). If I asked him how the relationship was going he would probably lie to me and himself. But maybe I’ll do it just to corner him and tell him MY FEELINGS.

    On a very general note, there was a quote I saw on feministing.com the other day to the effect of “The justice system seems to function determine if a woman was actually raped or not, but to determine if she is a woman derserving of protection in the first place” (imprecise wording) That is that some women never get protection from rape or domestic violence because they are the wrong type of woman, i.e. ugly, black, slutty, etc. The collary that feminists miss is that women who are pretty, white, and seemingly pure can often turn the system to their advantage. The capability for abuse is a human one. Women have a diminished capability for physical violence, but they still have some, and they have equal ability for psychological, emotional abuse, and in cases like Joseph’s, for what can only be described as legal abuse. Men in the legal system, police, judiciary, lawmakers, etc. love to play the white knight depending on whom they are rescuing from whom. A weird synergy has formed between the patriarchal white knight narrative, and many elements of the feminist movement, a synergy that ultimately threatens any move towards equality.

  50. Susannah Garcia says:

    Joseph –

    It’s deplorable what men who are abused have to put up with. I was a woman who was in an abusive relationship, my bruises and fear were real, and women like your ex who shoplift pain from the lives of others are flat out evil. This is one of the few times I believe a catfight may be justified.
    One of my very good friends has walked in your shoes. He was lucky – she tried to run him over, and he video taped it on his phone. This was one of the incidents that got him custody of his children.
    For money to help get an apartment: modestneeds-dot-com. Look for websites that are about helping people who do not qualify for government assistance. I hope you are able to crash with another friend so that you are not homeless.
    For what it’s worth, when I left my ex (with a newborn, a one-year old, and a two-year old) I felt victimized twice: first by my ex, then again by the system that (ironically) was using the very same tactics he did (plant self-doubt, accuse, shaming, assume the worst) to keep me “safe.” I ended up sneaking out of the shelter and arranging housing on my own, because the shelter wouldn’t let me go to my classes at university. To keep me “safe.” My ex wouldn’t let me go to class, either, and I knew I needed to go if I was going to escape poverty with the babies. Sometimes being a woman doesn’t mean you’re going to get real help.
    Regardless, there needs to be a conscious and valid movement to stop this kind of treatment of abused men. Domestic violence cuts both ways – and the courts need to catch up.

  51. I am so sorry that you were assaulted by your wife, and then arrested instead of being helped.
    This is an absolutely deplorable situation. Thank you for the courage to write about this and best wishes to you.

  52. wellokaythen says:

    There’s an even bigger insult that I don’t think you mentioned. Even when people believe you’re a survivor of domestic violence, many of them will immediately assume that you “did something to deserve it in the first place.” That’s the subtext of the Newsroom scenes, that what those men did was worthy of a beating and that the audience should be glad those men got what they deserved.

    That’s an even more alarming, depressing part. Not only do we have to get people to realize that women assault men, but also get people not to assume that the assaults are justified.

    It just seems patently obvious to me that someone with extensive military training such as the Marines has been trained over and over again to NOT lash out at others. In some ways, soldiers are trained to take abuse. There’s no way you could make it through basic training by lashing out when you feel attacked or defending yourself every time someone gets in your face. Seems like Marines are trained NOT to react to verbal abuse.

    • John Anderson says:

      I think the biggest insult is even when people know you are the victim of DV they still have to arrest and punish you because the law requires them to.

  53. Tom Birch says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I am so sorry for your pain and loss. No one deserves this. It is terrible that we do not teach people how to perform a basic threat assessment on another person. It is terrible that ridiculous conditions must be met in order to get help when in danger. It is terrible that so much commonplace violence is dismissed as impossible. Your willingness to publish your story helps change all of these things. Thank you.

  54. The Predator Drone that every woman, with whom a man is in domestic dispute, controls is the false accusation of abuse. It circles above the clouds ready to rain down Hellfire each and every day — without warning. For all I know the directions for this gamut is in the fine print of tampon packaging.
    The Social Worker who called the ambulance to take my wife away to the County Mental Health ward sat me down and offered her suggestions on how to deal with my inevitable arrest and so did my divorce lawyer…
    Remarkably, it hasn’t happened, but as late as last week it was a threat with which I had to cope again.

  55. I remember when I was in school and they taught us that most abusers knew not to hit hard enough to leave visible marks, or hit in the right places to be easily hidden. So wouldn’t this constitute that a woman can easily abuse a man due to being weaker and men lowered propensity to bruising, as abuse is about power. As we can see, that has changed in response to men coming out as abused. It is now you’re (man) bigger and stronger, she can’t ‘hurt’ you.

  56. Joe
    you sound like a good bloke. you have handled everything as best you could. It’s a terrifying and frustrating situation.
    i was in a similar situation, the counsellor advised me to leave the house and LEAVE immediately once my wife reached a certain level of aggression – in the end i left her completely, if i had not, i doubt i would be here today.
    people who question why you dont hit back, have no idea of the consequences if you do. i never did, thank God. trying to hold their arms is fruitless, my wife is tiny but when i held her arms to stop her hitting me, she had WAY more strength than me. I have a black belt in karate, it helped me restrain myself and NOT hit back.
    Lucky me. I too went to the police, they said to lay DV charges. My solicitor told me not to, because she would “manufacture” a DV charge against me …..?? So I didn’t
    Still,the best defense in dangerous situations is to validate the others feelings and treat the person with respect. Easier said than done.
    Try treating someone with respect while they are chasing you around the house with a knife in their hand?? Or have been beating the cr.p out of you for hours and hours?? Treating them with respect when they don’t return the favour and are intent on inflicting grievous harm on you???? I don’t get this one sorry.

    Joe, hang in there for your kids. They need you, they need the good father that they have, but maybe don’t see. Someone told me a while ago about the 30 000 foot rule…. If you are in an aircraft, and you have one of your children on either side of you, and the aircraft depressurises, the masks drop down, what do you do first? My answer was to put masks on my kids first, that’s the wrong answer. Put your own mask on first, you are no good to your kids if you are not alive or healthy

    All this sounds so easy “ be patient, bide your time etc etc” But unfortunately these things take time. Since leaving my wife I have struggled to see the kids (we have 2 very small kids) , I have No money so I represented myself in court (my wife’s family are very wealthy so I was up against a solicitor and a barrister), we got some good gains and now the kids see their father more and more, thanks to the Family Law Act here in Australia. So there is hope. Don’t give up the fight brother!

    • Hi Joe

      You have NO experience with domestic violence, so here you are the expert. Up until now I have never been in any situation worse than been threatened to have a knife through my head.

      But do we need a counselor to tell us to get out,leave a violent dangerous person?
      It sounds like you had many episodes with violence . I sincerely hope you are safe now.

      • Typo
        ” I have no experience with domestic violence ”
        I am sorry that we can not correct what we write. I feel a bit dyslectic .

  57. Hi Tamen

    I have absolutely no experience fighting with men, nor with drunkenness.
    Still I am surprised how scared many men here seems to be of women. But even a cat can scare more vets when it is angry. No offense Tamen, you have knowledge about segments of the population I seldom meet.

    Yes validating a persons feelings and show respect in dangerous situations is something I have seen professions do ,when I worked in a mental hospital. And to show respect can be one of the best strategies to prevent domestic abuse in the first place. To treat others with respect is not the same as being submissive or dishonest.

    • The men who may end up in a physical altercation with a women, especially in public, are mainly afraid of other people. If a woman attacks you in a bar the bouncers are highly likely to rough you up. You push a woman who is attacking you away on the street you run the risk or being beaten/killed by a mob.

      • “If a woman attacks you in a bar the bouncers are highly likely to rough you up. You push a woman who is attacking you away on the street you run the risk or being beaten/killed by a mob.”
        Do you have any statistics about that? How many men have been beaten up or KILLED (seriously?) by only pushing a woman away, or restraining her? I believe there must be a risk to it, but is it really that common?

  58. Jerry N. Wesner says:

    I’m sorry for all that she’s done to you, and will probably keep doing. In many situations being a man is an advantage; in family law it’s a drawback. Courts believe children need a mother. A crying woman can win over virtually any male judge, and many females side with another woman on principle. You may not find a satisfactory ending until your kids turn 18. But for them please don’t give up. Even if they can’t see you they need you. Even if she lies about you (saying you don’t want to keep in touch while tearing up your letters) they need you. Please stay peaceful, put your life back together, so when you finally can be with your children they can be proud of you. I’m so, so sorry this all happened.

  59. Joseph Kerr says:


    In hindsight it might have been fun to make a kickstarter to fund my divorce/legal costs to see my kids again as part of this essay.


    • Try to get in touch with Paul Elam over at a Voice for Men. See if you can post this there. You may be able to get donations as well.

  60. Joseph Kerr says:

    PS: Also, the friend I’m staying with needs me to move out in 2-3 weeks, which will be before my first housing stipend begins.

    So, lot’s of fun on my end.

  61. Joseph Kerr says:

    Thank you all for the supportive words. I’d like to comment on those talking about the difficulties in fighting to get my children back, something that I might consider writing as a followup to this piece.

    My wife has wiped out all of my accounts (about $10,000), she also is living in our house. My lawyer has been paid about $11,500 in retainers (three courts: criminal, family…) and about $3,000 of that has been used up in the last few weeks with multiple court appearances. My wife was represented by a domestic violence organization, but has since fired her lawyers and is now representing herself. So this isn’t costing her a dime.

    My lawyer has also advised me to tell the lawyer for the children that I’m ready to take a lease on a 3bdrm apartment to have residential custody of the kids. The problem is I have no money (literally, no money) and am borrowing money from my parents to help cover the lawyer. I’m a full time student getting paid a stipend off the GI Bill, but that doesn’t start again in full until the end of the first full month of classes (Sept). So…

    I need to find thousands of dollars to keep paying a lawyer and find a 3bdrm apartment in one of the most expensive cities in the country on no money right now. At least in Sept I’ll have real income, but… Well it’s complicated.

  62. Nicholas Bieber says:

    Any feminist worth their salt will realise that when equality is reached, issues like this will be resolved too. We are not far away enough from a patriarchy to realise women’s capacity for violence. It still takes me a while to get my head around women being behind domestic violence in heterosexual and homosexual relationships. Joseph, I hope you can reconnect with your children and have a strong relationship with them. A father’s love is no less than a mother’s.

    • elementary_watson says:

      “When equality is reached, issues like this will be resolved, too.”

      Well, that’s putting the cart before the horse, isn’t it? You need to tackle issues like this to achieve equality, not somewhat abstractedly try to reach equality and then assume these issues will just disappear.

    • Weren’t primary aggressor laws implemented with VAWA to promote this twisted ‘equality?

  63. Hi Danny

    The tragedy with domestic violence is that it happens between two persons that live together , they own a home together. It hard simply to walk away the first time it happens because it means leaving your own home. Often your children’s home as well.

    I see your point Danny. It must be close to impossible to stop a person,but never harm a person that attacks you violently.
    I have never been In that situation,but somehow I feel I would respond differently to a brutal attack from a complete stranger than if a man I love and shared house with beat me up.

    And since statistic show women do not kill their men as often as men kill their women,then maybe my feelings about this is somewhere near the truth.
    I hope GMP will write more about domestic violence. It is a huge problem.

  64. this is a big part of why man are going their own way…

    at this point in my life, I would not help a woman being beaten in the street. I was physically and emotionally abused growing up by men and women. the only sexual contact I’ve had was paying prostitutes.

    • Supra deluca says:

      So you would not help a man being beaten up as well? Not even call the cops, really?
      And if you are going “your own way” but still paying women for sexual services (no, that is not sex, sex is when someone also desires you, body and mind, and want to connect with you while you pleasure each other, never that soulless at) that is kinds contradictory.

  65. I am so sorry that this has happened to you. You may not have much, but don’t ever give up on fighting for your kids. They need you too much. I am a single parent myself and I’m in debt well above my eyeballs. I will never stop fighting for my children. It’s overwhelming at first, going through a divorce. I’ve been going through mine for 2 years. The only way I have gotten through it has been to take each day and do the next thing that needs to be done. That and prayer. I wish you all the best and all I can say is as bad as it is it could be a lot worse if you had put your hands on her.

  66. Jettero Heller says:

    Get the divorce sooner than later.

  67. aineotter says:

    This is awful and I’m sorry it happened to you. Nobody deserves that, ever.
    I’m disturbed by the comments that suggest that i the right thing to do is hit back, though. As if that would accomplish anything other than making a terrible situation worse. I don’t have a solution, either- of course an abusive person is going to manipulate the legal system, manipulation is part of being abusive. And they are often really, really good at it (independent of gender), and good at making other folk see *them* as the victim, because that’s probably how they view the situation. Aside from having the foresight to know ahead of time that a potential partner is going to become abusive, and avoiding them? Yeah, that knowledge usually comes after being burned at least once. It’s probably something we should be teaching in school, though; what a healthy relationship looks like, what are red flags and early warning signs, and what is and isn’t OK behavior within a relationship. Not so helpful adults in a bad situation now, I know, but it might help our kids.

    • Joseph Kerr says:

      I think what you’re seeing in people suggesting to hit back is the inability for society to deal with this question. It’s just grasping at straws. There are self defense classes for female victims so they won’t feel “afraid.” But can you imagine the idea of “fighting back” being presented to men?

      I was never “afraid” of her. I’m bigger than her, stronger, I know how to fight, etc… she did something I didn’t think she was capable of by kicking my head against the side of the stairs, but up to that point I was never afraid of violence. Even during the tussle over the laptop. I was afraid of what was going to happen next in my life because of all this nonsense, but I never had the feeling that a woman would feel if someone twice her size was abusing her.

      This difference of feelings is important because those self defense classes try and teach women to “not be afraid.” The fear I had was one of a life breaking apart.

      A month ago I lived in a big house, had some money in the bank, and had kids. Today I’m writing this comment from a spare room at a friends house. My bank account is empty. I don’t have the income to get a 3-bdrm apartment my lawyer says I should have to ask for custody. She’s living in our house for free.

      Those are things I was afraid of, but not the actual physical results of a fight.

      I would challenge you to think about how different your reaction to the notion of “hit back” would be if you didn’t know the gender of the subjects in my story, and if you’d still be as disturbed if you read a story about an abused woman fighting back.

      Thanks for reading. I’m glad it’s making people think. I don’t have answers, but maybe we just all need to spend some time thinking about the question.


      • Those are things I was afraid of, but not the actual physical results of a fight.
        And its terrible that you have to live through those fears.

        I think a major problem here is that when it comes to dv before anything else is taken into account, like the fears you list, there is a gender check on the attacker and the attacked. Once that is down a pre written script is enacted depended on the genders of those involved.

        Those scripts need to be thrown out. Yes its legitimate for a man to be scared of a woman attacking him. Yes its legitimate for a man to worry about how the wellbeing of the kids as he tries to get away from an abusive woman. Yes it is legitimate that he may have to get physical with an abusive woman to protect himself (because god knows women have no problem using the Battered Woman’s defense even when it’s blatantly not true).

        I would challenge you to think about how different your reaction to the notion of “hit back” would be if you didn’t know the gender of the subjects in my story, and if you’d still be as disturbed if you read a story about an abused woman fighting back.
        Yes. This is a problem of violence and it needs to be treated as such. Gender does play something of a role in it but gender can’t be the only compass we use to work our way through it.

      • B. Durbin says:

        Please continue fighting for your kids. The unfortunate truth is that someone who is abusive to a spouse usually doesn’t stop there. Has anyone contacted the children? I know that getting definitive statements from children is extremely difficult—there’s too much influence of what they think the adults want them to say—but there should be some contact from authorities, at the very least, to make sure *they’re* all right.

    • I’m disturbed by the comments that suggest that i the right thing to do is hit back, though.
      I’m only suggesting it in self defense and as a means to creating an opening to get away. Of course the answer isn’t to turn it into a street fight and go until one of you can’t get up but a few punches have to be thrown to make an escape I can’t say I have a problem with that regardless of the genders of the abuser and the abused.

      I think what you’re seeing in people suggesting to hit back is the inability for society to deal with this question.
      I can agree with that.

      Just imagine you’re in a dv situation being attacked by someone that obviously wants to hurt you. You’re trapped and need a way out? Do you throw a few punches to protect yourself or do you take a beating because of society’s “inability to deal” with situations like this? Now I’m not saying that that should be the first resort when you’re trapped it may be your last resort.

      • A few punches? A lot of times you don’t even have to throw one. If you are bigger, most of the times you can restrain them. If you are bigger, you can even kill someone by punching once. Your approach is dangerous and ignorant.

  68. Thank you for writing this. This needed to be said. This happened me too – it’s truly terrifying. Nobody can help. Domestic abuse hotlines hang up on you. The police assume you’re lying. Friends look at you questioningly. In my case, my ex was borderline. This is almost par for the course with borderline girls. Society needs to have a conversation about this.

    Good luck my friend.

    • I beg to differ, re: BPD. I am a woman, I suffer from BPD, but I would never, ever think of hitting someone. BPD can manifest in two ways, as recognized by the ICD: Impulsive and Borderline. Impulsive behavior tends to be more violent and aggressive and very impulsive (such as demonstrated in the article) while borderline types tend to be more depressed and suicidal and have a lot of anxiety issues. In most of my BPD support groups, women identify more as the Borderline spectrum rather than the Impulsive spectrum. I am, in no way, trying to dispute the article or how awful it for the author, but I also don’t want anyone to be scared of associations with people with BPD. It sucks to have it and sucks even more when people give you a wide berth when they hear your diagnosis.

      To the author – that really sucks, man. My boss had a very similar situation a few years ago. He wouldn’t hurt a woman, but she claimed he was terrifying (which, if you first meet my boss, he poses a very intimidating character) and would threaten her and their children (once you see him in a princess dress for his daughter’s birthday or encouraging his autistic son’s education, you wonder how the hell anyone would see him raise a finger to his children). Just know that there are those of us out there who will not see you as the aggressor. You aren’t alone, either. Here’s hoping everything works out for you. Remember – if she did it once, she will probably do it again. When that happens, you will be able to watch the cards stack up against her.

    • Hi Jim

      In the cases when the man hits the woman in domestic violence ,is he then usually diagnosed with BPD? I don’t think so.

      It more complicated, and where I live alcohol dependency is often part of the picture together with emotional issues.
      Gloria Steinem also said last week on BBC that there is a strong relationship between domestic violence and a country’s militarism.

      And how about the dangerous side effects some have after using anti depressives medication or psychotropics. .

      • John Anderson says:

        Hi Iben,

        “n the cases when the man hits the woman in domestic violence ,is he then usually diagnosed with BPD? I don’t think so. ”

        There is a refinement that needs to be made to this point. Often times society needs to excuse women’s bad behavior, while holding men responsible for theirs.

        • Hi John Anderson

          We probably misunderstood each other.
          To be diagnosed with a personalty disorder is not something that make a person not accountable for his or hers actions,at least not where I live. It is not a psychoses ( even it can be for shorts periods of time) Also in America are persons diagnosed with personalty disorders hold accountable for what they do. The prison population have many with diagnoses like that.
          What I ment was that it probably are so many different causes behind domestic violence. That why I don’t think it is fair to stigmatize one group, persons with one diagnoses.

          Maybe we misunderstand each other?
          DV It is a tradegy no matter what causes it.
          Even if we can not always trust Wikipedia , it has an interesting piece about many different approaches to understand domestic violence.

  69. Typo: “We’re sending a car over there to talk to here.” should probably be “..to talk to here.” Autocorrect strikes again!

  70. Thank you for writing this article. It can’t have been easy to write but for those of us that have no personal experience of domestic violence I feel it is important to read.

  71. “So, what do you do when a woman hits you?”

    Its impossible for me to be with a woman who would ever be capable of this. So I am not even capable of imagining it.

  72. Tom Brechlin says:

    GMP has been really good with looking at the evolution of what being masculine means. So I propose this question to GMP, what is “masculine” when it comes to abuse toward men and how men are to react?

    GREAT article but unfortunately one of thousands already written and ignored in the main stream or that could be written and still ignored.

    Did ya’ll know that March 7, 2013 — President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act? Which was written to pretty much protect women. Didn’t see anything in mainstream news about it.

    • Mr Supertypo says:

      politics and that includes also the feminist political branche are still pushing the binary agenda. We need to stop them. They are worse than patriarchy.

  73. Tom Brechlin says:

    “Studies have shown that gender (either biologically or by social framework) plays a role in being fearful” So why didn’t they take these studies into account when the military changed its position with women on the front line?

    • aineotter says:

      Maybe because most studies on psychological gender differences are bias-confirming garbage. Or possibly, because someone figure out that women are people, and not primarily defined by gender. I am way less fearful than most people I know. Should my actual personality define me, or should I be judged by my gender marker?

      • Mr Supertypo says:

        ” Maybe because most studies on psychological gender differences are bias-confirming garbage. ”

        this, and I like to add all the gender and political doctrines.

  74. Hi Joseph

    Your story is scary read,and I am sorry you had to go through all this. Thank you for sharing this story with us.

    You ask what to do when a woman hit you.
    I have no experience with domestic violence,not even heated quarrels.
    But as a woman I can tell you that I would never dare to hit a man,and I expect any man to simply stop me and hold me if I tried to hit him. I expect him to defend himself if necessary but not beating me up. As a petite women it is easy for a man to hold me,since I am not trained in fighting,but of course I can be dangerous like any human being can,to think otherwise is naive.

    if I was totally out of control like a person in a nervous breakdown ( or worse) I would want him to call a psychiatrist. I do not know what you call it in America, I means a crises center that can send someone qualified.

    Or you should simply get out,leave the house. Since there was children involved, that makes it more complicated.

    This idea you have that bruises on her arms would be used against you sound strange to me,but then I do not know the situation in America. Divorce in America sounds like a nightmare. I doubt if bruises on my arms would be on interest for anyone where I live.

    I have often wondered why I have never been a victim of domestic violence when so many others have. I think it has sometimes with sensing when to stop and withdraw from the situation and the relationship in time.
    I witnessed violence when I grew up, and I can smell it coming a long time before it becomes dangerous, both in me and in others.

    Of course women can be highly dangerous,just like a man can. But most personalities are not dangerous. So be careful who you get involved with,and who you marry.

    I wish GMP can give us some good articles about the prevention of domestic violence , and how to see the warning signals long before it happens.
    Do women become dangerous in the same situations as men do? Not as far as I know.

    • John Anderson says:

      Hi Iben,

      “I have often wondered why I have never been a victim of domestic violence when so many others have. I think it has sometimes with sensing when to stop and withdraw from the situation and the relationship in time.”

      I think it’s probably a combination of luck and that you’re attracted to decent people. The DV that I experienced was when I ended the relationship. I guess next time I should send an e-mail or a text, but I still believe that if you’re going to break up with someone, you should have the decency to do it in person.

      • Hi John Anderson
        Yes to leave a person can be dangerous.
        Maybe it is best to break up in a public place,like a restaurant ?

        And one more thing. Several men here write that it is hard to hold a woman. I think men overestimate women’s upper body strength,and are afraid to hurt her as if she is fragile .

        Why not try it out with some friends ? Can a medium size woman get loose if you hold her arms close to her body? I don’t think so.

        Still,the best defense in dangerous situations is to validate the others feelings and treat the person with respect. Easier said than done.

        • And one more thing. Several men here write that it is hard to hold a woman. I think men overestimate women’s upper body strength,and are afraid to hurt her as if she is fragile .

          Why not try it out with some friends ? Can a medium size woman get loose if you hold her arms close to her body? I don’t think so.

          The person most likely to win a fight is often the person who is beyond caring about any consequences of their actions. This is very often also the aggressor as people who care about the consequences of their actions seldom initiate an all-out violent physical fight.
          I’ve seen this trump size in many drunken streetfights/brawls.

          Practicing on constraining friends have only limiting value since you friends presumably won’t go all out for stomping your foot, kicking your groin full force, biting full force or trying to scratch/gouge your eyes out. In other words – constraining irrational people is a whole different kettle than constraining someone who is rational, don’t have their pain-threshold altered by adrenaline and who have limits on how much pain and potentially permanent damage they are willing to inflict on you.

          The best advice is remove oneself from the situation and if one can stomach it, report the perpetrator to the police. Unfortunately, as evidenced by this very well written article, the system provide a lot of negative consequences for the man and not least their children when the woman is the physically violent aggressor and he reports it to the police. This should be addressed.

          Still,the best defense in dangerous situations is to validate the others feelings and treat the person with respect. Easier said than done.

          This kind of rubbed me the wrong way because it sounds as if the instigator deserves to have their feelings validated and being treated with respect. Perhaps you meant that faking respect and lying to the instigator in order to validate their “feelings” can help in escaping from the situation? If so, then yes, that can be an effective way to defuse/escape the situation.

    • But as a woman I can tell you that I would never dare to hit a man,and I expect any man to simply stop me and hold me if I tried to hit him. I expect him to defend himself if necessary but not beating me up. As a petite women it is easy for a man to hold me,since I am not trained in fighting,but of course I can be dangerous like any human being can,to think otherwise is naive.
      I wonder if this is a part of the issue.

      This isn’t pointed specifically at you Iben because I’ve seen/heard it plenty of times before.

      I wonder though about the expectation that a man should “simply stop” a woman that’s attacking him? Do we put this same expectation on women? If a woman is being attacked by a man do we say that she should only do enough to stop him (in my experience the answer is no)?

      Why is it that no matter which side of the violence he is on with a woman the onus is still on him to take action to stop the violence. If he is attacking her then its on him to not think attacking women is okay and if she is attacking him then its on him to do just enough to protect himself.

      • Hi Danny

        You write:
        ✺”Why is it that no matter which side of the violence he is on with a woman the onus is still on
        him to take action to stop the violence”✺

        Nobody says it is mens duty to stop the woman, and them selves , but I can not see why he should let himself be smashed up if he can hold her( preferably from behind I guess). To ask her to stop will not help.

        Have you been face to face with a person totally out of control Danny?
        Would you stand there and hope that the person suddenly calms down and can regulates her or this feelings because that is what a responsible person do? That is not going to happen.

        A dangerous violent person is not exactly like everybody else.

        • Nobody says it is mens duty to stop the woman, and them selves , but I can not see why he should let himself be smashed up if he can hold her( preferably from behind I guess). To ask her to stop will not help.
          Nobody? Even thought domestic violence itself is usually defined in the scope of “its something men do to women” and even now that other forms of violence are getting notice there is a bit of a push to still single out male against female violence as “gender based violence”. For all the talk of “all violence is bad” there is still a need by a whole lot of people to put male against female violence on some special pedastal and keep it separate from all other forms of violence.

          (Mind you Iben I’m not saying that you do this.)

          Would you stand there and hope that the person suddenly calms down and can regulates her or this feelings because that is what a responsible person do? That is not going to happen.
          I meant that in the scope of the catch 22 that guys are held to where we are supposed to “never hit girls/women, even to protect ourselves” but at the same time when a woman does come at us we are supposed to act with surgical precision and do something about her violence as well. Do just enough to stop her where “just enough” is usually dictated by people who are not in that situation.

          Also, do we tell women to do just enough to stop her abusive man? Usually its encourage her to get out of there but if she has to fight back there rarely any mention of how much she should fight back.

    • Look above at my post about defensive posture as viewed by the police. (US)

  75. I’m not here to judge, and I don’t want to sound all holy and knowledgeable..but being in a relationship that borders on violent, I’m having to learn some coping strategies on my own. I hate violence in relationships, because it totally scares the life out of me how two people who were once so madly in love can suddenly change and become the worst enemies, enough to hurt and/or kill the other. It scares me that innocent children borne out of love should be in the middle of this. And it also scares me that these two people could be me and my partner. That said, this is what i think:

    Q: “What do you do when a woman hits you?”
    A: “Never let a woman hit you.”

    How do you never let a woman (or man for that matter) hit you? For one, DON’T stay for the kids. Two years is way too long to stay for the kids; just make an arrangement and split up. Don’t make excuses for her; don’t be the sacrificial lamb; don’t stay with her after you realize she’s psycho…..in so many words, just retreat and flee. I know its cowardly and ‘unmanly’ but I’m coming to learn that some battles are not worth waiting for and fighting for. That is why I still have one leg out, because one day I might have to make this decision and rather than fighting it out, I’d rather walk it out.

    I’m so sorry for you Joseph, I hope you will find healing, rise again and find your children. You are a good man. xoxo

  76. Joseph, I really hope that you can get custody of your kids…because the next man that she does that to might just beat her to a pulp in front of them. Might be a good lesson for her, but not for them. You’re in my prayers tonight.

  77. Elaine Burruss says:

    Hi, Joseph this was a fantastic article and beautifully written. I’m so glad you talked about this experience I know this wasn’t easy. This type of situation I’m sure has happened to more men than we realize because it just isn’t talked about, just like male rape isn’t talked about or male childhood sexual abuse and it needs to be talked about to change this perception of violence and the stigma around these topics. I was taking a sexual psychology class and we were taking about violence in relationships and this topic came up and it completely changed my perspective on how I behave. The question that was asked was “Is it okay for a man to put his hands in anger on women? Obviously the answer was no then it was reversed “Is it okay for a woman to put her hands on a man in anger?” the room was silent. We had a whole discussion about this double standard and the way that media feed this double standard, and it’s really not okay. It’s not okay to put your hands on anyone in anger. After that I broke myself of the habit of lightly hitting my boyfriends on the arm when I was annoyed or angry (that was as far as my hitting went). I know if the situation was reversed it wouldn’t be okay, so I stopped. Women are just as capable as men at causing bodily harm. Thank you again for the fantastic article and maybe this will change another, woman as well. I hope more men are brave enough to come forward with their stories.

    • I love how you put that, and I think that is the best way to teach people that it is wrong to hit someone regardless of their gender. I had a GF who once slapped me (not hard) because she was mad at me and after we both calmed down enough to have a rational discussion I brought up her slapping me. I asked “What would you have been ok with me slapping you if the situation was reversed?”. She obviously said no. So I then asked her why she thought it was ok for her to hit me. She sat silently for a minute before replying that she was wrong to hit me and it wouldn’t happen again. Happily it didn’t happen again, since she was a normal, sane person who could see the reasoning behind it.
      I like to think that most women, understand that it is wrong to hit anyone regardless of gender. But the problem lies with society telling them that it is ok to slap their lovers if they are upset with them. Watch any sitcom long enough and you will see tons of women slapping their lovers and I think that is where the change must start. Our culture is both an influence and mirror of our values as a society and as long as violence against men is portrayed as ok by mainstream culture, nothing will be done to change how our society deals with it.

  78. Thanks for sharing, i imagine that is and was a horrendous thing to experience. For me, I wish people are against violence are against violence plain and simple..not violence against women or violence against men or etc. etc. We have too many divisions already set up in or society to only protect a certain segment of our society. If something is wrong it is wrong regardless of gender, race, age, etc.

    I hope you continue to heal from this incident and soon soar to unimaginable heights.

  79. Mr Supertypo says:

    Maybe feminism has done lots of good, but the Duluth model? thats a big pile of ideological idiocy that’s reminds something coming out of the ‘ Mein Kampf’ if we replace gender with race.

    IMO we should start a campaign, real men activists (not internet trolls) and real feminist (not political brainwashed ideological fools) to remove this Duluth thingy.

    That model humiliate humanity. And puts to shame everything we believe on. Thats not feminism, thats just a criminal doctrine made by evil criminal people.

    • John Anderson says:

      Unfortunately, that is feminism. I’ve spoken with feminists about DV perpetrated by women against men and guess what. They say it’s not the same thing. Apparently he isn’t expected to have the same level of fear because she is not expected to be able to prevent him from leaving. So if he’s beaten, it’s his own fault for staying. Feminism is adept at victim blaming when the victim is male and the perpetrator female.

  80. Amy Wilson says:

    Hey, I’m really sorry this happened to you. I was involved in an abusive relationship for 10 years, and another one for 2. I’m well aware that both sexes get abused. In my scenario, he was a police officer, and I was convinced that if I ruined his career he would kill me. (The first one, 2 yrs, only actually laid hands on me once, he wasn’t the master of mental manipulation that the second guy was). I wish you the best, and I hope you get your kids back. Any person that will physically, emotionally, sexually, or psychologically abuse their partner is capable of doing it to their children. Most of the time they won’t sexually abuse them, but the other three abuses are fair game.

  81. My experience was nothing like this. She hit me and kept hitting me (drunk). I told her that if she didn’t stop and leave that I would call the police. I called the police after 12-15 more hits (slaps and fist hits to the face which resulted in a nose bleed). When the police came; I told them just to take her home / get her outta my house. They informed me that one of us had to go to jail; that’s the law after the domestic dist. call is made someone has to go to jail. I was in a leadership role at the time, and I didn’t want to sacrifice my career so I told them what happened, and she went to jail. In the long term, I didn’t press any charges, but I wasn’t about to risk my future because she got drunk, and I didn’t love her anymore.

  82. Jphn Anderson says:

    I’m actually surprised that you didn’t grab her arms not that it would have been the smart thing and I’m not criticizing, it would have been the instinctive thing for me and it was. I broke up with a woman once and she tried to claw my eyes out. I ducked me head back when her left hand shot out. She missed my eyes, but I took a serious scratch which drew blood down my right cheek. I caught her left hand and then her right when she tried doing it to the other side. I just restrained her, but I’m pretty sure there was discoloration on her wrists. I guess if she tried to file charges, I’d point to the discoloration on her wrists and the scratches on my face to prove I was holding her back and not attacking.

    I know what you’re talking about though because there was another situation where I was practicing martial arts in the park and three women came up to me. They felt entitled to grab my arms and trace the tigers on my sleeves while making sexually suggestive statements. I felt really uncomfortable, but I knew that if I reacted physically, I’d be the one arrested. The taekwondo jacket would have ensured it. I just froze. Don’t know what to do if a girl hits me or molests me.

    • Joeseph Kerr says:

      We weren’t “fighting” before my head got hit, so there was no reason to grab her.

      She was trying to pull my laptop away from me. I tripped. Then she knocked my head into the side of the stairs.

      Maybe you might have been referring to the older incident I wrote about. I don’t want to discuss the details of that.

      • John Anderson says:

        Sorry, confused it with your conversation with the cop. You don’t need to go over the details of anything if you’re not comfortable.

  83. AnthonyZarat says:

    Get her on tape. That is what I did. It saved my life.

    Feminist courts will always believe a woman’s lies over a man’s truth … but they will believe a man’s video recording over a woman’s lies. So, always have the recording. It is the only thing that will make a man human in the eyes of the law.

    • There isn’t any such thing as a feminist courts really, there is only feminist jurisprudence that training that influences these matters.

  84. JoAnne Dietrich says:

    This woman is psycho. We really need to do away with men should never hit women. Men should be able to defend themselves. Domestic violence is never o.k

    • Joeseph Kerr says:

      The fact that the police had no suggestion for what I should have done was mind blowing.

    • Restraining is the first step to defend yourself. Now if you really can’t restrain someone or push them away, or run away, then yes, you have to hit back until you are free. That is not about gender, but strenght.
      Males are usually a lot stronger. The problem is, we need to teach men to defend themselves wisely. If they have to hit, we need to set bondaries. Men could easily let their anger take control and end up killing a woman. That is bad for both in the end.

      • Uh no. If you can assault someone with all your strength so can we sweetheart. You don’t want to get killed then don’t go assaulting men. Simple.

  85. My first girlfriend choked me when I told her I didn’t love her any more (the truth was I never had, she had just used sex to control me). When I begged her to let go she stopped and pretended remorse, so I didn’t call anyone and didn’t even tell my friends until long after. I thought it was my fault. My thought at the time: I should have been able to love her. But she was incapable of real love, and I hadn’t matured enough to know what that was. Thankfully I do now, I’m with a girlfriend who doesn’t hurt me, because love isn’t about control, and its not about being a martyr. I’ve got my scars, most of them invisible, but I’ve learned from them. To any other man who has been hit, or had his kids taken away from him: you are not weak. Society is broken. My ex was heavier than me, I’m built like a rail, but it wasn’t until she attacked me in front of my friends that anyone outside our relationship realized how wrong this was. I was raised by my mom, you never hit women. The question I never got answered was, what if she hits first? Now I have an answer; any person who tries to hurt me will meet a strength that does not submit. You know why? Because I love myself. So I defend myself, not my ego, not my pride, but my body and energy are nobody’s victim, ever again. You can tell me I’m wrong, but I don’t care. My heart is the only word I need to hear.

  86. Such a terrible experience to live through.

    As the conversation on domestic violence is heavily slanted against men. Think about it. Even today when it is increasingly considered “victim blaming” to question why didn’t a woman leave when her man got abusive that is precisely what the go to answer is when a man is abused by a woman.

    Being male, and with it the size and the strength advantage, are treated like they are some mystical barrier that renders one immune to being abused. In my experience the only people that believe that are people that have never been in those shoes.

    Good luck to you.

    • harrowing, and sobering article joseph, as any man can imagine himself in that position.
      great comments archy and danny, agree with everything you both wrote.

    • Joeseph Kerr says:

      Thanks. It looks like it’s going to be a long road to try and get a decision on custody decided by the courts and I’ve had to go back to the docs a few times for the pain/headaches/fatigue of my right eye… but it could always be worse.

      Thanks for reading and for sharing it. I get the feeling this affects a lot more men than we realize. As I was working on this a friend of mine asked to share a draft version of it with his brother who apparently had gone through a very similar situation. I wish the end of this piece had an answer, but after talking with the police, lawyers, child services, domestic violence groups and anyone else I don’t think there is an answer and that is the part that makes me the most angry.

    • John Anderson says:

      @ Danny

      It’s that catch 22. Men don’t need protection because they should be able to defend themselves because they’re bigger, but men aren’t allowed to defend themselves because they’re bigger.

  87. I know good men who’ve gone through this, and I can only laugh at the “grab her arms and stop her” argument. For one thing, there’s the handprints problem. For another, while men are generally stronger than women, this doesn’t make women weak. She’s not going to LET him grab her arms, so he’ll probably not be able to. She’s probably not going to just let him run away, either.

    I panicked the first time I heard my little brother being taught, “No matter what a girl does to you, never hit her back.” We were both children, at the time, and I shouted, “Of course he should hit her back!” Everyone can imagine the lecture that followed. A little older, when my brother, for whatever reason, was being reminded of this stupid lesson, I grabbed him by the shoulder and simply said, “Never let a woman hit you.” Hardly words of wisdom, but I have no more idea of what to do now than I did then. At least he hasn’t been caught in this sort of mess, and I hope it stays that way.

    I’m so sorry for all the men going through this, and I’m sorry that there’s nothing I can do to help.

    • A little older, when my brother, for whatever reason, was being reminded of this stupid lesson, I grabbed him by the shoulder and simply said, “Never let a woman hit you.”
      I think that’s plenty of help right there Jessica.

      This whole, “Boys never hit girls.” is a piece of programming from the script of being a “real man” that does quite a bit of harm. It binds us and limits us while at the same time we’re being led to believe that it’s not there (because if you look at a lot of the violence conversation its flooded with how “men are raised to believe they are justified in attacking women”).

    • Put your arms up like a boxer blocking and take hits to the forearms. Shield your hands and nails, don’t let her touch them, and don’t use them. This will create (hopefully) indisputable evidence of defensive wounds placing her as the aggressor. Hits to the face and front of the body do not count as defensive as you should have tried to block with your arms. Don’t turn your back unless you are running away as it creates a dangerous situation for you . Learned this from the police visits to my parents house.

  88. The Duluth Model does a huge a mount of harm like this. It practically ensures the man is seen as the aggressor and the victim is always the woman. It’s sickening that this goes on, so sorry you went through that!

    • Joeseph Kerr says:

      Thanks. I’m glad you liked reading it. It was something that I couldn’t really describe in full detail to any of my friends. It was nice to be able to get it all down on paper.


  1. […] as incidents of DV. And DV against men is significantly under reported (here’s an example of one man’s story). It’s also heterosexist: not all male abusers have female victims – gay men are the […]

  2. […] stilted approaches to the subject make their way into the legal system. Consider the tragic case of Joseph Kerr, a victim of real […]

  3. […] who aren’t playing crazy.  The Good Men Project posted an article back in August titled What Do You Do When A Girl Hits You?  The author recounted how he was arrested after his wife brutally assaulted him in a successful […]

  4. […] by men against men, as well as violence by women against men). Psychological abuse is 50/50. As this man’s story shows, DV against men is significantly under […]

  5. […] Like most men, I am taller and heavier than my wife. I’m a Marine veteran with combat training. Studies have shown that gender (either biologically or by social framework) plays a role in being fearful. Women are more likely to report being afraid[1]. […]

  6. […] Joseph Kerr writes at the Good Men Project: […]

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