Trigger warning for description of abuse.
She complained that I had upset her by wanting to talk when she had told me she didn’t want to talk. As I began to feel uncomfortable, I said, “You’re saying it’s my fault you can’t express your emotions responsibly like an adult?”
She said, “Yes!! It’s because you want to go off and take a vacation with your girlfriend!” Then she threw the contents of her glass in my face and smashed it against my bare chest…
I stood there, with shattered glass at my feet, glass shards sticking in my skin, bleeding, for five minutes or so. I asked her to move so that I could leave. She waved the broken stem of the glass in the air and said, “Leave!! Who’s stopping you?”
I told her she was standing between me and the door. I felt threatened.
She laughed and said, “You’re 6 foot 3 and 250 pounds! You can’t feel threatened by me!”
I said, “You just broke a glass on my chest and cut me. You’re standing there with the stem in your hands. Yes. I feel threatened.”
I think the most important aspect of this story is how it points out that the larger person is not necessarily the abuser. Just because a man might be tall and broad-shouldered does not mean that he cannot be physically threatened, and it certainly is no defense against emotional abuse. Anyone can be an abuse survivor.
In particular, I think there’s a sexist narrative in our society that when a woman hits a man, it’s a meaningless “girly slap” that isn’t actually threatening, while when a man hits a woman it’s abuse. This is sexist against both genders: men, of course, are having their physical abuse denied; women are denied the strength to cause pain and are patronized as being like little girls incapable of harm.
People should not hit other people without their consent, regardless of genitalia arrangement. Period.