Tue | Dec 6, 2016

Beating the hell out of women

Published:Wednesday | February 18, 2015 | 12:00 AM

I can understand why a man would smash his fist into a woman's face. I can understand it. But I don't like it.

I can understand why feelings of awesome, supreme power engulf a man in confrontation with a woman and cause him to raise his foot and deliver a hard kick. I can understand why a man would throttle a woman, crushing her neck in his powerful hands, while taking motivation from the sight of her eyes bulging and bloodshot.

I can understand all the wickedness that men rain down on women, from the simple perspective that men are wicked beasts. They get their kicks out of confronting another being, human or otherwise, of lesser intelligence, brawn and muscle. To men, women are from time to time all these things. That's why - as has allegedly been happening on university campuses in Jamaica - men, those preparing to shape the future of this country, have been kicking, punching and slapping the daughters and sisters sent by their families to institutions rumoured to deal exclusively in the provision of higher learning.

 

KICKEDANDSLAPPED AROUND

 

Funny that so many women can testify that their university experience has taught them how to handle domestic violence and rebound from being disrespected and assaulted in the presence of their peers. University is intended to impart life skills. But no parent has ever sent a daughter off to university for her to experience what it means to be a punching bag. As a man with a young daughter, I can just imagine my murderous intent in the future, should the apple of my eye be kicked and slapped around at university, simply because she's a woman. Perhaps in that moment, I would succumb to the urge of premeditated murder.

There are accounts of women being slapped silly at socials and campus parties by so-called men who are upset at them fraternising with another man. The community of students on these campuses is not strong enough in their condemnation of such behaviour, to the extent that the abuser often moves on to another girlfriend and continues his method of control and subjugation.

I was recently in a group where there were howls of laughter after one of our number recounted the frequent fights between a male Jamaican student and his Bajan girlfriend on a popular hall of residence in St Andrew. Mirth was turned up a notch when he recalled how they used to fight stark naked, with the man pulling his Bajan woman by the hair out into the common area, in full view of those present and beating the hell out of her.

 

CONFRONTING PACK MENTALITY

 

How many times, if at all, were those encounters reported to the resident manager or the university administration? How many of the man's friends pulled him aside to say that beating women was unacceptable and represented a low point for masculinity? How many of his friends ended the friendship on account of being uncomfortable to 'par' with a woman beater? How many of the woman's friends asked her to end the abusive relationship?

Having seen the extent of the damage done to the face of a woman during an alleged altercation with an unwelcome male suitor on the UWI campus, I have cultivated a stronger dislike, hate even, for women beaters. When women are afraid to walk past a group of men on a university campus, not because of what will be said to them, but because of what may happen to them should they rebuff any advances, calls into question the development of Jamaica as a society and the maturity of the men in it.

The pack mentality often leads many otherwise well-behaved young men to engage in the kind of hostile behaviour towards women that would never have otherwise materialised were they in their own company. A young man on campus is less likely to be crass towards a woman if there's no crew to endorse his comments.

That's why young men should avoid crews, avoid packs. They should know that women are not the weaker sex. And they must understand that the reason women don't clobber men nearly as often is simply because women are more civilised.

Selah.

- George Davis is a journalist. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and george.s.davis@hotmail.com.