Here’s a video showing some behaviour that always baffles me: Just as guy who’s harassing a woman is about to leave, she does everything she can to make sure he kicks her ass. Case in point:
To make my opinion absolutely clear: that guy is an asshole. Regardless what the woman said or did, he’s an asshole for landing that leg kick. He could have broken her knee or leg, she could have cracked her skull, etc.
That said, the woman isn’t entirely without an important part of the responsibility in why it all turned out the way it did: with her ass getting kicked. Here’s how I see it:
- The clip starts with the woman saying “Why the fuck would you do that?” to a guy who seems to be harassing her.
- She calls him a dickhead as she walks away.
- Then, when she’s in the clear to keep moving away from the asshole, she turns around and flips him the bird, asking if it means the same thing as in English.
- Then she stands her ground when Prince Charming walks up to lash out at her a first time and tells him “she doesn’t give a fuck”.
- Here’s the key part: he had at that point turned around and was leaving.
- Despite having “won”, she goes after him anyway and tosses her drink in his face, proudly proclaiming “she is a bitch.”
- That’s when he walks up to her and does a pretty nasty leg kick. You clearly see her taking a bad fall on the concrete and the high pitched scream also speaks volumes.
A couple of things seem to stand out:
- The guy is a flaming asshole. He was (probably, the clip doesn’t show it but it seems likely) harassing her and got upset when she gave him lip. His buddy with the camera who says “Ta mère” (lit. “Fuck your mother”, a pretty serious insult in France) went to the same school of charm.
- The woman had several opportunities to defuse the situation. At first, she walks away and she’s in the safe zone. After he comes over and snaps at her, he walks away. All she has to do is wait or turn around to get clear. So the opportunities to get to safety are there.
- Instead of taking these opportunities, she escalates the situation. She calls him a dickhead, flips the bird and then throws her drink at him. She seems to come from a social class where being a girl means you can do whatever you want to a guy and he’ll never lay hands on you. The asshole clearly comes from another social class; one where if you say you’re a bitch and act the part, you get treated as one…
Just yesterday, I explained to my daughter (who has quite a personality…) that life isn’t all about her and what she wants. Other people count too and some of then don’t care what you feel or think. Or where your limits are; they’ll go way beyond them in a heartbeat and when you find out you can’t keep up it will be too late.
Here’s how I explained it to her:
Here in Belgium, you have to cross the street at the zebra crossing. When you stand there, you learn to look both ways but in actuality, the mere fact of standing there is enough to demonstrate your intent of crossing the street. All drivers approaching you have a legal obligation to slow down and stop so you can pass. It is not an option, it is a duty. It’s the law so you are well within your rights to make these drivers stop whenever you cross the street like this.
Now imagine the same situation of crossing the street; the same law still applies. But right before you take your first step to pass, you see a speeding car coming at you. He’s clearly breaking the speed limit and you can tell he won’t be able to stop in time for you. You now have a choice:
- Cross the street anyway.
- Wait for that lunatic to pass.
I then explained to my girl that she is still within her rights to cross the street then, but she’ll be dead anyway. So exercising your legal rights isn’t always the best thing to do. It should be, but it isn’t because human nature is what it is and not everybody plays by the rules.
The same applies here:
Yes, the woman has a right not to be harassed by a bunch of idiots.
Yes, the asshole has no right to strike out at her the first time.
Yes, he is totally wrong in landing that kick.
But the thing is, at every step, the woman decided to prolong the conflict and make sure she got her ass kicked. She could have gotten away safe and drink some more but she chose to escalate things. The asshole being wrong and her being within her rights not to have to take his shit is the same thing as in my example of crossing the street when you spot a speeding car. It’s just stupid.
It always baffles me when people act like that. It makes me want to ask them “Which part of calling a guy names, flipping the bird and tossing your drink in his face achieves the result of him leaving you alone when that’s clearly what you want?” And then you expect not to get hit by him? I guess we’ve just found our next rocket scientist…
For the nitpickers amongst you:
- I’m not saying she deserves what she got. I’m saying she could have avoided it. If you read in that “you’re blaming the victim.” then you’ve missed my entire point. It’s not about blame. It’s about accepting and dealing with reality over what you think reality should be.
- I’m not justifying what the asshole did. He’s wrong and I hope her friends kicked his ass.
- I’m not saying all women are stupid. I’m saying this one acted stupid. At her age (over 15), you should know better. The world is a big place and what you think applies is a belief many other people don’t share. If you can’t understand that or refuse to accept it, then you’re either ignorant or stupid.
In other words, if you have an agenda and you prefer to promote it over reading what I actually wrote here, then that’s your problem. If you prefer to nitpick over how I word certain things and refuse to see the overall message because of this, then I can only shrug and say I’m sorry you didn’t like that part. I’m fine with people disagreeing with me. In fact that’s often the best way of learning something, when you debate a topic with somebody who sees things differently. But then we both have to be on the same page as to how to argue. If we’re not, then all debate is futile.
In case you’re wondering, my reasoning pretty much follows the rules in this chart:
UPDATE: Rewrote the part from “For the nitpickers amongst you” on and added some more after that.