How to make absolutely sure you get your ass kicked

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:

If you can’t handle this, don’t bother arguing with me.

UPDATE: Rewrote the part from “For the nitpickers amongst you” on and added some more after that.

Comments

  1. I’ll try to remember the zebra crossing’s story for my daughter :)

  2. Dani Nemes says:

    Very important issue. I had to have a talk with my wife too. (Monkeydancing is in her vocabulary since then, I’m so proud of her.) I also had to explain that she shouldn’t do this to me (not that I would ever hurt her). If I leave the conversation, that means, I am no longer capable of rational discussion, we should talk later – thus avoiding verbal fights, difficult-to-forgive insults, or difficult-to-fix broken furniture.

  3. Awesome post!!! I will share this if you don’t mind. This is such a classic example.

  4. The drink in her hand probably explains a lot. (And I hope he was impaired as well…)

    You are right on all accounts – a sober friend of either of those two could have helped out the situation. Instead her head did hit the concrete and the whole thing was not Ok. (Your daughter talk makes a hugely important point which, I think, has to be reiterated over and over for all of us.)

    Things happen quickly. Yesterday a guy decided to yell (politely) at me in the bank drive-thru from his car: there was a misunderstanding about who should go next and he thought that I should have let him go first. Since he started out his comments and repeatedly addressed me as “Sir” we got off to a pretty good start. The issue was resolved when I simply apologized. But it wasn’t until ten minutes later that I realized how the misunderstanding actually happened (I apologized even though I “knew” that I was “right” just to keep things calm).

    It turns out we were both right. There is more than one way to think about who should go next when there are two lines of cars stopped waiting to proceed to the next open teller slot. The point is that neither of us had any interest in escalating; both of us were interested in giving our view and being civil.

    • I couldn’t agree more Dennis. Sometimes, just being polite and taking a step back mentally speaking is enough to see things differently and defuse the situation. Being right or wrong doesn’t even matter. Getting home in one piece does.

  5. Wim,
    Man I love your analysis. It’s so perfectly right on.

  6. A point of interest here. The woman was insulting, demeaning, hostile and acted physically first (yes the thrown drink was legally ‘assault’). Yet, even though you clearly articulate your point of view about the man’s response, you had to tailor the article to defend — not the man — but what you were pointing out.

    In short, you — with good reason — had to protect yourself against attacks from people who feel you were threatening their ‘right’ to act without consequence. I’ve started calling these people “Should Harpies” because they swoop down and try to snatch away common sense while telling everyone how the world ‘should be.’ In no field have I found Should Harpies so thick as in the topic of women + violence. You literally cannot have a conversation on this topic without the flow chart shifting into ‘this is not a discussion’ because of the Harpies.

    Bravo to you for both posting the flow chart and pointing out an attitude that is affecting both men and women. An attitude that is putting them into actual danger from physical violence — in retribution to their verbal violence.

    • Thanks Marc. And I agree, especially in women’s self defense this attitude is prevalent. I’ve already had tons of conversations with women about this and once they get past the anger and other issues, they suddenly realize that they’ve been playing with fire. Unfortunately, some never realize it because they refuse to see the inherent flaws in their logic. Just like the behavior of the woman in the video baffles me, this has the same effect: Preferring to get mauled, raped or killed instead of letting something that pisses you off slide. Like Montie says: they lost track of the mission.

  7. i guess some people need to learn the hard way. at the risk of coming across as patronisingly simplisitic – it is so suprising to me that people dont read very obvious cues when dealing with hostile situations – I mean, she is a woman, he is a man. he is visibly angry, he is much stronger. makes you wonder what other abusive bahaviour she has been getting away with other people. Also get the impression that some women, when surrounded by male friends or other males feel protected somehow (as i think is happening, to a degree, in this case) from other hostile males. love your chart wim, excellent.

  8. I agree with everything here and its a damn good way to avoid confrontation and conflict resolution. However, I will make a point here that in my experience of trying to be the good guy I have run a foul of several women over the years that abused me verbally and got in my personal space thinking that I can’t and won’t do anything. You’re are right I won’t but for me I will have absolutely no respect for you nor try to resolve further conflicts which is completely opposite of what you wanted in the first place.

    • Yup. It boils down to the fact that in some cultures and layers of society, if a woman acts like a man, she gets treated like on. This includes violence. Even if you personally don’t take it to that level, many other men will. Though personally, I’m more of the “you just made my “ignore” list” camp. As in, I’ll avoid such a woman from there on and no longer interact with her on any level. She is outside of my reality unless she goes out of her way to make me notice her. Then I leave and walk back to what she’s missing: a life. :-)