I know we had a long thread on this once, but I’m not finding it. But I thought of it because the other night, for the first time in a long time, my husband sort of kind of intervened in a physical altercation…and I was actually okay with it.
Anyone who knows me knows I’ve got some very firm ideas about women’s equality and letting us fight our own battles, literal and metaphorical.
So what happened was, I was working first aid at a music festival with my husband, overnight shift, and some stupid people decided to do some stupid drug cocktail (Molly, LSD, cocaine and “some pills”). One of these fellows was brought into first aid rather agitated and combative, but asking for help. As my husband was trying to calm him down, he ran out of the building to where I was standing on the porch trying to attend to another person (unrelated to the drug incident). I grabbed hold of his upper arm with kind of a judoish move to use his own momentum to swing him out of the path of running into/falling over her, and bent him over the railing. He started to turn, I prepared to duck a fist, and my husband’s very large booming voice called out from behind us, “If you HURT MY WIFE, I will END YOU!”
And, y’know, I was okay with that. Partly because he didn’t try to physically intervene. I actually did have the guy (who was at least a foot taller than me and built entirely of muscle) in a pretty good position. His voice was all that was needed to shake the guy into reality for a few seconds (by which time Security came and got him restrained and off to a waiting ambulance). Partly because he apologized profusely afterwards and told me he knew I could handle myself. But mostly because if the guy had actually wanted to damage me, he could have. A lot.
So, guys, I take it back. There is an acceptable way to use the least amount of intervention possible to back up your woman in a fight.
Always been my theory. It just…man, it was all so fast. I literally did not have time to get out a verbal request for assistance. I think this may be where I need to edit my stance. Just like I don’t always say, “Yes, thank you, I would like to have sex,” but my consent is apparent by body language and action, I have to trust my husband, specifically, to know when I’d be asking for help even if I can’t say it in the moment.
But I did feel pretty bad ass when it was all over.
You’re out with a girl you’ve been dating for a little while. She gets the brilliant idea to give the finger to a bunch of guys who’ve been staring at her. So they come over to confront you. Do you:
a) pretend you’ve never met her in your life and let her fight her own battle (hey, she started)
b) be chivalrous and defend her dumb ass even if you’re likely going to get yours kicked
c) dump her ass right there and then and offer to buy the first round
d) __________________________________________ (fill in the blank)
d) Ask them to explain what brings them over. (Presumably they explain about my date giving them the finger). Ask them what they assume to be the meaning of the gesture. (Do they consider her to have threatened them? With what, exactly? Or was it instead an expression of contempt? For what reason, any idea?) (Perhaps it comes out that they were staring at her, either they bring it up or she does). Etc.
At some point they presumably express what their intention at this point actually is (?): Do they require an apology from her? Do they wish to kick my ass as if I were responsible for her actions? Do they wish to kick HER ass?
Basically I’m not going to act like I’m in charge of defending her, but I’m also not going anywhere unless she tells me to go hide somewhere and let her handle it by herself. I’m also not going to behave as if I’m responsible for her actions and could apologize for her or should be her stand-in to receive their anger. On the other hand, their anger isn’t my problem and they’re welcome to be angry as much as they wanna be. Let them vent. I’m going to be all reasonable and shit and nod with understanding. If girlfriend wants to provoke them further, the situation may become more and more something between her and them. On the other hand if she expresses annoyance that they’ve been staring at her, I’m going to back her up to the guys that, yeah, that can be experienced as annoying and they’ve got to realize that.
If you think of it like a teammate who has your back, you may be able to accept this. You did nothing stupid to have StoneDude give you a beat down. Your husband may have stepped in in a similar fashion with one of his buddies or even a total stranger who was there for the benefit of the festival goers (I don’t know your husband, he may not have).
Apparently, he saw someone who could do some serious damage to a person who didn’t deserve it and did what many of us would have to diffuse the situation.
The only time I have ever intervened like that was when an obnoxious neighbor cornered my wife outside, on our property, and was berating her over the barking of our dogs. It was loud enough that I could hear him from inside the house over 100 feet away. When I glanced out the door to see what was going on I immediately recognized that my wife was scared to death. I came out the door, strode purposefully straight toward him, my eyes locked on his and said firmly, but calmly, “You will NOT talk to my wife that way!” Every time he attempted to respond with “But she…”, But your dogs…", etc, I continued striding toward him and repeated “You will NOT talk to my wife that way!” . He finally started backing away toward his house, calmed down and apologized to her. We were then able to calmly discuss what we could do together to help the dog situation.
Background: Our 3 dogs (in our fenced back yard) mainly barked when his (much smaller, unfenced) dog was outside, as it would always run up to our fence - basically teasing our dogs. The neighbor would then commence yelling at the dogs, which just amped them all up even more. Our dogs did bark at other times, though, and we had been trying to train them out of it, so I was perfectly amenable to discussing options with him. Calmly and reasonably only.
I agree completely with this, it’s a teammate having your back, not a husband fighting a battle for you. Nothing bad or sexist or against equality here. It’s not like you purposely provoked a fight then pushed your husband to step in. Or that he perceived an insult to you and challenged someone to a fight despite your protests.
The only piece of advice my Dad gave me on women went something like this
" Women who are to eager to have you defend their honor are dangerous women".
He was right because I used to attract that type. The situtation you describe is very hard for a man to come away with still feeling honorable. I can tell you what I would like to do here is leave the bitch on the spot for putting me in danger intentionally. What I would do is probably stand up to the guys wherever that happened t lead, and then I would leave the bitch.
If someone is harassing me or bothering me–not actually punching me out or anything, I’d like my man to stand aside and let me try to handle it until I ask for help. My reason has always been that if my guy and another guy get in a fight, their MANHOOD comes to question and it escalates. And bad things happen–people get hurt, think attorneys and cops and arrests.
OTOH, unless I ask for help, let me try to handle it. Wrong as it may be, a woman fighting with a man is less likely to escalate into fisticuffs and testosterone overflow. And I always figured the cops wouldn’t get too excited about a pissed off chick calling out a guy.