parent opinion

CONSTANCE HALL: This week, I heard my son say "I can't hit a girl". It made my blood boil.

Warning: This post mentions violence against women and might be triggering for some people. 

The other day, I heard my kids fighting and distinctly heard my son say, “I can’t hit you because I can’t hit a girl!” 

I snapped back and yelled, “Who told you that?” 

“Everyone,” my son laughed. “Do you think I should hit girls?” the smart arse continued. 

“No mate. I don’t want you to hit girls,” I responded. 

But if you have a second to hear me out, you might find my response interesting. When I was young, “you can’t hit girls” was a very common sentence and a lot of boys took it very seriously. Too seriously in fact. 

I watched so much violence between men; punching, fighting and using violent words. I even saw violence towards women - while a punch to the face was often avoided, or at least not spoken about, the violence prevailed.

In fact, I know many women who have had to flee from abusive relationships with men who claimed to “never hit her”.

Throwing her down the stairs, strangling her, pushing her and pulling her hair all seemed to be excused, as long as they could claim “I never hit her”.

Watch: Women and violence: The hidden numbers. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia

The thing about violence is that it is all dangerous. In fact, someone who withholds a punch but opts for a choke or staircase push instead is more likely to kill their victim.


And don’t think for a second I’m saying let’s go back to it being okay to hit a woman - absolutely not. I’m saying let’s broaden the barriers. “Don’t hit girls,” could be “don’t hurt girls,” and maybe that could even evolve to “don’t hurt anyone”. Really it's the violence that needs to be addressed, and not the gender it’s pointed at. 

Each other, women and yourselves. Don’t hurt anyone. Because if I hear one more man who has spat on a woman, or choked a woman, thrown something at a woman, pushed or hurt a woman at all, use the sentence “I’ve never hit a woman” in an attempt to convey the “big softy” image again, I will puke. 

Listen to Constance Hall on No Filter. Post continues below.

As usual, my kids pretended to be bored with another one of mum's spontaneous life lectures. But I know on some level my lessons are sinking in. 

At the very least, hopefully nobody will ever try to say “I never hit her” to me again. I don’t care how you hurt her. You hurt her and that’s all there is to it. 

I’d like to add, before someone no doubt will, that some women are violent and some men are victims too. Of course this is the case. But, statistically, violence is a far greater problem perpetrated by men. I’m not here to argue that fact, as I know it to be true. 

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home. 

This post originally appeared on Constance Hall’s Facebook page and has been republished here with full permission. 

Feature image: Supplied/Constance Hall.

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