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In this county, anyway, in the eyes of the law, female-initiated domestic violence is equal to male-initiated domestic violence. This means that if a woman physically assaults a man (which could be anything from a slap upwards) she could be charged the same way a male physically assaulting a female can. In fact, said my husband, cops often are more stringent with female-initiated DV, making sure that they’re equal-opportunity employers.

So, men, I’m curious. Suppose, for example, you’ve kindly invited a female (of normal proportions) to your home, and she’s sitting there supping alone with you, and you say something that offends her. This could be anything from “I love you” to “that shirt makes you look fat” to “no, you nitwit, the hypotenuse is not the first step to a theory.” Suppose she reaches across the table and whacks you across the face. Suppose this smarts rather heartily. Which of the following actions would you feel justified in taking (if any):

1. Somberly turning the other cheek, while remarking “here’s the left, Judith Iscariot.”
2. Laughing smugly.
3. Slapping her own face, in exact pound-per-inch proportion to the slap she gave you.
4. Grabbing her burrito and stomping on it.
5. Accidentally knocking her water glass off the table and then also accidentally tripping her as she got up so she fell in the shards.
6. Calling the cops.
7. Threatening to call the cops.
8. Threatening to smash in her car.
9. Toying with the idea of doing any of the above, while secretly rejoicing that she touched you at all.
10. Picking up the rose you have delicately placed in the center of the table and saying: “I’m sorry if I have offended you; accept this apology from the center of my being.”

Ok, “justified” is maybe the wrong word here. What would you actually do? And does this scenario change if it’s a guy who’s slapped you?

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