Hands Off

Reprinted from The Platte County Landmark 7/30/14 edition.

dm_140725_nfl_ray_rice_mcmanusHumans are born to do one thing–learn. We learn how to nurse, then we learn how to walk, then we learn to go peepee in the potty, then we learn to read and from there, the sky is the limit.

I am always fascinated by how intelligent the human race is and how amazing the achievements of humans are. We have landed on the moon. We have harnessed the power of the atom. We have built coliseums and microprocessors. Man has the power to set rules and regulations and we all seem to be able to “get it.” Through these societal norms, we all have the power to learn and conform and abide. If you don’t believe me, just try to read a novel in English right to left or drive on the left side of the highway. It won’t work because we all were taught how to do those things together. Yet other societies have all figured it out to do it other ways. You read Hebrew right to left and in England you drive on the other side of the street. We all pick it up and figure it out together.

Somehow though, the simplest rules seem to be the hardest for humans to learn. Take, for instance, the simple rule you learned in elementary school — Don’t hit girls. This means, simply, that under no circumstances should you hit a girl. Ever. Period.

Yet, the news was filled this week’s with stories of Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice, who allegedly knocked his fiancé unconscious and then drug her by her hair out of an elevator. Against any measure, this seems to be outside the simple rule of “don’t hit girls.” However, there has been extreme dispute on not just this example, but on the larger issue of domestic violence.

I keep coming back to the simple rule: Don’t. Hit. Girls. Sure, you were probably drunk. And sure, the other person was probably being rude, or obnoxious, or a multitude of other reasons. But those are just beside the point. Don’t. Hit. Girls. It’s really quite easy. Lots of things can lead up to abuse, but the choice is still quite simple. Don’t.

ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith was quoted as saying there are some instances where the woman might “provoke” the incident, somehow implying that there are cases where hitting a girl is justified. Nope. See rule No. 1: Don’t. Hit. Girls.

The website Safehorizon.org lists the following domestic violence statistics on their website and all seem to be outside the rule of not hitting girls:

•One in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.

•Women experience more than four million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly three million physical assaults.

•Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men.

•Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.

•Every year, one in three women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.

It seems to me that the same part of the brain that can 100% learn to drive on the correct side of the road also has the ability to learn to not hit girls. Humans are built to do one thing–learn. Hopefully this is an area that humans can improve in.

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