We have either seen the video or heard about the now infamous video of Solange Knowles attacking Sean Carter (Jay-Z) in an elevator while Beyonce was looking on. The three-minute video has resulted in endless memes and jokes, mostly lauding Solange’s streetfighter-like skills and mocking Jay Z for having his butt kicked by a woman.
I was having a conversation with some very opinionated individuals on the episode and their reactions ranged from “we don’t know what happened, maybe she was provoked” in support of Solange to “Solange has no right to hit Jay-Z no matter what transpired” in support of Jay-Z. We can speculate endlessly on what motivated Solange to attack, but we’ll never get anywhere. The fact still remains that a man was assaulted and the World seems to see nothing wrong with it and making a joke out of it perpetuates the myth that only men are potential attackers, and women are their probable victims.
This highlighted the double standards when it comes to violence. Men are demonised for their attacks on women and are seen as bullies or monsters but women who assault men are seen as crazy or heroines. If a man assaults a woman then he is termed a beast, a woman-beater, a violent soul (nobody wants to know what happened but as long as he hit a woman he is guilty) but if a woman attacks a man then she was provoked to act the way she did and he deserved it. The perception is that because men are usually physically stronger than women, they can’t be the victims of violence at the hands of a woman. When the now infamous elevator fight hit the net, many people voiced their opinion that Jay Z (real name Shawn Carter) must have done something to provoke Solange, because of the idea that women usually aren’t violent without provocation.
According to a study conducted by the charity ManKind, two out of every five victims of domestic violence and abuse are male. Last year, 720,000 men were believed to have experienced abuse. Another research conducted by the British Crime Survey found out that about 1.2 million female victims of domestic abuse and 700,000 male victims last year according to the 2013 edition of the Crime Survey which works out as 37% of victims being men. Men are more embarrassed to call the police about domestic abuse says men’s rights campaigners Parity. Can you imagine a man that goes to a police station (especially in Nigeria) to report his wife of violence. I am sure the police officers will either laugh, send him away or tell him to go home and act like a man which implies he should discipline his wife and not like a sissy (weak man). According to Nicola Graham-Kevan, an expert in partner violence “Society is blind to women’s aggression… People often won’t believe that men are victims (of female violence).”
In an interview with AP, the late Whitney Houston admitted to attacking her former husband Bobby Brown. ”Contrary to belief, I do the hitting, he doesn’t. He has never put his hands on me,” she was quoted as saying. The 1999 Hillary Clinton biography Hillary’s Choice claimed she used to beat her husband, Bill, and once had to be restrained by secret service agents. Many cases abound of women assaulting men and getting away with it because of their gender.
Let’s imagine if it was Rihanna that beat Chris Brown, what would the World say? That he deserved it or he is a weak man. Let’s imagine if Jay-Z had hit back at Solange while she was assaulting him, what would the World say? That he is a woman beater and his career and rep would have been on the rocks by now. I am definitely not condoning violence against women because if you read my blog then you will be well aware of my stand against violence against women, for more info read “Say NO to Violence Against Women”. My point is that we must change our mindsets. Any form of violence is unacceptable, from whichever gender. We need to teach people to find creative ways to resolve conflict. Violence is never the solution. Feminism doesn’t just exist to address the problems women face, but to ensure all men and women are treated equally and kindly.
“Solange Knowles Attack On Jay Z: How common is domestic violence against men?” by The Mirror
Solange’s Jay Z Attack Is No Joke: Why We Need To Take Violence Against Men Seriously by Thedebrief
“Take That: When Women Are The Bullies” by www.timelive.co.za