On more than one occasion, I’ve witness young love on the streets.
Adolescent men and women are all up in a clench, many times with the young man pawing on or manhandling the young lady, all the while as she beseeches him to stop whatever it is he’s doing. Of course, the young men don’t stop; they see what they’re doing as alright and fine in whatever type of relationship they got going. And as I watch I tell myself it would help if the young ladies would command, rather than beseech; a subtle difference yet a powerful one when wielded in the correct manner.
Moreover as a man, I wonder if we’re talking to our young people enough about their relationships and how they interact with the opposite sex. Personally, I don’t think we are.
The clenches I spoke of earlier are nothing other than a power play put out by male teens seeking to impose their will on their female companions. That they see it as ok to be pushing and shoving and softly hitting them with love taps is the precursor to more violent deeds that will surely evolve out of the current behavior if such actions aren’t nipped in the bud.
I don’t think we’re explaining this dynamic to our young men enough. So, I’ll start now by saying to them the following:
Keep your damn hands to yourself unless you want to draw back a nub! In years past, this was said with great regularity by young women yet somewhere along the way they’ve forgotten how to put those words together in a commanding sentence.
The point is that young ladies are not property, they’re human beings with their own wants and desires and concerns. As such you can’t impose anything on them, let alone lead them around like they’re pets on a leash. But as with any relationship, they’re two sides to it. To lay the groundwork for a future that has little to no DV, we have to also counsel young women in addition to young men.
And just because we’re men shouldn’t mean that we don’t talk to them. It’s imperative we do so because it’s from us that they will learn how to interact with their masculine counterpart. If they see us as being fair and respectful of them, they in turn will expect and demand such from their youthful peers.
I think that’s what Stephen A. Smith was attempting to do back in July when he got into a heated Twittersphere battle with his show costar, Michelle Beadle; engage women of all ages and attempt to impress upon them that sometimes, DV is facilitated by the actions, or inactions, of the women themselves. The time to present such an argument, however, is when they’re young ladies and before bad habits have been allowed to settle in.
Does that make any woman at fault for any abuse she suffers? Of course not but it should make us. as family members and members of society, more aware of the totality of the issue. Once we are aware then we know that we can’t go to the barrel for the apple; it’s out there already and is making its rounds. To foster change, real change, we have to go to the tree before the apple’s plucked. In other words, we have to begin changing minds and building good relationship habits when they’re young.
Bottom line: young men, never hit a woman. Even if she hits you, all it does if you retaliate is turn you into a bully. My advice in such a situation is run away as fast as you can.
And young ladies, never, ever hit a man. If you do, all you’ve done is sell a wolf check that your ass may not be able to cash. And if you’re involved with a knucklehead that can’t seem to spend a day without putting his hands on you, trying to manipulate you into doing this or that, again my advice to you also is to run away as fast as you can.
We say this enough maybe the young people will get it. I hope so.