Well, well. Here we go again.
Domestic violence is in the news again. Or should I say the word assault is in the news again.
De’Andre Johnson is today’s poster boy for what happens if you put your hands on a female. The former Mr. Florida is all over the internet, particularly social media, after a video was released of him assaulting a female at a bar. Oh, but it is not that simple. This is not an open and shut case If you have not watched the video, please do.
I have watched this video over and over and over. Here is what I saw. Johnson was trying to get through the crowd to the bar. As he begins to approach the bar, his actions lead me to believe he is saying excuse me to the female on his left. As he moves pass her, he bumps into the female on his right. Happens all the time in crowded spaces. It works my nerves especially when people do not say excuse me but it happens. No harm. No foul unless you almost knock me down. After the bump, the female is seen sliding to her left in an effort to block Johnson from getting to the bar. As she does this, she is seen looking over her shoulder exchanging words with him. The exchange heats up as she turns around and presses her left forearm against his chest. Johnson is then seem grabbing her left arm and then her right as she has now raised a balled fist into the air. Words are being exchanged as Johnson is seen seemingly trying to create some space between them. This does not work as the female then lifts her right leg and knees/kicks Johnson in between his legs. She follows up her action with a punch to Johnson’s face which is met with a furious return punch to her face by Johnson. Johnson then walks away as her “friends” rush to her rescue.
As of today, Johnson has been charged and has been dismissed from Florida State’s football team. The female who threw the first punch is still enrolled at the university.
Yeah, so about that. She hits him, FIRST. He retaliates, gets arrested and gets thrown out of school. And she gets to sit up in economics class playing victim? See. This is the part of the problem. This is what I was screaming last year. This is the DOUBLE STANDARD.
All day yesterday there were debates going on via social media about whether or not Johnson should have punched the female. There were many who stuck to their “a man should never hit a woman” guns and there were many who stuck to their “if you dish it, you better be able to take it” guns. I fall in the latter.
As a woman, if you are going to be bold enough to lay hands on a man then do not run screaming and hollering when he does the same. Yes, for the sake of not being arrested, possible jail time and a record that could haunt you for the rest of your life, I wish it was always easy for men to walk away when being assaulted by a woman. That is not reality though. And in this day and age with the internet increasingly teaching our youth more than the parents are the chances of a woman being hit if she hits a man first have greatly increased.
Johnson was wrong. And so was she. In my opinion, she was the aggressor. Having been in environments such as the one they were in, I have seen men place their hands on women in an effort to diffuse the situation. It is a natural reaction for some men. In this case, it seemed like a natural reaction to keep the situation from getting out of hand. Could he have walked away? Sure. Could she have not pushed him, raised her fist and kneed him between his legs? Absolutely. If anything, she should be issuing an apology tomorrow for her part in the front page headline while packing up her dorm room at FSU.
But we know that is not going to happen because when it comes to assault and domestic violence a man is ALWAYS going to be the one getting fingers pointed at him, regardless of what transpired. The man will ALWAYS be scrutinized for his actions, regardless of what transpired. The man will ALWAYS be expected to rise above the attacks and insults, regardless of what transpired. Just ask Ray Rice.
Or ask Hope Solo, our newly crowned World Cup winning goalie, who was arrested on domestic violence charges last year. She still has a job?! Or ask Brittney Griner. Or Glory Johnson. Or countless other women who have unleashed vicious domestic assaults and still found themselves employed, supported and idolized. We barely heard any mention of our beloved female athletes transgressions. It is almost as if it did not happen. As quickly as the news appeared in our social media feeds, it disappeared again. Swept up under that DOUBLE STANDARD rug.
And what I found to be very comical during all of this is the statement by FSU’s President, John Thrasher who was quoted as saying “I expect all students at Florida State University, including student-athletes, to adhere to the highest level of conduct. I have no tolerance for the kind of behavior exhibited in this case.” If he considers the actions of the female to constitute operating at the highest level then a} their highest level of conduct is pretty low or b} their highest level of conduct is pretty low.
If we as a society are going to be serious about domestic violence and assaults, then we need to be fair on both sides. Instead of screaming, “a man should never hit a woman,” lets scream “everybody keep your hands to yourself.” There is no way I should get a pass just because my chromosomes are different. No way. I am strong and can throw a mean right hand but at the risk of possibly losing some teeth? I think I’ll pass. Plus I am not trying to end up like the female who was on the receiving end of Johnson’s comeback punch, dazed and confused with a ferocious headache.