She will…if the man is her child. So you see it all comes together in a circle. The man protects the woman, the woman protects the children. If all is functioning properly. But even this confines people to gender stereotypes that I’m not all that comfortable with. The purpose of community/family is love and if it comes to it, protection, no matter what form it takes.
I remember, again growing up in my hood, this one time when my then boyfriend, attacked this other guy, very aggressively, because the guy was bothering me. I told him, that he shouldn’t have done that, because it was an exceptionally dangerous thing for him to do, in a hood that was filled with all sorts of lawlessness and gun violence. I didn’t ask him to do that. I didn’t want him to either, because I knew that this was the sort of thing that led to senseless unnecessary violence. He was angry with me. Said I was ungrateful for his protection. My response? I told him that wasn’t about me…it was about him, needing to prove that he was the man. I told him he had to stop behaving so aggressively, because if he didn’t, he would get killed. That was my way of protecting him- giving what I thought was amazing advice. He didn’t think it was, and summarily ignored it.
He and I had numerous arguments over I suppose feminism, although, back then, neither one of us knew that was a thing. So which was it? Was he trying to protect me or his reputation? It was a bit of both, I think. He was deeply feared, because he was both smart and violent. No denying we live in a world that highly values these traits in men. This has become a problem.
Years later, he was murdered, over that same exact scenario. (Protecting another girlfriend of course.) I wasn’t surprised as I saw it coming. Just the odds. the probabilities, you can’t be that aggressive in an environment filled with guns and not have a bullet come and find you, as a result. That broke my heart, though. To me it could have been avoided. But maybe not.
That relationship, was highly dysfunctional. All sorts of abuse, on his end and on my end. We were a bad combination. I knew it. I think he knew it. The odd thing was, most women couldn’t see this, about him. Sure they could see all the problems I brought to the relationship, but they loved him. Thought he was the best boyfriend ever! Women actually encouraged his overly aggressive behavior. He of course grew to expect that sort of encouragement and he told me I was weird, because I did not admire him for that. But I feel like, I was the only one who was truly looking out for his best interest by saying: hey! you need to consider some critical factors before you go punching people in the face for saying stuff you don’t like. It might not always work out to your advantage.
I say all of that, to say this. These relationships are complex. You can’t just say, men protect women, but women don’t protect men. It’s not nearly that simplistic. Where there is abuse and violence in intimate relationships, the people are doing cyclically dysfunctional things to each other, but men are usually stronger, more aggressive and often, (though not always) respond deadlier. Especially here in America, when anyone can get a gun for $2…I kid you not.