Don't teach girls that hitting means 'he likes you'

Most girls know what it’s like to play on a playground in elementary school. Most girls also know what it’s like to get hit by a boy. It’s not something we think of as domestic violence or intimate partner violence, because it isn’t happening at home and in elementary school, when most of us didn’t have intimate partners. But at the end of the day, no one likes to be punched and many girls do exactly what they should do when a boy punches them: they tell the teacher and when they get home they tell their parents. However, something extremely alarming that many parents, older siblings or even just older people in young girls’ lives may say in response is, “It means he likes you,” when the girl says that a boy at school hits them. We need to stop this right away.

Most people learn most of what they know and believe about life in their homes. Sure, we go to school to become educated, but our beliefs about what is good and bad probably has its foundation in where we grew up and who our parents are. So, when parents tell girls that it means something good when a boy hits them, this is the beginning of girls thinking it is okay for them to have boyfriends and husbands who are violent against them because it means that they are liked and desired. It doesn’t matter even if the boy on the playground did punch her in the face because he liked her. A girl should not see violence as being a form of showing admiration or love. They should not see love as something that hurts because love isn’t supposed to hurt. Love is supposed to be a nice feeling and it is not normal or even remotely healthy for girls to believe that it is appropriate for people who like them to batter them. Girls who believe that it is okay for boys to punch them in elementary school will probably have a higher chance of becoming women who make excuses for their husbands who scream at them and beat them. It’s not out of love, it’s because they think this is perfectly normal and how rational people show their love and affection toward someone.

However, it is not and never will be a method of showing love. This is a method of showing violence. We should teach young boys that they should never hit anyone. Fighting is not a game and it is never appropriate to hit anyone, even if it is fun. Girls should be taught to not be okay with the idea that a boy is hitting them and they should learn to be comfortable with telling an adult who says that it is because she is liked that they are completely wrong in that regard. We cannot fix the pandemic that is domestic violence unless we first start with teaching our boys not to hit and teaching our daughters not to be okay with being hit.

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