I had a conversation with a friend the other day about a scary experience she'd had. It's the kind of thing that parents are scared of, when their kids go off into the world of college as newly-independent, sort-of-adults: an older guy got angry at her, and he treated her aggressively.
She felt like she had to talk to him about it later, and that's where the conversation got interesting. And by interesting, I mean overwhelmingly depressing. He didn't believe that he'd done anything wrong. In fact, he said he'd curbed his behavior because she was a girl, that he'd have gotten even more physical if she'd been male.
I can't understand why a 21-year-old adult man could think that kind of behavior is OK. My friend was thrown for a loop as well. She'd hoped that they both could resolve it civilly.
Where does this belief that hyper-aggression is the proper way to solve anything and everything come from? Why do some people believe that they can just scare others into doing what they want?
I don't think that should be allowed.
There's a reason that we teach children to use their words. It's the only way to make sure that a conflict is actually resolved in an acceptable way. It's not just this one guy; a lot of people seem to have missed such lessons when they were small.
It's easy to frame violence as looking out for oneself. When your own well-being is your priority, you can justify all sorts of actions as necessary evils.
However, this is not a reasonable, justifiable position, and this mindset can be averted by just taking a second to stand in another person's shoes. Once you can recognize why people act the way they do, it's harder to dehumanize them, and it's difficult to intimidate your way through a situation.
I wish people like the man who scared my friend could try to imagine the person on the other side of their conflicts. The world would be so much better for it.