There’s an odd ongoing story across the Bay–a newly-elected Sheriff (in a county that’s also a city, thus has a police chief and sheriff with precisely identical service area) who’s been brought up on domestic violence charges and ended up pleading guilty to one of them.

And who’s now been suspended by the newly-elected Mayor (and replaced by an interim Sheriff who’s a woman, the first time this Sheriff’s Office has been headed by a woman), without pay, while it’s determined whether the conduct makes the Sheriff unfit for office.

Key to the eventual guilty plea: A neighbor’s video showing the wife’s bruised arm where the Sheriff grabbed her during some sort of argument/discussion.

Which got me to thinking: Under what circumstances would I be justified in grabbing my wife’s arm, especially hard enough to cause a bruise?

  • An argument? Nope. Period. Not gonna happen. (Not that we don’t ever argue, but an argument is never justification for physical violence–especially, as in this case, where the man is considerably larger and more powerful than the woman. I’m actually shorter than my wife, but outweigh her by quite a bit. In any case, we’ve only been married 34 years, but never argued at a pitch that resulted in physical assault on either side. I hope we never will.)
  • Asserting your superior rights over the woman–that she’s your property to do with as you please? Right…if my wife ever for an instant believed that I thought anything of the sort, I would no longer be married. Or deserve to be part of a civilized nation. (I won’t get into whether some states in the U.S. can be considered parts of a civilized nation; let’s just assume they have barbarians as state legislators and let it go at that. I do know where my tourist dollars won’t be going any time soon, which is unfortunate, because I like Key West and San Antonio.)
  • Which leaves what?

I finally came up with a situation in which case I’d feel justified in grabbing my wife’s arm. If we were in an exposed situation where she was about to fall off a cliff or off a ship or otherwise about to be in serious physical danger, and the only way I could save her from that danger was by grabbing her arm.

Otherwise? Damned if I can see any justification, ever, for a man to grab his wife’s (or girlfriend’s, or date’s, or boyfriend’s, or husband’s) arm hard enough to leave a bruise.

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