"Didn't you know that you don't hit a woman? You. Will. See." *THUD*There are men who Would Not Hit a Girl, and then there are these men amongst men who take this ideal to its logical, vengeful conclusion. More often than not, these men are Gentle Giants and/or mild mannered Nice Guys who either are raised with traditional values of kindness and chivalry, or are scarred by childhoods of watching their mothers being beaten or worse. Either way, the results are the same when he sees a woman being struck. The gentleman explodes into a roaring mass of violent fury and proceeds to pursue the offending coward with the relentless stamina of a wild beast; and should the brute be caught, he will be pounded into a bloody mess to the best of the Wife Basher Basher's ability. All cries for mercy and personal injuries will be ignored by the possessor of this trope, such is his unbound and righteous primal rage. Usually, murder is not the intent; the basher in question instead wants to humiliate the coward, and let him have a taste of what it's like to be the helpless one for a change. Nevertheless; friends of this normally gentle person would find these righteous outbursts quite disconcerting, if not downright chilling to witness. Not to mention the Broken Aesop of solving violence with more violence, although this one only gets invoked if a child is present nearby, to provoke a He Who Fights Monsters revelation from the hero temporarily. Occasionally, this can backfire against the Wife-Basher Basher himself in order to present another Broken Aesop of "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished." The Wife-Basher Basher may also occasionally lash out at someone who's completely innocent because of an Abuse Mistake and then learn An Aesop about finding out the entire story before going ballistic. This trope is often invoked by female villains as Wounded Gazelle Gambit if they are attacked by male heroes in public. They know there are usually a few chivalrous big men ready to dish out Disproportionate Retribution, even if she started it, because most people with this mindset are inclined to believe that female on male abuse is not "real" abuse. Senior members of organized crime with traditional values, such as the Yakuza and The Mafia, are likely to represent this trope. After all, they consider themselves the final bastions of traditional and honorable masculinity. This trope also works well in a character with Chivalrous Pervert tendencies, demonstrating that even if their overly active libido and views on women raise a few eyebrows, they're kind, protective people deep down, and ladies have nothing to be afraid of them. Compare and contrast with the similarly named Serial-Killer Killer, and note that more often than not they also tend to be this. See also Bully Hunter, Even Evil Has Standards, Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil, Disproportionate Retribution, and Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas.
— Takeshi Momoshiro, The Prince of Tennis
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- This somewhat controversial anti-domestic violence ad aired in Australia in 2006. It features Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read, a notorious ex-criminal and minor celebrity, talking in an overtly threatening manner about what he thinks of rapists and men who beat women and what they can look forward to when they end up behind bars.
Chopper: If you bashed a woman, well you're a weak, gutless individual! If you come to jail for bashing a woman or raping a woman, you will get dealt with. You will suffer. We will break your neck. You low, gutless, weak mice.
Anime & Manga
- Quoted above: Takeshi Momoshiro from The Prince of Tennis catches a Jerk Jock bullying Fragile Flower Sakuno and pushing Cool Big Sis An to the ground for defending her, and before even introducing himself he's laying the smackdown on said jerk, physically and verbally.
- Miyagi Ryota of Slam Dunk, upon witnessing a delinquent backhand his long-time crush Ayako, leapt upon the significantly taller brute and beats him until he is disfigured and unconscious.
- And he started the beatdown by delivering a flying kick to the guy's head! Seriously, it was awesome.
- Hanamichi Sakuragi doesn't get many chances to show this, but he thinks exactly the same. A filler mini arc in the anime has him thinking that his rival Oda has been abusing his girlfriend/Sakuragi's ex-crush Youko (and let's be fair to Hanamichi here, Oda did snap on her in The Movie, and it took them a while to rekindle their relationship), so Sakuragi was determined to hit the guy and spectacularly call him out on it. Then it's subverted as Oda was not deliberately abusing Youko, but was more worried about a sudden injury and was pulling a Don't You Dare Pity Me! instead. He still apologizes to Youko later.
- The nicer techniques of Hokuto Shinken literally makes your head explode from the inside out: If you dare strike or abuse women, on the other hand, Kenshiro will literally make you strangle yourself to death. His older brother Raoh prefers the more direct method of LITERALLY slapping your head off. Rei, successor of Nanto-Seiken and Kenshiro's dearest friend is equally ruthless when it comes to those who hurt or terrorize women.
- Lovable Sex Maniac masochist Sado Tarou of MM! doesn't like to abuse people, the Nice Guy that he actually is. However, upon finding out that his adorable Shrinking Violet girlfriend's fear of men come from being beaten by an abusive boyfriend who then spread rumors of her sleeping around for refusing his sexual advances, storms to the kickboxing gym of said abusive ex-boyfriend and proceeds to beat the evil martial artist into the ground, in spite of not possessing any proper combat training himself.
- Sadly, the scene doesn't play out like that in the anime. Sado gets his ass effortlessly handed to him by the evil ex-boyfriend before he finally lands just one punch (and even then it was only because of outside intervention by Mio). Mio plays this straight by proceeding to do some nasty things to the downed ex-boyfriend, but we don't get to see what she does, just the aftermath in the form of a photograph.
- Toyed with in Captain Tsubasa. While Tsubasa is ticked off to see his would-be girlfriend Sanae being pursued by a loud and aggressive Hopeless Suitor, Kouji Kanda, he cannot openly fight him not only because the guy is stronger than him in fighting, but because he's a member of a school sports club and if he gets caught fighting, the whole team will be suspended from the National Tournament — so, Tsubasa gets his ass handed to him by Kanda when he attacks openly. It's then played straight when an injured Sanae begs Tsubasa to defend himself, and he does so by brutally kicking Kanda to the head and winning the fight in one single movement. Kanda then acknowledges that he has lost and backs off.
- In Durarara!!, one of the few things that can set off the otherwise cool-headed Rokujou Chikage is hurting a woman in his presence.
- Guts from Berserk could count for this one. Sure, he's changed a lot since the Eclipse — some would say for the worse — but Guts is still too decent of a guy to just standby and watch a full-grown man beat a little girl senseless. He usually dispatches them in his rare Tranquil Fury mode, but if he ever sees a woman in danger of sexual assault — which reminds him all too well of the person whom he failed to protect — well, it's not going to end pretty for whoever (or whatever) is doing it.
- This is the bait that Ohtori Akio uses to rope Tenjou Utena into his dueling game: make sure Utena sees Saionji slapping around his "girlfriend" Anthy. It plays out much the same way in the movie minus Akio's influence.
- Believe it or not, InuYasha of all people shows shades of this in the anime. This occurs when another demon and his human band have imprisoned him and Miroku. Said demon gives his minions the okay to do whatever they want to the women of the nearby village. Hearing their screams are enough to piss Inuyasha off so much that he instantly activates his full-demon form, and slaughter every single one of the oppressors.
- Jotaro Kujo, from Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure, is a Japanese Delinquent who fesses up to getting into fights where he puts people in the hospital, brutalizing arrogant teachers, and walking out of restaurants without paying the bill if he doesn't like their food. In spite of all this, the thought of someone abusing women pisses him off, something Kakyoin learns the hard way.
- Dio makes the same mistake at the start of Part 1 when he stole Erina's first kiss, as he finds out when a angry Jonathan storms into his room.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Joey and Tristan. The best example is when the group is sent to the Memory World and see the angry villagers beating up Kisara.
Joey and Tristan: You want to pick on girls!? How about we pick on you!? (tries to attack the villagers)
- Yukari and Shiina gain a reputation as a result of this in Sekirei. Ashikabi that mistreat their Sekirei quickly gain a hefty dose of Laser-Guided Karma, as Yukari is very fond of dealing out Groin Attacks. Shiina, who is normally an Apologetic Attacker and extremely gentle, is so disgusted when he meets another male Sekirei that abuses his female Ashikabi, that he dispenses with the Nice Guy routine and curbstomps him with a single attack.
- In Tiger & Bunny, Lunatic/Yuri is revealed to have begun his career by killing his father, Mr. Legend, who was violently beating up his mother (who hates her son for doing so). The same episode shows him taking out a Serial Killer who seduces and then kills women.
- In the finale of My Bride Is a Mermaid, what truly sends Nagasumi into angry-powerup-mode is when Yoshio threatens to shoot Sun. He actually manifests the ability to catch bullets bare-handed solely by virtue of being that pissed off.
- Handsome Lech Kurz Weber from Full Metal Panic! displays these traits, particularly in one scene in the last arc of the first anime. When Kaname tries to comfort Sousuke after a tough mission, he calls her a burden due to stress and misdirected anger, which sends her running away in tears. She passes by Kurz, who storms up to Sousuke, punches him in the face hard enough to knock him down, and demands that he go apologize to Kaname, saying "Guys like you grow up into wife-beaters!"
- In A Certain Magical Index, while Touma Kamijou has no problem hitting girls as long as they are bad guys, he will kick your ass if you harm helpless and nice girls.
- In A Certain Scientific Railgun, Wataru Kurozuma has a tendency to go, "You're hitting girls? That's not cool." and then beat up whoever is responsible.
- In the first issue of Superman back in the 1930's, our titular hero deals with a violent husband by throwing him into a wall and mercilessly beating him (as delightfully pictured above) until he promises to never hit his wife again.
- He faced a similar situation in the Nineties, but since he'd become much, much stronger in the interim — to the point that any real beating would have killed the abusive husband in question — he had to handle the situation a bit more carefully.
- Not just that he was stronger — in a bit of Deconstruction, we had a flashback to the Post-Crisis version of the above scene, and it doesn't solve the problem. The woman refuses to press charges and takes her husband back, and the next time he gets violent, he kills her. Clark, being Clark, wonders if the humiliation of being beaten himself was what triggered this. So, when Clark suspected that another woman was getting roughed up like that, he hesitated to intervene for fear of making things worse. However, when in a chance encounter the woman screamed for help, then Clark was perfectly free to intervene, starting by smashing a locked door to her to splinters with one kick to rescue her while Lois called family services for appropriate qualified professionals to deal with the situation.
- The New 52 Action Comics #1 mentions Superman having done this as well in his early years as a hero, though we don't see it on panel. In this case, the abusive husband in question eventually becomes a Kryptonite-powered supervillain and comes back seeking revenge on Superman.
- He faced a similar situation in the Nineties, but since he'd become much, much stronger in the interim — to the point that any real beating would have killed the abusive husband in question — he had to handle the situation a bit more carefully.
- Really, this is an expected attribute of the most loved Marvel Universe heroes such as Captain America, Wolverine, and The Punisher. What differs the last two from the first, is that they're also killers.
- In the recent Rick Remender run, it was revealed that Steve's mother, Sarah Rogers, was beaten by her alcoholic husband who was suffering from PTSD. This seems to have played a part in his hatred for bullies, wife beaters in particular.
- Ultimate Captain America is particularly notable. After Ant-Man and the Wasp had a verbal fight that escalated and they attacked each other (he "won"), almost no one wanted to listen to his side of the story, and Cap, with his 50s values, literally ambushes him in a bar and beats the crap out of him even when Hank Pym is 50 feet tall. Presumably, since the Ultimates don't want the bad publicity, and it involved national security matters, Cap is never charged.
- He's actually so mad at Hank that he demands Hank enlarge so that Cap can attack him more.
- Marvel Knights' 4 did this, with Sue Storm threatening an abusive husband.
- Spider-Man's occasional foe Cardiac usually doesn't concern himself with this kind of criminal (as a vigilante, his goal is to punish people who hurt others and do horrendous things, but use legal loopholes and technicalities to escape justice). However, in one issue, while he was staking out a place, he saw a man assault his wife in a nearby apartment, and decided he couldn't "in clear conscience", let it happen. (Unfortunately, while he was teaching the wife-beater a lesson, it gave his true target more of a head start than he'd have liked.)
- It's been implied that the psychological origin of The Incredible Hulk was young Bruce Banner witnessing his father beating his mother and wanting to be one of these; rather notable, given that one of the more consistentally heroic portryals of the Hulk (namely, the dim-witted but extremely powerful Savage Hulk) is essentially a child in the same frame of mind as young Banner.
- Marv of Sin City does not like it when guys rough up girls. At all. His response to a frat boy beating up his favorite stripper Nancy was to "straighten him out but good," mentioning that maybe he went a little too far (which implies that he beat the guy to death). In A Dame to Kill For, Dwight plays upon this in order to recruit Marv for the "rescue mission" of Ava, which he feels rather rotten for as he's doing it. Unfortunately, it's later learned that Ava, the dame of the title, was playing Dwight's own violent protectiveness of women like a two-bit fiddle.
- Diabolik has a strange case: the titular protagonist is disgusted by wife bashers but doesn't care enough to punish them, but Eva does, and he'll gladly help her robbing them blind and closing them in their own secret vault (just to quote the most recent case at the time of the writing).
- Jason Todd, the second Robin, hated seeing women getting beaten by their abusive husbands and boyfriends; if he witnessed this, he would beat the abuser within an inch of his life. In one story, he may have actually killed the abuser, because he was furious that the man drove his girlfriend to suicide and he got away with it because he was the son of a diplomat; so one night, he confronted him, and by the time Batman arrived, the man had fallen to his death. Jason denied any wrongdoing.
- When the Runaways were sent back in time to 1907, Karolina discovered that one of the kids whom the team had rescued from a factory fire was living with an abusive old alcoholic. She later discovered that the poor girl, who was 11 years old, was, in fact, married to the bastard, and that he had fully claimed his "marital rights". They ultimately managed to extract the girl and take her back to the present, and thus it was not necessary to beat the old man's ass, but she really wanted to, especially after Klara showed up to the Leapfrog covered in bruises.
Karolina: I know who did this. And I know where he lives.
- X-23 pulls a variation of this with prostitutes. Sometime before joining the X-Men, Laura spent time on the streets of New York as a child prostitute under a sadistic and violently abusive pimp named Zebra Daddy. As a result of her experiences, on several occasions afterwards she's been shown reacting very violently to seeing other girls in the same situations: During her one-shot she stumbled across a pimp abusing one of his girls, and unceremoniously beheaded him with her claws, while the "Songs of the Orphan Child" arc of her ongoing began when Laura went after a man who murdered a teen prostitute she met at a diner. Most notably, when a girl's night out with Jubilee near the end of the series revealed that members of Zebra Daddy's gang had taken over his business, the evening turned into a bloody rampage to liberate the girls they were trafficking. Black Widow herself, who arrived to clean things up afterward and help see the rescued girls were taken care of, noted that Laura was acting entirely out of rage and not thinking clearly during the fight.
- Dark Kuyumaya of Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness. If anyone harms or mistreats a woman in any way in front of him, especially his Love Interest Mizore, they will receive a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown at the very least.
- In The Mysterious Case of Neelix's Lungs, Gul Evek, a husband and father himself, takes a very dim view of the Kazons' habitual mistreatment of women, starting with the summary and very painful execution of the Kazon-Ogla's First Maje Jal Jabin. (The irony of a Cardassian being a Wife-Basher Basher in the face of the mass rape of Bajoran women by his fellow officers during the Occupation of Bajor is not lost on him.)
- In an installment of the All Dogs Go to Heaven fanfic series "Little Memories of A Beautiful Life," "Infatuation Situation", the story's villain slaps Sasha across the face, causing her husband Charlie, who is normally level-headed and docile, to fly into an animalistic rage and rip the poor bastard to ribbons.
- Bud White of L.A. Confidential. He literally rips an oak chair in two with his bare hands out of rage after hearing a suspect's description of a sexual assault of a kidnapped girl. Then, to scare the location of a kidnapped girl out of the rapist, he plays a very non-consensual game of Russian roulette with the guy's face.
- Cyrus "the Virus" Grissom, the Big Bad of Con Air and a mass murderer who claims to have killed more men than cancer, threatened to throw "Johnny 23," a convicted serial rapist, out of the title plane if he dared to try to rape the hijacked plane's only female officer. Cyrus says he normally despises rapists, but will make an exception in this case, then delivers his ultimatum. And The Hero Cameron Poe repeatedly rams Johnny's head into a bulkhead for trying to do just that later in the film. (To make things even more appropriate, Poe is a Wife Basher Basher in a "wife beater".)
- In Brother, the protagonists sleeps with a woman who is frequently abused by her husband. When the protagonist encounters him beating her, he bluntly shoots him in the leg and asks the wife to come with him. When she refuses, he leaves and gives her money to pay for the husband's treatment.
- Sonny Corleone of The Godfather kicks the living daylights out of his sister's abusive husband in public. Which leads to the ambush which kills him.
- Major Payne demonstrates that he is unfit to be a police officer when he smacks a man until he falls unconscious for hitting his wife. Keep in mind that Payne did this during a training scenario and the man was an actor.
- The Expendables
- In The Expendables, Lee Christmas came home to find his girlfriend with another guy. Returning later on (presumably to pick up some things), he found her having been beaten up by the guy, and proceeded to beat the absolute tar out of him and his basketball buddies in broad daylight. He openly admitted he would have killed the guy if it wasn't illegal, and then chastised his ex for leaving him in the first place because for all his faults he was still worth waiting for. While not shown, it's implied he doesn't take her back.
- In The Expendables 2, it is shown that he stayed with her, despite Barney's disapproval.
- In To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, when the drag queens hear Virgil beating Carol Anne, Vida Boheme (Patrick Swayze) thrashes him soundly, ending with the delivery of a bum's rush out the screen door. All without mussing her pink satin peignoir.
Vida: So, I gather you like hitting ladies.Virgil: Some ladies need to get hit.Vida: Then, conversely, some men need to be hit back.
- In Sling Blade, a man (Billy Bob Thornton) has been released from a mental hospital, supposedly cured. He discovers a nice lady he knows and her son are being brutalized by a sadist, so he kills the man, then calls the police and ends up going back to the looney bin.
- John Kramer, aka the Jigsaw Killer in the Saw series. In Saw IV, one of the people he kidnaps and puts in deathtraps is a man who was abusing his wife and daughter. The trap that the wife-basher himself was in had him and his wife chained up with spikes going through both of them. In the Hannibal Lecture that John Kramer delivers through the tape, it is revealed that the spikes are going through his vital arteries and her non-vital arteries and the wife is meant to yank the spikes herself, killing him and allowing her to get away and go get help. She does.
- Suicide Kings: Denis Leary's character Lono delivers a speech about domestic violence to an abusive father. When the man refuses to take the warning, Lono picks up a toaster and beats the guy into a pulp with it.
- In Goodfellas, when Henry finds out his then-girlfriend-future-wife Karen was sexually assaulted by one of her neighbors, he promptly walks to his house and pistol-whips him in broad daylight, then threatens to murder him. This action likely had a hand in causing Karen to marry him, as she admits in her narration that it turned her on.
- In Tank, Command Sergeant-Major Zak Carey was visiting the base hospital, where he discovers a woman is being treated for bruises which are clearly the result of her husband beating her. He looks up who she is, and has her husband — another Marine — called in to his office, where he sees him privately with the door closed. He politely tells the guy that he needs to get counseling, that he can't be assaulting his wife, it's private, and it won't show on his record. He says that if the guy has unresolved anger issues, he'd be happy to go in the ring with him and fight him. The guy blows him off by saying it's his business, and gets up to leave. Zak comes around to the front of his desk, and without even raising his voice, proceeds to chew him out, clearly angry. "Listen, I'm going to watch that hospital, and if your wife or your kid comes in there again because you hit either of them, I will come after you. The stockade won't mean shit to me. My pension won't mean shit to me. I swear to God that I will destroy you in place. Now you will get counseling, that's an order. Dismissed."
- At the end of Jack Reacher, the titular hero boards a bus to leave the city. However, in the back, a woman is clearly being beaten by her abusive boyfriend, with the other passengers trying to pretend not to notice. Jack, on the other hand, gets up from his seat to presumably beat the crap out of the boyfriend before the film cuts to credits.
- In Savages Crossing The Gunslinger Mory is visibly enraged when he sees Phil threatening Sue. When Phil goes on the rampage, it is Mory who eventually incapacitates him with a ferocious beatdown.
- In Honor Harrington, much of the male population of the planet Grayson is this to a degree, due to their very conservative culture, almost in contrast to the open misogyny that many Graysons were portrayed as having in their earliest appearances. Many of them were raised to see women as helpless in a man's world (though their dealings with the far more egalitarian Manticorans do much to change those attitudes) and thus, any man who is revealed to have injured or killed a woman (or a child) is not looked upon with very much favor.
- Honor herself is one, in a manner. In the second book, upon finding out what Masadans do to female prisoners, she approaches the captured Masadan base commander, draws and unsafeties her sidearm, and has to be physically restrained to keep her from putting a pulse dart in the man's head, and even that was because there was enough evidence to convict the guy in court. And even then the 2 meters tall power armored badass Marine Major, his petite Action Girl similarly powered armored second in command, and every other officer present, except one, were frozen in fear by the look in Honor's eyes and didn't move a finger initially to stop her. It was the snot-nosed lieutenant with the standard issue plasma cannon and hero-worship that intervened and restrained his captain.
- Harry Dresden will do horrible things to you if you hurt a woman/child, and he admits his Captain America levels of chivalry are a bit of a problem, with everyone lampshading this. Later he gets more savvy, but holds back until he is certain they are a) evil and b) capable of fighting. When he finds a ghoul that killed, (probably) raped, and partially ate twin Warden trainees, he blasts its lower body off (ghouls are really tough), sets fire to its body fat, then kicks it down a very deep chasm. He only did that to one of them; for the other one, he threw it into a pit with slick glass sides, then poured orange juice on him and left him to the mercy of the local fire ants.
- Niklas from Aldrig Fucka Up, the second part of Jens Lapidus's "Stockholm Noir" trilogy. He witnessed his mother's boyfriend beating her as a kid, and after returning from a tour of duty as a PMC in Iraq, decides to take revenge on every bad husband and boyfriend, starting with his neighbour Jamilia's one. Towards the end, he turns into a rare, male Straw Feminist, and has a bodycount of three.
- In Protector of the Small quarte, Keladry of Mindelan always steps in to try to stop the strong abusing the weak, and on some occasions that's meant this. As a page, she had a maid who was sometimes the object of unwelcome attention, and, well, unwelcome attention often involves injury. Seeing this was one of the few things that could break her stoicism.
"How dare you touch an unwilling woman?"
- This also seems to be one duty of the Goddess' temples in Tortall. Women who see victims of Domestic Abuse tell the victim that she can seek sanctuary there, and mention is made of a new, "aggressive" commander of their Church Militant. This leads to a scene where Keladry goes to a bathhouse to relax after a rough day of page training and a group of women run up to her and tell her that whoever did that to her will pay, even if he's a noble, and Kel realizes that her day to day training injuries look rather alarming out of context.
- The Rainmaker's protagonist spends much of the book pining for an abused wife. The climax has a very cathartic scene where he beats the abuser to death with his own softball bat.
- In Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby: do not diss the title character's sister within his hearing. Just don't. (It's not a good idea to let him catch you mistreating kids, either.)
- Polgara the Sorceress: Daren deals with an abusive husband by asking the guy's father to choose whether his son will be flogged or have both his hands chopped off. (He suggests adding this to the Rivan law code, but we don't find out whether he did or not.) Later in the book, when Polgara is spending centuries as the Duchess of Erat, one change she makes in her villages is to have constables "encourage" wife-beaters to "find another hobby".
- Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: In a rare female example, the Vigilantes become this on Karl Woodley, a National Security Advisor who broke every bone in his wife, Paula Woodley's, body, in the book The Jury. They get into his home and break every bone in his body! Despite having apparently reached her breaking point, Paula takes him back. Fortunately, he is permanently crippled, wheelchair-bound, and can't lay a hand on her. A later book reveals that she is taking great pleasure in tormenting him, implying that she only took him back so that she can make him suffer as much as she had!
- This one is Older Than Print, being a staple of the Chivalric romance. On at least one occasion Sir Lancelot was called on it by a battered gentleman, who proved to be in the right, and acidly suggested that the Knights of the Round Table would do well to inquire into the circumstances before dealing out retribution.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, the narrator proudly declares that on the Moon, attacking a woman is a literal death sentence, as any male in the area will gladly kill you in the most painful way he can think of. The Earther Stuart Renč LaJoie nearly gets killed because his Earth-style flirt was too aggressive for the Moon (he survives because the boys who caught him decided to give him a trial, and the protagonist, acting as a judge, realizes he was just ignorant. Stuart learned his lesson well), while the Moon revolution is triggered by Earth Peace Dragoons raping and killing a woman and their boss preventing the chief of the guards from having them hanged.
- The protagonist of Stephen King's short story "Rest Stop" has to decide if and how he's going to assume this role when he stumbles across an unpleasant late-night scene at the eponymous location.
- Granny Weatherwax is strongly implied to take this tack whenever she hears about domestic violence in The Sea And Little Fishes although the recipients of her brand of justice are usually very reluctant to talk about precisely what she did.
"'You mean old Hoggett the wife-beater? Or old Hoggett who won't never lift his hand to a woman no more?' said Granny. The thing her lips had pursed into may have been called a smile."
- In Vampire Academy, Dimitri's father used to abuse his mother. A 13-year-old Dimitri beat up his father to defend his mother.
- Repairman Jack was hired by a man whose sister was being abused to beat the living crap out of his brother-in-law. Jack gave the guy a pounding and left him helpless, with instructions for the sister to call the cops and blame it on a burglar. His plan backfires when the sister, having her abuser at her mercy for the first time in years, tortures the man nearly to death before she calls the police.
Live Action TV
- In Breaking Bad Mike tells a story about the days when he was still a beat cop, and he would regularly receive domestic abuse calls from one couple, but the abused wife would never press charges. Eventually, Mike got fed up, took the guy out into the middle of nowhere, and threatened to kill him should he ever hurt his wife again. It turns out to be a deconstruction, as the man promises to never do it again but kills his wife only a few weeks later, and Mike is implied to have made good on his promise. Here's the dialog of the scene set to a fan animation.
- An interesting variation occurs in the Very Special Episode of A Different World about domestic abuse. When the abuser is confronted about the rumors by one of his friends, he tells a story of a time when he tried to save a woman who was being slapped by her boyfriend in the street... and she called the cops on him. He says he learned two things that day: that every man can lose it sometimes and that whatever happens between a man and a woman is no one else's business. It is truly chilling that the No Good Deed Goes Unpunished lesson he learned from the incident seems to be part of his justification for abusing his girlfriend.
- Fortunately, his friend decides to make it his business and calls the cops on him.
- In the White Collar episode "Home Invasion", Caffrey is taking part in a sting to catch his first killer (she is also an art thief). However, Alex comes up to him and unwittingly blows his cover, causing the murderess to run away from him. He catches her outside and tries to restrain her, only for her to notice several construction workers nearby and call for help. Long story short, they came over and began beating up Caffrey, allowing the villainess to escape. Peter was able to save his partner from getting beaten too badly, but they still lost the killer.
- In Burn Notice, it's implied that Jesse was removed as a field agent because he couldn't resist this trope, even while undercover.
"Turns out some guys can watch a dude smack his girlfriend around in a bar ... some guys can't."
"Please, for someone smacking his wife and kid around, Michael will take on the Chinese Army."
- In an earlier episode, Michael's target happens to be abusive to his wife and stepchildren. This triggers Mike's Berserk Button, and he allows himself to let out some frustrations every time they meet.
- Then there is the episode where a woman claimed that her abusive husband attacked her then took their child. It turns out the woman murdered the wife and was using Mike's Berserk Button to track the man down.
- In the Cold Case episode 'The Brush Man', The Victim, a door to door brush salesman named Roy Dunn, is revealed to have gone to prison after killing a wife beater in a bar fight. Before his death, he had been keeping a close eye on a family of three, which included giving free brushes to the wife of the family, Diane, and playing baseball with the son of the family, Kevin. This arouses the suspicion of the father of the family, Glenn, who Roy distrusts. Glenn makes Roy take back the brushes he gave Diane and tries to keep his son away from him. Roy later finds Diane crying and comforts her; Diane is upset because her husband mistreats and lies to her, saying he is at work when he is not. Kevin sees Roy and his mother and runs off; Roy goes after him to make sure he did not get the wrong impression. Kevin tells Roy that he had caught his father cottaging in the park and that he had had his wrist broken as 'punishment.' This angers the wife-basher basher Roy, who finds Glenn in his work-shop at night. Roy adopts a threatening tone and tells Glenn to leave his family and let them live their life. Glenn insists that Roy has no right to intrude on his 'family life' and that he will never leave. Roy than tells Glenn that he knows about his homosexuality and Glenn becomes more hesitant, but still reiterates that he will not leave. Roy than throws a punch at Glenn that sends him flying backwards; as Glenn scrambles to regain his footing, he grabs a pair of scissors and plants them into Roy's neck, killing him.
- Roy tells Glenn that he has an eye for people like him and that he can't ignore it like other people on the street or like they 'taught him to in jail'. It is suggested that Roy had experienced domestic abuse as a child in one scene in which he tells Kevin "My House was not a place you'd like to be".
- Another episode of Cold Case had a cop as the abusive spouse to his wife, with the abuse starting to extend to his three-year-old twin girls. A rookie cop found out about it and gave him a preliminary beatdown with a warning to leave the wife he was abusing and stop beating up his little girls. He mentions "That's how we dealt with abusers back then. Off the books." Unfortunately, the rookie started to get close to the wife and the twin girls himself, causing the abuser to come back and kill one of the girls. The wife abandoned the other one in a church and ran away, feeling she would never escape him. The cop ended up dead in a firefight some months later, and the rookie (now an old man) all but admits he shot the guy himself in the chaos. The detectives, disgusted by the abuser and approving of him, decide not to charge him.
- In the Boardwalk Empire pilot, Nucky has Margaret's husband killed after he beats her so badly she miscarries.
- Third Watch's Boscorelli is like this, especially if the woman in question is his mother or partner Faith. He grew up watching his mother get beaten by his father and her subsequent boyfriends and also Wouldn't Hit a Girl because of it.
- Shane from The Walking Dead finally beats the resident wife-basher to a red pulp during episode 3. Of course, he was just looking for an excuse to vent his sexual frustration than anything else.
- And of course, in Season 5's "Try" Rick does the same thing to Pete, drawing some disturbing parallels with his former rival and best friend.
- Carol (formerly Ed's battered wife, but having toughened up considerably after many seasons) also has a visceral negative reaction to Pete's abuse, for obvious reasons. After Pete's fight with Rick, she holds a knife to his throat and threatens to kill him if he ever even comes near his wife again.
- Sons of Anarchy has Jax beat the shit out of a guy who beat his girl. Of course, the guy was also sitting on Jax's motorcycle, so he had it coming either way.
- Angel, a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire who's usually fighting supernatural villains, does take take time out to Cold Open one episode by rescuing a girl who's about to be attacked by her abusive boyfriend. He jumps in right as the boyfriend's giving her a preemptive Why Did You Make Me Hit You?...
Angel: Poor Lenny. The burden of terrorizing your girlfriend too much for you? Lucky for you, I can make it stop.
- Awesomely, Bobby Singer of Supernatural was revealed to have been one of these to his own abusive father.
- Horatio Caine from CSI: Miami can really lose himself when facing people that abuse women (and children). He is known to lock up the interrogation room and take matters into his own hands.
- Gil Grissom from regular CSI is restrained enough not to go that far, but he does have three things he can't stand, and men who hit their wives/girlfriends is one of them.
- CSI NY's Mac Taylor isn't immune from it either, though unlike Horatio, his temper is usually restrained enough to just get in their face when confronting them with the evidence and then tell the escorts to get the guy out before it gets worse.
- Stella as well to a point.
- In Roseanne, when Dan finds out Jackie's boyfriend is beating her up, he goes over and does the same to him. In a bit of a subversion, he explains he first tried to scare him off and it escalated into a fist-fight, and he winds up spending the night in jail when charges get pressed. Also, when he gets home, the show does tackle the Unfortunate Implications of violence-vs-violence when he attempts to explain the situation to his son.
Dan: Look.... it's not okay to beat up anyone, it's never okay to beat up women, but sometimes it's less not okay to beat up somebody when they beat up somebody you love.
- This would be expounded upon in a later episode when Roseanne loses her temper and hits DJ.
- An episode of ER had Dr. Benton treating a woman who had been beaten by her husband (she denies it initially, but it becomes obvious when her story gets inconsistent). The husband happens to be a cop. When the cop and his partner arrive at the hospital to pick his wife up, Benton blasts him for his treatment of his wife. The partner doesn't say much, but later in the episode, the cop himself is brought into the ER, accompanied by the partner and several other police officers. When Benton asks what happened, the partner claims that the man fell down a flight of stairs while they were pursuing a suspect, but the strong implication is that he and the other cops took the guy somewhere and beat the crap out of him.
- Also on ER, after Abby is beaten by the abusive husband of her neighbor (Abby had helped the woman get into a shelter and refused to tell him where she was), her ex-boyfriend Luka tracks the guy down at a local bar and proceeds to beat the crap out of him, reducing him to a sniveling wimp, and finishing his beatdown by warning him, "You touch her again, I'll kill you".
- Person of Interest:
- Somewhat of a meta example: Between takes for the pilot, when the crew was filming in a less than pleasant part of New York City, Jim Caviezel, one of the main actors on the show, ducked into an alley where a drunk guy was beating up a woman; Caviezel clobbered the drunk, then sat him down on the pavement and proceeded to dish out some relationship advice. The meta comes in the second episode in the series, where Jim Caviezel's character John Reese takes out several hitmen sent to take out a guy whose wife had caught him cheating, *then* he proceeds to dish out relationship advice to the now cowering cheater.
- His character plays it straight later on when it is revealed that he deliberately beat the abusive husband of his ex-girlfriend Jessica to death after learning that he killed her.
- In another episode Reese deals with a US Marshal who's using the resources of his service to track down his abused ex-wife. After storming into the New York office of the US Marshals and delivering an ineffective warning to back off, then intervening in a murder-suicide attempt, he drops the Marshal in a Mexican prison with falsified papers so he can't get back out.
- A variation in the fifth season of Dexter: The Child Basher Basher. When Dexter discovers that a friend of his stepdaughter is being abused by her mother's boyfriend, he immediately takes action. He finds the guy and gives him an in-depth lesson on what hitting different parts of the body does to the victim, while hitting him in those locations. He then tells him to get out, STAT, and never come back. Appropriately, of course, Dexter is a Serial-Killer Killer.
- He also came up with a ploy to get rid of Rita's abusive ex-husband Paul without killing him. Unfortunately, Dexter ended up indirectly responsible for his death anyway.
- In Justified:
- Ellison Limehouse takes in battered women who are fleeing their abusive husbands and boyfriends. Years before, when Arlo stormed into Noble's Holler to retrieve Francis, Limehouse gave him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. That Raylan and Arlo both remember to this day.
- Season 4 reveals Johnny Crowder to be one, even though he's not up to delivering the bashing himself. When he believes that one of his hookers, Terri, is being abused by a regular customer named Max, Johnny shows up at Max's house with Colt in tow, and has Colt deliver a brutal beating that nearly kills the man. When he finds out that it was actually Colt who hit Terri, Johnny blackmails him for thousands of dollars while plotting to get rid of him.
- In Dragnet, Joe Friday was like this. There was one Dragnet ep in the late '60s version where he got in the face of a police woman trainee's boyfriend because he was getting huffy and threatening (though he never actually hit her).
- One episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, a woman takes advantage of this by informing her boss/lover that his other girlfriend's husband is abusive, knowing that this is his Berserk Button. His mother was murdered by her dealer when he was a boy, so learning this drives him into a homicidal fury - and it's implied he wasn't exactly thinking clearly. While he is still arrested for the murder of the abusive husband, the detectives make sure to get the woman behind it as well.
- On episode four of the Japanese drama Nobuta Wo Produce, while planning a surprise for Shuji's birthday, Akira and Nobuta overhear Bando getting beaten by her boyfriend and Akira hilariously steps in, beating up her boyfriend with his expert karate skills while lecturing him on how he shouldn't be hitting the one person he should be taking the most care of in the world and how a girl's heart is made of glass so you should never hit her. The boyfriend seems more confused than beaten up, though, and we have no idea if it worked, because he's never seen again — probably because his character was introduced as a reason why Bando bullies and beats up people, ESPECIALLY Nobuta: her boyfriend abuses her and she takes it out on Nobuta. It all works out though, in the end.
- Female examples are rare, and when they do show up, it's usually their own husband they're bashing, but Harry's Law had the case of a woman who was a serial Wife Basher Basher, her victims all strangers.
- In Grimm, Juliette's college roommate Alicia runs away from her abusive husband. Nick is supportive, even when he finds out that Alicia is a Fuchsbau (a fox-like Wesen). The viewers also find out that her husband Joe is a Klaustreich (a cat-like Wesen who are known to be jerks). At the end of the episode, Joe breaks into Nick and Juliette's place and attacks the women. To everyone's surprise, it's Juliette who turns out to fit this trope, beating the crap out of the guy even after he goes full woge on her. Only after he's down does Nick come in with his gun, scaring Joe with the realization that Nick is a Grimm, whereas before he didn't care that Nick was a cop. Presumably, just the threat of Alicia's best friend living with a Grimm is enough to keep Joe away from her.
- An Establishing Character Moment for Jane Doe in the pilot of Blindspot. As the FBI is searching an apartment that the first of Jane's tattoos has led them to, Jane, out in the hall, hears yelling, which the suspect's roommate identifies as the superintendent and his wife. Though confused, amnesiac, and overwhelmed, Jane nonetheless immediately runs down to try and remove the wife from his control, and displays heretofore-unknown hand-to-hand combat skills when the super and his buddy attack her.
- The narrator from Nickelback's Never Again. All the more wrenching because it's implied the narrator is the man's son, who is too young to do anything about it.
Father's a name you haven't earned yet
You're just a child with a temper
Haven't you heard "Don't hit a lady"?
Kickin' your ass would be a pleasure
- The song "Mary Can You Come Outside" by Kane.
Should I sit here on these hands of mine one more time?
Or should I use them on him the way he does on you?
- The Bowling for Soup song 99 Biker Friends has the singer, apparently a friend of the abused wife/girlfriend, who is considering calling in his friends to teach the abuser a lesson
It takes a tough man to slap her around.
Such a bad guy to keep such a good girl down.
She's wearing shades but we all see
Behind the tinted glass.
And I've got 99 biker friends
That wanna kick your ass.
- Alice Cooper's "Hell Comes Home" is about a kid plotting to shoot his father for beating his mother.
- In Goodbye, Earl, by The Dixie Chicks, the wife-basher basher is the wife's female best friend from school, and she doesn't stop at beating up the abusive husband:
Well, it wasn't two weeks after she got married
that Wanda started gettin' abused
She put on dark glasses and long sleeved blouses
And make-up to cover her bruise
Well, she finally got the nerve to file for divorce
She let the law take it from there
But Earl walked right through that restraining order
And put her in intensive care.
Right away Mary Anne flew in from Atlanta on a red-eye midnight flight
She held Wanda's hand and they worked out a plan
And it didn't take them long to decide that Earl had to die
- Sealed With A Fist by Exodus (band) is an aggressive tale about a battered wife unloading a full clip on her abusive husband.
When she took your hand in marriage
It didn't mean right across the face
Small woman, big man, it takes a lot of guts
You're just a pussy in the first place
But now that your wedding chamber's
The one the bullet's in
Brave man, look at you, not so tough
When the hammer's cockin'.
Religion and Mythology
- Maimonides, a Jewish philosopher, lived in a time when only a man could initiate a divorce. He wrote that if a man abused his wife, but would not grant her a divorce, the court should beat the evil inclination out of him until he is willing to grant her a divorce.
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse has the Black Furies, an all-female tribe of Garou devoted to protecting wild places, women, and children. Their tribal code of conduct forbids members from turning a blind eye to violence against women. According to the first edition tribebook, they kill men who commit domestic violence or sexual assault.
- Assassins Creed II has optional side missions where you can defend women's honor by beating the snot out of their philandering husbands (the whole chain starts off when Ezio tracks down his sister's boyfriend, Duccio, for breaking her heart and spreading rumors about her). You run into the guy again in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, and he's still talking garbage about Claudia all these years later, having learned that she runs the Rosa in Fiore brothel (albeit for Brotherhood-related reasons.) This time, Ezio defeats him along with several goons he brings along, and knocks him unconscious when he refuses to keep his mouth shut. Needless to say, by the time Assassin's Creed: Revelations rolls around, Duccio has learned his lesson, and he runs away in terror, referring to Ezio as the Devil himself, though you can still find him wandering the city and beat him up just because.
- One of the side missions in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood begins with Ezio talking with the abused wife of a signmaker who makes propaganda for the Borgias, conveniently making him a target.
- Assassins Creed III has optional homestead missions where you defend the tailor and her daughter from her abusive husband.
- Blazblue: Despite the fact that he's a totally perverted skirt-chasing jerk, if you hurt a woman in Kagura Mutsuki's presence, then the last few moments of your life will probably seriously suck. Just ask Arakune, Ragna and Azrael.
- Beating up a female in The Warriors will get certain male types to attack you for beating up a woman. However, the men that come out for this are no stronger than a regular NPC civilian, so they are just as easy to fight.
- You can take sidequests to do this in The Godfather 2.
- Near the end of Mafia II's story, Vito gets a call from his hysterical sister that her husband hasn't come home. Vito tracks him down (in the middle of banging a hooker at a party) and beats the snot out of him, threatening to kill him if he hurts his sister or is anything less than a stellar husband. It comes back to bite Vito when she tells him she wants nothing to do with him anymore.
- The Flash game Anaksha Female Assassin has this as the title character's original motivation for picking up her rifle. Although in this case it's less Wife-Basher Basher and more Wife Basher Head Shooter.
- In Quest for Glory IV the player befriends a Rusalka, a water spirit who was betrayed by her lover who gets her "revenge" by seducing men and drowning them. In order to let her move on to the afterlife, the Paladin has to visit justice upon her killer — since he's already dead, this involves dredging up his ghost and kicking its spectral butt all over the graveyard. For an added twist of the knife, the guy's tombstone claims he was faithful and tried to save her from drowning.
- Grand Theft Auto IV features a Random Encounter in which the player must confront a woman's abusive boyfriend and either beat him up or kill him.
- In Grand Theft Auto V, Trevor tears off Mexican drug lord Martin Madrazo's ear for the abuse he dishes out towards his wife, Patricia. When he eventually returns her home after kidnapping her for awhile, Trevor threatens to come back for the other one if he finds out he's mistreating her again.
- In Suicide for Hire, Arcturus is normally (more or less) the Only Sane Man; he tries to dissuade their "clientele" and doesn't usually enjoy the killing as much as his partner Hunter. When a man who beat his wife to the point where she sought the pair out and utilized their services comes in... he changes his tune and participates enthusiastically in the Karmic Death.
- Questionable Content had a story arc featuring the VespAvenger, a woman who rode around on a Vespa scooter beating up men who were abusive to their girlfriends. The characters try to convince her to stop by bringing up Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male, asking her if she'd be horrified by the thought of a man who rode around on a Harley beating up women who were abusive to their boyfriends. However, the VespAvenger says that he sounds like her ideal guy, and that she would want his phone number.
- A brief long delayed female example in The Order of the Stick is present in this strip when Haley justifies her willingness to slay one particular rogue out of many she knew on the basis of him being a wife-beater just before unleashing a arrow filled full attack on him.
- Will, from Super Powereds, is this to his sisters abusive boyfriend, in a legitimately creepy manner. He uses his genius to take over the guys car, controlling it from afar. He also reroutes all calls and messages from the guy to his sister, so that she is never the wiser about what happened.
- Zeke Strahm of Seeking Truth kicked off his relationship with Lizzie by beating up her abusive father. He's also not very fond of Albert Conaghan, the serial rapist and Karma Houdini whose sick pastime is likely what got him the attention of Tall, Dark, and Faceless himself.
- The Nostalgia Critic is known to do this with his gun, even trying to shoot Lady Tremaine for abusing Cinderella so much.
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, the supervillainous Cheesecake intentionally evoked this trope by having Mustang, one of her (also female) partners in crime, rough her up while in her Secret Identity, then arranging to be found by one of the heroes. After the hero "taught a lesson" to the completely innocent man whom Cheesecake blamed for the assault, the hero was convicted and thrown in jail himself.
- Popeye, the spinach-eating sailor, is notorious for walloping Bluto whenever the big guy makes one move too many on Olive Oyl, which is in nearly every cartoon. Olive may be often receptive to Bluto's aggressive flirting, but she still doesn't deserve to be forced into anything if she changes her mind about it.
- Popeye kind of blunders into this one; he's generally ready to beat the tar out of Bluto when he starts putting the moves on Olive, but he only holds off because she'd be mad at him — or, often as not, he doesn't hold off, and she gets mad at him. Still, because he's Bluto, it doesn't matter that he's successfully charmed her, eventually he starts getting rough with her, which means Popeye is free and clear to open up a can of... spinach.
- Glenn Quagmire becomes this in the Family Guy episode "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q." in regards to him willing to murder his sister's abusive boyfriend. Joe (a police officer) allows him to do it after seeing the abuse for himself.