- Some examples in The Wheel of Time
- The nation of Altara has institutionalized this trope. Women are legally allowed to murder men, and all wives carry a ceremonial dagger that they are supposed to use to slice up their husband if he gets out of line. This is all treated like a curious local custom at worst.
- Mat Cauthon is stalked, sexually harassed and eventually raped at knife-point by the much older queen of Altara. It's played for laughs, and the female characters think that he deserved it because he's a flirt.
- Just as a reminder of what actually happened: Mat locked himself in his room to avoid Tylin. Tylin broke into the room, tied Mat to the bed, and forced him to have sex at knife point. Flip the genders there, and it's hard to imagine any justifying edits about how Mat "really felt" or the "real reason Mat was freaked out".
- The Dark Elf Trilogy inverts this. A major theme in the series is the social and physical inferiority of the male Drow. However, this is one of the major ways that Drow society is shown to be notoriously evil.
- Subverted in the first Provost's Dog book by Tamora Pierce. Protagonist Beka Cooper's first arrest (which gives her the "Terrier" nickname) is of Orva Ashmiller, introduced having thrown a pot at her husband (drawing blood) and threatening to cut off her children's heads with a butcher knife. Beka is sympathetic to her victims, the case is taken seriously in court, and she's eventually given hard labor for it (along with hitting Goodwin with a knife when resisting arrest- attacking police never goes over well, no matter the gender of the assailant and victim).
- In L. Frank Baum's The Marvelous Land of Oz, Jinjur tried to take over the country. She has a cameo in a later book, placidly explaining that she is content with her quiet life with her husband — and her husband is nursing a black eye because he had milked the cows in an order she did not approve of.
- Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: The Jury has the Vigilantes finding out that Paula Woodley has had every bone in her body broken by husband Karl Woodley, who is the National Security Advisor, The Napoleon, and had the President himself as his best man at their wedding! So the Vigilantes go to his home and break every bone in his body! Collateral Damage reveals that Paula has been non-physically abusive (for the most part) to Karl, making him eat baby food and watch her eat a fine Southern meal, confining him to a few rooms, and taunting him when they do interact. By this point, he is wheelchair-bound, and he has lost his ability to talk. Female characters take Paula's side, while male characters seem to be uncomfortable with the whole situation (possibly because they are wondering if their spouses or loved ones will do this to them next!). In short, the series does its best to rationalize Paula's treatment of her husband.
- Maggie Spritzer's treatment of Ted Robinson and Abner Tookus is also terrible. Fortunately, Maggie finally wakes up to the realization that she's been unfair to both of them and attempts to make amends in Deja Vu. Home Free has her hooking up with Augustus "Gus" Sullivan, and she realizes that she can't take advantage of him the way she did to Ted and Abner.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. Mannie explains to Stu LaJoie that a woman "can hit you so hard she draws blood; you dastn't lay a finger on her," and that this is because there are two men for every woman on the Moon. The consequent intense competition among men for female favors means that men not only tolerate abuse from women, but will enforce its acceptance on each other. Attitudes on Earth are completely different because there is no huge sexual imbalance there.
- Subverted in The Underland Chronicles. Fairly early in Gregor the Overlander, Luxa slaps Gregor across the face and is immediately reproved — first by Boots, then by Vikus.
- In Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione on the verge of having a Relationship Upgrade when a fight causes Ron to get together with Lavender instead. A distraught Hermione winds up conjuring a flock of birds to attack him, leaving marks on his arms weeks later. The pair make up by the final book, but after a fight with Harry, Ron walks out on him and Hermione and can't rejoin them for more than a month. When he comes back and tries to apologize, Hermione goes into an Unstoppable Rage and attacks him with such force that Harry has to use a Shield Charm to separate them. (He, at least, is gratified when Ron stops acting meek and penitent and starts yelling back at Hermione.) For what it's worth, the author J. K. Rowling later regretted rushing their relationship, and expressed the opinion that their marriage would need a some counseling to work. The film adaptations notably downplayed these scenes so that Hermione clearly doesn't intend real damage.
- Inverted A Brother's Price, which takes place in a world where between three and five percent of healthy babies are born male, most boys miscarrying before they get that far, which essentially reverses gender roles and stereotypes. Therefore men are very rare and constantly outnumbered; they are sold into group marriages like property. The fact that some wives abuse their husbands is well known, and Jerin actively fears being sold to such a family. Hurting a husband is frowned on socially - killing one turns someone into a monster in-universe - but it still happens. We also do see a case where it's a husband who abused his younger wives while staying in good graces with the older ones. That kind of violence isn't as talked about, but there is a socially-approved course of action ... which would be simply sending the husband back to his sisters, without any punishment.
- Also, the first chapter of the book has a subversion of the inversion- Jerin is being hassled by an older sister and thinks that if he throttled her, people would shrug and say, "She was one of thirty-two girls — a middle sister — and a troublemaker too, and he — he's a boy." However, we quickly see that not only would he never even start to try such a thing, but her anger towards him is a lot more alarming than his towards her - the book mentions the "sudden, tiny, fearful knowledge" that she is armed.
- Definitely subverted in Dolores Claiborne, as the scene in which Dolores stands up to husband Joe's physical abuse by smashing his face with a cream pitcher is chilling and definitely not played for laughs.
- Averted in one of Jeaniene Frost's Night Prince novels. Leila delivers an APS to Vlad and storms out. Later, he points out that he's never before let anyone touch him in anger without retaliation, and implies he let it go this once because her anger was justified. She then feels shame, knowing that violence has no place in a relationship for any reason.
- In The Reader, Hanna is portrayed as a sympathetic character despite being a Nazi war criminal who carried on a sexual relationship with an underaged boy. One can only imagine how the novel would be received if the sexes were reversed.
- The Dresden Files:
- During Fool Moon, Murphy slaps Harry so hard he chips a tooth. Six books later, she finally apologizes for it - but calls him a "jerk" for merely mentioning the above. This is treated as a comedic Tsundere moment, quite apart from the many times when male characters use excessive physical violence (and are hated in-universe for it).
- This is also deconstructed with Thomas Raith. He's a White Court Vampire Refugee- meaning that he feeds on emotion (specifically lust), emits an aura that attracts prey to him, and wants absolutely none of it. He doesn't feed very often because it harms and can addict his prey- but whenever he's hungry, women start coming on to him whether he wants them to or not. He can't keep a normal job because sooner or later a female coworker will try to sexually assault him and he'll be blamed for it. During his last job at a fast food restaurant, his female manager went after him in the freezer when the owner walked in. Thomas lost a job and she got a promotion. Harry also recalls an incident where Thomas simply answered the door to a female missionary, and she immediately leapt on him - she left tooth marks.
- Averted in The Great Divorce: We see several abusive spouses in Hell, and two of them- Robert's Wife and Pam- are women. Their refusal to give up the traits that made them abusive (Robert's Wife was a Control Freak and Pam was neglectful of all of her family except her son Michael) is what keeps them there.
- Played with in Anne of Green Gables where Anne gets annoyed with Gilbert's taunting and smashes her slate over his head when he pulls her hair. She gets in massive trouble for it and Marilla scolds her - but at the same time the sequence is played for comedy, Marilla finds it Actually Pretty Funny and her annoyance seems to be more at Anne making a scene in general than that she could have hurt Gilbert. Naturally they end up falling in love and getting married.
- In one of Fred, The Vampire Accountant novels, the plot of one of the chapters is kicked off when a female mage gets pissed off at her twin brother (also a mage) and throws a hex at him. He automatically blocks it, resulting in a "time out" spell set up by their late father kicking in and putting them into a Time Stands Still pocket dimension, along with Fred and several of his friends. Initially, the sister puts the blame for this squarely on her brother, pointing out that, if he were a real man, he would've allowed the hex to hit him instead of blocking it. Subverted later, when she cools down and admits she overreacted. Besides, it's implied that, when they were younger, fights were often started by both. In fact, that's the whole point of the "time out" spell. It can only be turned off by both of them honestly apologizing.
Double Standard Abuse Female On Male / Literature