The Other Wes Moore

by Wes Moore

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Why did Joy Moore react so strongly to Wes hitting Nikki in The Other Wes Moore and how did his father react?

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When Wes punched his older sister, he understood his action as purely personal. He was only three years old, and his reaction was directed toward her as an individual. In his view, it was just part of the game they were playing. He was not motivated by any general animosity...

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toward females, and he was largely unaware of the larger context of the tremendous social problem of male violence against females.

His mother yelled at him never to put his hands on a “woman.” Joy both understood the larger issue and was motivated by her own experiences. In a previous marriage, Nikki’s father, Bill, had severely beaten Joy: he knocked her down, dragged her across the floor, and repeatedly hit her. He stopped when she grabbed a knife and told him she would use it to defend herself. Within a month, she and one-year-old Nikki had moved out.

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