While discussing domestic abuse with an older Korean gentlemen last night, he attempted to cautiously defend the practice saying, "Sometimes it's the only way to appear firm and in control." I was obviously shocked by such a position and presumed admission and categorically launched into him and his shocking stance. However, after thinking it over and knowing Korean culture very well, I understood him. It's not him; it's the system.
If I were to ask him if it was acceptable to hit someone who just cut you off on the road, he'd say 'No' and we'd both agree. Now, if I asked if it was alright to hit a child who didn't get a high score on a test, he'd give a resounding 'Yes'. Therein lies the problem. People excuse some violence because it meets their culture or societal guidelines for its use while chastising others for their own culture interpretation of its use. In the US, if someone breaks into your home, you can lethally defend yourself. In Korea, similar lethal self-defense would land you in prison. Allowing violence of any kind only excuses its use and when we excuse it for reason X, Y and Z are sure to follow.
In many religions, violence is acceptable for many different moral and ethical "offenses", but in Quakerism, everything is off-limits. This consistency allows for Friends to have a clearly drawn line in the sand with an unwavering commitment to non-violence. There is no gray area and there are no exceptions. A Friend will not be violent and if they are, they won't be a friend for much longer.