Wife-beating is associated with the cultural status of women in the different societies. Women in some cultures are not averse to beatings. They consider it as an expression of masculinity, and as a kind of control, which she herself desires. In other societies, it is the exact opposite. We must follow reason. When we are dealing with certain societies...
I got a question from Canada. The man said: "Here, it is a crime to beat a wife, even with a toothbrush. Is this prohibition acceptable in Islam? Yes. Islam accepts that the beating of Canadian wives, in this culture and ambience... From childhood they are taught that beating women is a type of barbarism, savagery, and so on. There is nothing wrong with taking this into consideration, and adapting to society, because Islam did not command us to be aggressive towards women.
If in their culture, this constitutes aggression towards women, then we are forbidden to be aggressive towards women. In this situation it is inevitable but to consider [beating] this way, and accepting the society, because Islam did not come and command me to be aggressive towards women. But when Allah permitted wife-beating, He permitted it to the other side of culture, which considers it as one of the means to preserve the family, and as one of the means to preserve stability.
I can't somehow shake the image of this Canadian guy trying to beat his wife with a toothbrush.