1. Take it
2. Stop them from kicking you however you can
I myself have created a new option: Not getting down in the first place.
Unless it is an actual physical fight, the only person who can belittle and hurt me is myself. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." And I refuse to be inferior.
I recently asked, "How many times are you supposed to turn the other cheek?" Well, I'm stopping turning by taking a step away instead. I pride myself on always standing my ground, but not every battle needs to be fought.
I feel a little like Will Turner (in Pirates of the Carribean) when Jack Sparrow pulls out a gun. Will says something about him not following the rules of engagement and Sparrow says: "Pirate!"
The truth is, I have been battling a particularly awful pirate for some time now. (This is not to say - in any way, shape, or form - that he is like Jack Sparrow. Anything but.) I was doing everything I could to stand as a shield between him and my classmates. I felt like I could continue to take the lashing - even though no one deserved it - and that would make everyone else's lives easier. But now he's thrown out an ultimatum and just expected I would take the end he prefered.
I'm walking the plank instead.
If my friends/classmates want to step up and fight now, they can. Perhaps my plunge will empower them. They have seen what the battle is going to be like, so if they fight, they know what they are getting themselves into (I really didn't know). I think, that many of them will recognize the futility of it though, and jump ship too.
There's a funny thing about a big ship - if the captain abuses the crew and they all jump off, the captain has to take care of the ship himself or let it sink.
Best of luck with that ship captain. Best of luck.
Love always, ~Heather