I previously wrote about the Ray Rice controversy. But now it has bubbled over because TMZ Sports released the elevator footage in its entirety. Prior to this, people were either vehemently arguing that the NFL needed to be stiffer in its penalties or they were holding both Rice and his wife equally accountable. Janay Rice even publicly apologized for her role in the altercation.
Today, the comments section of no less than 200 articles are still divided. However, the focus has now turned to Mrs. Rice. Women and men alike are wondering why she married him after what he did to her. Aloud, we often see abuse and impose logic to the victim’s actions. We wonder how a person can love some who beats them. We wonder why a woman would stay with a man who would carelessly drag her out of a public elevator. A cross-section of the population who have never encountered domestic abuse (either directly or indirectly) are unmindful that to stop loving someone isn’t an on/off switch. There are many women who suffer in silence because that really is their only choice. Why?
They don’t want to admit that they are being abused
Denial can be a sickness. Having seen the full footage, you can’t possibly believe that this was the first time Rice has ever put his hands on his wife. Furthermore, you can’t honestly expect that this was the first time Mrs. Rice has defended his actions. When a man has broken you down from the inside, your lack of self-worth makes it easy to take the blame for all that goes wrong. As long as a woman believes it’s her fault, she’ll deny that it’s actually abuse.
They have no help to get out
It sounds good to say “well what about her family, friends, a shelter.” You can go to any womens’ shelter in America and see that they are over-crowded and barely making it. How many of you would take in an abused female relative who has a crazy ass ex hunting her down? Would you be willing to put your life and livelihood at risk to save her life? Statistics illustrate that we as concerned citizens are not that brave. You may say Mrs. Rice and others like her have the resources to get away. Yeah, in theory. Abuse in its most basic form is about control. When an abused wife takes away that control by leaving, that man will do what he has to do to get it back. A desperate man is a dangerous man.
Having an exit plan is only the first step
If you’ve seen the Jennifer Lopez movie Enough, then you know that the act of leaving is a small part. Breaking the cycle of domestic violence starts mentally. It could take years for a woman to be whole enough to understand that the abuse is not okay, not her fault, and a punishable act by the law. We do nothing helpful to victims of abuse by making it seem like all they have to do is find a safe haven and things will be alright.
The law isn’t always on a woman’s side
Child support, custody, alimony, divorce decrees -those are all aspects of the law that typically side with women. However, when it comes to domestic violence and rape, the law vacillates between “let’s wait and see” and conscious apathy. A woman can get a restraining order and her abuser will find ways around it. Some are bold enough to outright violate an order. A look at the crime rates involving domestic violence tell the story that victims usually wind up dead at the hands of their abuser or gravely injured because the law failed to protect them.
Men don’t hold their gender to a high standard
When the incident happened, Ravens’ teammates backed Rice. Because he’d told the locker room that it was in self-defense, his teammates fell back on the unspoken loyalty. My thing is how could a 300 lb lineman have no shame in supporting a man hitting a woman? It doesn’t matter whether it was self-defense. We men have to do a better job of not openly co-signing bullshit behavior. I’m not saying you need to go out and break up fights. But if you have a homey or work with a guy who disrespects his girl in public, don’t be so naive to think he doesn’t do that and much worst behind closed doors.
This whole fiasco reminds me of the cycle of mourning the black lives loss at the hands of cops. How many times do we have to speak out on violence against women? I personally feel like we shouldn’t need a whipping boy or to have make an example out of one man based on an action that is unequivocally unacceptable. It’s not about us teaching women to look for triggers or telling them not to provoke. The bottom line is do unto others. If you don’t want a man unleashing any type of abuse on a woman you love, don’t do it to anyone else’s daughter, sister, or friend. Period. It’s not that hard to comprehend!
Now that Ray Rice has been released by the Ravens and suspended from the NFL indefinitely, one has to think how at-risk this puts the victims in all of this; his wife and daughter.