All the world is talking about Ray Rice right now. The attention is on him, the NFL, the local police, everyone who might have seen the video, TMZ, etc. Let’s now take Ray Rice out of the equation and use this as an opportunity to maybe reach some people who need to be reached. This issue is so very close to my heart that it is one of the only things that you will not see me talk about on my blog. Some stories are not just mine to tell.
I’m talking to the women out there right now, although I know there are men as well. But my concern this very minute is about women like Janay Rice. It’s easy to look at the situation and put some of the blame on her because she was arguing with him or getting aggressive herself or whatever. But…
Point One: Domestic abuse is NEVER an okay response to arguments. Period. Physical violence is NEVER an okay response to an argument.
But she stayed with him, right? She married him anyway? So she obviously wasn’t that upset about it or he made it up to her or she knew it was her own fault?
Point Two: You cannot understand the perspective of a domestic abuse victim unless you have walked in their shoes. And maybe not even then.
1.3 million women are the victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Are they all stupid? Carpet that lets people walk all over them? No. They are people in a bad situation who may not know how to get out or even understand fully why they need to.
Copedency is a a vicious cycle. I read the book Codependent No More at a very young stage and learned the cycle. It may be physical abuse; it may be emotional abuse. Both are damaging in their own way. And once someone gets away with it once, they tend to continue and escalate the abuse because they have been given implicit permission.
Let’s not give the football player another minute of our attention. Let’s instead give it to the women who need it–the women who need that extra little encouragement to get out of their situation. Whether they need counseling to understand what is happening to them or actual resources to get away, let’s make sure that they know those are available to them.
Use your Facebook feed space or Twitter stream to let people know where they can find help in your area. Here in Indiana we have the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Julian Center, and a number of other resources listed on the state Domestic Violence Resources website.
One in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. Let’s use this opportunity to give them hope and help.