I’m sure by now everyone has heard about Ray Rice’s assault on his then finance Janay. Another video was just released showing what actually happened in that elevator and his contract with the Ravens has been terminated and he has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL.
Unfortunately some people don’t understand the severity of domestic violence until they see it with their own eyes. They can be told she was knocked out but after seeing a man hit a woman that hard, it has much more of an emotional “Oh my God” impact. Then people understand. I don’t think he would’ve been fired if that video hadn’t gone public. If the NFL saw it but no one else, I think they wouldn’t have said a word. Public outcry is the only reason they terminated his contract and suspended him.
Even though that may be true, I don’t think the video should have gone public. First of all, it makes the victim relive that moment over and over again. Second, survivors should be in control of their own stories. They determine when or if it is ok to talk about their assault and what details to share, not the media. The survivor always has to be in the forefront of our minds, not the scandal or ratings.
I read yesterday Janay’s reaction, blaming the public and media for her husbands termination and it breaks my heart. It was his conscious choice to hit her twice and knock her out, it was his fault. I wish she could say “The media shouldn’t have made that video public, that is my story to share, not theirs. It is a shame what happened to my husband, but he shouldn’t have hit me. There is no excuse for that. His decision made him lose his job” because that’s the truth.
I was also reading on Twitter a wonderful hashtag #whyIstayed and #whyIleft. I hope that really shines light on domestic violence. I’ve read so many people saying she stayed for his money….there are a lot of reasons why a victims stays even if their partner doesn’t have a dime to their name. It’s a strange mindset to be in a relationships with someone who hurts you or doesn’t respect you. At the time it makes complete and total sense to you when the rest of the world wonders why. Living in fear, living with someone where you always have to watch your back becomes an every day habit, you get used to being afraid like it’s something normal. That’s the point where you feel so worthless than you actually believe you deserve the way you’re being treated, that you did something to cause your partner to treat you that way, so you just be careful as to not to set them off. That becomes your life.
There have been some very positive changes in society and as we all work together we can make a difference, we can make a change and we can fight this.
Side note: There is still space at the seminar I’m hosting with Jessie on October 11th at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL. If you’d like to register, please visit www.1is2many.eventbrite.com. If you don’t live in the area but still want to make a difference, I’m doing a walk for Mutual Ground, a local domestic violence/sexual assault shelter and am currently fundraising. If you’d like to contribute please click here.