Ray Rice and Dometsic Violence

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.

♥ Meggie

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Todos Somos Jose Enrique (We are all Jose Enrique)

I was on Facebook today and all of these photos started popping up saying “Todos Somos Jose Enrique”.  I did a quick Google search and read that Jose Enrique was a publicist in Puerto Rico who has become yet another victim of the ever increasing amount of violence to afflict the island, mi isla del encanto, la isla dondé tengo familia (the island where I have family).  Jose Enrique was found after being beaten to death and his body consumed in flames.  If you haven’t read any of my past blogs I’m 25% Puerto Rican (as well as Irish, German and a bit Scottish) and extremely proud of all of my heritage, so this story really speaks to mi corazon, mi alma (my heart, my soul).

Puerto Rico has always been plagued with violence and I have been told so many wonderful and terrifying stories by my Abuelo about what is was like growing up on the island and how different it was and is now from the United States.  Now an entire social media movement has started to protest the violence and speak out.  Not too long ago a famous boxer, Hector Camacho, was shot too and there have been more before that, famous and not.

It’s true, we ARE all Jose Enrique whether we live in Puerto Rico, the U.S., Mexico, another country, another continent.  What’s the difference?  This year alone over 1,100 people have been murdered on the island, 228 have been murdered in Chicago alone (which is more than have died in Afghanistan this year) and what about in places like Mexico?  Everywhere has violence and we as people in general do little to stop it.  We are all Jose Enrique because we all have the ability to become victims or to become those who mourn the loss of a mother, father, sister, brother, friend.

This is not just the fight of Puerto Ricans, this is not the fight of Mexicans, Columbians, Aisans, Africans, Europeans, Americans, this is all of our fights because we all have the ability to do something.

This just brings me to tears, honestly, knowing that this is going on, in my Chicago, in Puerto Rico, all over the world and so many think they can do nothing or areas with more violence aren’t worth it.  Any person, any child, any adult, anyone is worth everything, to have the chance to live and breathe and wake up every single morning feeling safe and happy.  We all have to take action, speak out.  Don’t look at areas and say they don’t deserve it, it’s too dangerous to go help and they made the choice so they’re not worth it.  The people being killed, the youth that could be saved from gangs, the children and young adults that can be taken out of a gang, the innocent lives living in these areas, they ARE you because we as people are all important, it doesn’t matter where we live or what we look like or your situation in life.

Just imagine if everyone in the Chicago area (there’s over 2 million people in the city alone) donated $5 to a positive youth organization or donated their time or special talents and in every other city the people did the same thing.  Can you imagine what a beautiful effect that would have on so many lives?!  Or even just going down to these lower-income areas and buying something from a local store or restaurant and supporting local businesses there (or anywhere for that matter).  Really just take a minute to actually think about that and really let it soak in, every country, every city all of those people.  ¡Basta ya! (Enough already!) Let’s end this these horrible things happening in our neighborhoods, cities, everywhere!

Just do something, act, listen and educate yourself on problems in the world whether it is gang violence, animals, human trafficking whatever you have a passion for don’t just sit there DO SOMETHING!  Learn about the best solutions for those situations (I highly recommend reading Damned Nations by Samantha Nutt because that really puts a new light on nonprofits).  Donate $100 or $5, donate your time at events or spread the word!  Post a Facebook status but don’t let awareness fade!  Everyone, people as a group, ALL of us have this amazing ability to move mountains when we work together, when we don’t put boundaries on where we are from, what we look like or our situation in life.  You doing something can have such a powerful effect, even if it is just one life, that is one life who can raise a family in a better situation just because of YOU!

Join together, help me, help your neighbors, friends, family and fellow human beings porque todos somos Jose Enrique (because we are all Jose Enrique), we all want to live in a world where there isn’t violence and we all have the ability to become victims.  You are just once person in the world, but one person can make a world of difference.  We can do this, but we all need your help because we can’t do it alone.