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

Wedding Crashers – Stop Laughing at Rape

How would you feel if you were watching a movie and a scene opens with a man sitting on top of a woman.  She wakes up to see him there and then notices that her hands and feet our bound, tied to each bed post.  She looks nervous, asking what he is doing and as he reassures her he only wants to be adventurous,.  She tells him to let her go, stop, beginning to struggle, pulling at the ropes, only to be gagged with a piece of cloth and duct tape.  Then the scene cuts. 

How would you feel watching that?  Would you think, oh that’s funny or oh my gosh, why did he just rape her?  She looked scared, she told him no, she was bound and gagged, why is that funny??  Would you feel angry? Uncomfortable?  A man just took advantage of a woman, violated her and she had no way to get out, no way to make him stop, he didn’t listen to her.

Over the weekend I just watched the movie Wedding Crashers for the first time and this exact same scene happened, except a woman violated a man.  In the movie, Vince Vaughn’s character, Jeremy, is pursued by a woman named Gloria, who he titles a “Stage 5 Clinger” meaning she is obsessed with him.  However, he is forced to be around her because Owen Wilson’s character, John, is interested in her sister so they go to their family’s house for a trip.  

The first time she assaults him is at the dinner table, where she begins touching him and give him a hand job under the table even though he tells her no, protests and keeps trying to move her hand.  She blatantly ignores him and continues to grope him, making him uncomfortable and violating him, ignoring his requests because he didn’t give consent.

That night he is woken up to her on top of him, tied down and as he protests, she puts a sock in his mouth then duct tapes it shut.  Then the scene cuts.  The next morning, Jeremy even makes a joke about being raped.  As the movie continues, they ignore the fact that she raped him and he ends up marrying his rapist.

I fail to see how this is funny.  We can joke about men being raped because we don’t see it as rape, we don’t see it as a violation of a man becauseOBVIOUSLY men always want sex.  The entire point of Jeremy and John crashing wedding was for the purpose of having sex, Jeremy and Gloria already had sex so we can make that a joke.  I looked up the summary of the movie on Wikipedia, just out of curiosity to see how they described that scene and this is what it said “Later that night, Gloria ties up Jeremy and proceeds to have sex with him, saying she is being “adventurous” and is fulfilling fantasies”. No she proceeds to rape him.

He said no, he did not give her consent and therefore she is a rapist.  If they filmed that exact same scene but Jeremy tied up Gloria as she was saying no and telling him to stop, people would be furious!  Watching that scene we would feel upset, uncomfortable, angry, but we laugh instead.

The fact that this entire event is treated as a non-issue is incredibly disturbing to me and once again perpetuates the idea that men cannot be raped by women, that it isn’t something serious.  It’s an extremely sexist point of view as we join together to destroy the ideas that surround female sexual assault, accepting the facts that a woman can be raped by an intimate partner, that what a woman wears or the amount she drank has NOTHING to do with her being raped, but we collectively laugh at a man facing the same violation?  Why is that ok?

I cannot tell you how many times I have been ask, “A man can be raped by a woman? How is that possible?”  Men can be raped by a woman the same ways women can be raped by a men, except our society laughs as we labor under the delusion that this is ok, that men always want sex and men are strong, there is no way they this could possibly happen.

We have to stop this.  Male sexual assaults are under reported because men typically don’t want to admit they have been assaulted because of these cultural stigmas.  It’s even harder if the perpetrator is a woman.  Instead of laughing, we should be furious!!  We should yell and question!!  Why is this funny??  Male survivors need as much support as female survivors and, at times, they need it in a different way.  We have to rid our society of these gender stereotypes and stop laughing at rape.

Meggie