In the interest of full disclosure I want to start off by saying that I have never been a victim of domestic violence nor have ever witnessed it, so I cannot and will not provide any opinion on how she should deal with her emotions and her relationship. This article is simply to provoke thought and dialogue.
Yesterday TMZ released the of video Ray Rice viciously striking his then fiancée now wife in an elevator coming out of a New Jersey casino. What was most disturbing to me was when Ray Rice threw his hands up in the air in a gesture of annoyance after he knocked his wife out cold, seeming to suggest that it was chore to pick her up. Dragging her an kicking her around as if she was a rag doll. This video is just a glimpse into what commonly occurs in many households of domestic violence, an ugly cycle of violence that becomes the normal way of communication. When the NFL came down with it’s initial punishment I, like the rest of the public, was surprised by the lenient punishment handed down to Rice; six games I thought should’ve been the minimum.
However, after stepping back and thinking about why the suspension was so short I looked turned my attention to the court system, which essentially only gave him slap on the wrist. If the NFL was following the lead of the authorities why would they hand down a more severe if punishment law enforcement is saying that it’s no big deal, which leads me to my next point, value. Does the NFL really value the severity of Domestic violence? Do we as a society truly understand the mental and physical trauma of domestic violence? Or has sensationalistic news, fame, and desperate need for attention taught us to only care the reaction and not about the people involved involved in these horrific incidents?
Janay Rice took to her social media account to blast the media for posting the video of her husband brutally punching her in the face twice. To paraphrase what she said in her statement she rightfully calls out the media for being insensitive to her feelings; now she has to relive that moment in front of the world. She is not only a victim of Domestic violence due to the hands of her husband she’s now also a victim of public judgement and humiliation; she once again was hurt by hands of someone who hit her emotionally and psychologically by releasing the tape without even thinking about how SHE might feel; the media in many ways punched her in face by it’s knee jerk reaction to publish this story in sensationalistic fashion. The value to the media is that they got the big story, they got the ratings, but if they really valued and took into consideration Janay the VICTIM of crime they wouldn’t have released the tape. From what we saw prior to the this tape leaking it was obvious that what happened in the elevator was bad, did we really need to see the actual crime? How does that help Janay? SHE is the victim, SHE has to live with that, SHE has to explain to her family what she has experienced, not us: the general public, not the sports writers and bloggers, but Janay. If it took seeing the video of man violently punching his wife in face for us a society to react this strongly then we as a society do not value domestic violence as an issue as much as we think, including law enforcement (demonstrated by the fact they only gave him a slap on the wrist). It should not go to this extreme for us to have a dialogue about domestic violence.
One of the keys to progression in any society is where we place our value. If we are still hiding the issue of domestic violence, or haven’t figured out how the voice of the victims should be delivered to the public with their consent, then the value is not placed with the victim it is placed on how WE much can gain from the story, it placed in our ego driven assumptions. The NFL,TMZ, and Law enforcement did not act out of having a high moral value for the victim feelings by lenient sentences and by the releasement the video.
Domestic violence has been a recurring problem in society but has been illuminated mostly my recent incidents by NFL players, Ray Rice hasn’t been the only one unfortunately. The player gets the chance to prepare a statement and explain himself while the significant is either nowhere to be found or is dutifully standing by her husband at a press conference. If it happens again lets hope that for once the spotlight will be on the victim’s voice. As a society, including myself, will look to hear how she feels FIRST. It is one thing to feel sympathy for someone it is another thing to value her or his voice and listen to them when THEY are ready to speak.
The reaction to this story and how it was delivered to the public speaks volumes about how we value women and domestic violence. If anything this taught us that the voice of the public overwhelms the voice of the victim, where’s the value in that?
See link below to Janay Rice’s reaction on her instagram by checking out the link below :