I thought I would wait until the ire surrounding the Ray Rice/domestic violence in the NFL died down a bit before posting some thoughts. Of course, with an ongoing investigation, it is still rare to go more than a few days without seeing that incredibly disturbing video.
So here goes my thoughts about various topics around the saga and domestic violence in general:
- Enough with the video. Can someone please think of Janay, Rice's wife. And I feel sorry for their daughter who in just a few years will probably be on the Internet and come across that. Just stop.
- It does not (much) matter that the extremely damning video came out later; the Ravens and the NFL should have done more knowing what they knew months ago. Rice said he hit his fiancée, and at the time there was video of his dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator. For the love of God, why wasn't that abhorrent enough to warrant more than a two-game suspension?
- It is never okay to strike a woman. Closed-fisted, open-handed, it does not matter. If a woman has wronged you, hits you first (which is also wrong), or badgers you verbally for hours on end, you need to walk away. Punch a wall if you must. But not a woman. Never. I might even go so far as to say even if she is 6 feet tall and 250 and you are 5'6" and 140 pounds wet. But you know what I mean, hopefully.
- Women who stay with abusers don't deserve scorn. You probably have no idea why they won't leave, but to them, it is a really good reason. And often there are many reasons: fear, forgiveness, thinking divorce is a sin, fear, their children, embarrassment, fear, money, thinking it is their fault, fear, self-esteem issues, bad advice, fear, not wanting to be alone, thinking they will never find someone else, fear. Yes, I said fear. A lot. Based on my experience volunteering at a DV shelter many moons ago, fear was up there and a big motivator to stay (because really, if your man points a gun at your head and says he will shoot you if you leave, I am guessing that would be enough to make most women stay). But again, many, many reasons.
- Most batterers hit again. Ask any woman who has ever been hit. Some change, but it is probably not worth it to take a chance and find out if said person is a new man. But see my next point.
- Once someone has been suitably punished (and Ray Rice has not been yet, as far as in the eyes if the law, but he has as far as the NFL is concerned, if he misses the entire season), and in some cases, once there is enough passage of time, we should move on. See my next point for more about that. But when I say "we," I do not mean the victim of DV; I mean the rest of us.
- Former Steeler James Harrison slapped his girlfriend many years ago. The Steelers, particularly Dan Rooney, did not handle it well. I am pretty sure I blogged or wrote a letter to the editor about it. But that was years ago. Since Harrison has not gotten in trouble for anything DV-related since then, why punish him now? I would say this for any person, any team. Otherwise, why not just leave every person in prison and never let anything go? And, yeah, for me this applies to all wrongdoings. I don't hold Ben Roethlisberger in the highest regard as a person. But he was suspended for what he did (and keep in mind he was not charged with anything nor was there proof). So I am over it.
- Again, I am saying this as an outsider, not the girlfriend or wife of an abuser or sexual assaulter. Because those people have no obligation whatsoever to move on as far as forgiving and forgetting. But if they do? Again up to them.
- Finally, we make our own choices. What we do is rarely the fault of our team, family, coworkers, school, teachers, etc. Dont hate and/or blame entire entities for one person's screw up. I root for entire teams. I refuse to hate a team because of the things a few did. Just as I would not quit my job if I found out a coworker or boss drive drunk and injured someone. And just as I would not shun an entire family if one of their kids was a drug user and seller.
Now giving someone a third chance? That is different. Still working through my thoughts there.
That is all for now.