While the direct blame for abuse rests solely on the abusers, we live in a culture that supports and perpetuates the cycle of violence. It is on all of us to listen, support and validate the voices of those who come forward. Victims shouldn’t feel censored or have their stories dismissed just because there isn’t a direct line solution to their complicated realities. We cannot get to #WhyILeft without confronting the reasons #WhyIStayed.
At first glance, Charlotte Alter’s piece on Time.com, “Instead of Asking Women Why They Stay, We Should Ask Men Why They Hit,” sounds sensible. In 140 characters, it even seemed empowering — almost spectacularly right on the money.
Why are we asking Janay Rice and other victims of intimate partner violence to explain themselves?? Abuse survivors shouldn’t need to justify their circumstances and choices in a hashtag. Shouldn’t we be as shocked and appalled at that conversation as Alter seems to be?
Actually, no. It turns out, she has missed the point entirely. Keep reading »
“I think it’s all about the choices you make. With me, I deal with a lot of anger issues from my past – not knowing how to express myself verbally and at the same time not knowing how to cope with my emotions and deal with them and understand what they are. So I think help is great. I still talk to my therapist twice a week, and it helps me to…if I’m frustrated and I’m dealing with something, to vent and say what I’m going through so I can hear from an actual clinical person, ‘this is how you should react,’ or ‘it’s good to feel this way’ because feelings, emotions, and energy are supposed to come and go. It’s not supposed to stay there, you’re not supposed to keep it inside, because it’ll bottle up and you’ll become a monster. For me, dealing with my anger issues and understanding myself and the life I’ve been through, where I’m headed and where I want to be has helped me focus on what’s really important and not F up. For anybody who’s going through that situation or anybody who’s dealing with it — it’s all about the choices. Every situation is different but it’s all about the choices you make and how you control your anger. To Ray, or anybody else — because I’m not better than the next man — I can just say I’ve been down that road. I deal with situations and I’ve made my mistakes too, but it’s all about how you push forward and how you control yourself.”
Wow. This is the first time that Chris Brown has publicly spoken about self-control struggles and abusive behavior and I actually feel that he has shown growth. Brown spoke yesterday with MTV News’ Sway about Ray Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens player who was terminated from the team this week after TMZ released a gruesome video of Rice punching his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer Rice in the head, knocking her unconscious, and then dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator. There’s been many reactions this week from domestic violence victims, including the hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft. But Chris Brown is in a unique position to explain the serious underlying psychological issues that lead abusers to harm others. I’m actually glad he weighed in here. (Not that I think Ray Rice, who recently announced he would give up hard liquor and became a born-again Christian, is willing to listen.) [MTV]
Pressure is mounting every single day against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell over his handling of Ray Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens player who assaulted his now-wife. The NFL has insisted it had never seen the brutal video in which Rice punches his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in the head, knocking her unconscious, until TMZ released it on Monday. But on Wednesday, the Associated Press confirmed that a law enforcement official said that the NFL was sent the video in April and someone there acknowledged that it had been received and viewed.
Goodell has been sharply criticized for how he punished Rice, who received only a two-game suspension by the league (before he was dropped by the Ravens this week). Only in late August did the NFL update its personal conduct policy: now players will be suspended for six games for a first offense and banned by the league for a year for a second offense. Keep reading »
“[S]ome might even say, watching that video, Ray Rice is the bigger victim of domestic violence here. .. [S]ome might say I’m defending Ray Rice here. Maybe I am, but if you watch the video, the video actually makes him look better than he did before. She repeatedly attacked him. He’s a victim — flat-out fact — of domestic violence. Only after she’s hit him several times and spit on him does he finally hit back. And she happens because of that blow to knock herself out on the [elevator's] railing. That was an unintended consequence, I’m sure.”
This is A.J. Delgado, a female columnist for the conservative National Review, speaking as a guest yesterday on Sean Hannity’s radio show. Not even Rice’s defense lawyers could have come up with this, uh, creative theory that Janay Palmer Rice actually knocked herself out when she failed to properly absorb her then-fiance’s punch to her head. Really, if Janay hadn’t been so foolish to smack her head into the elevator railing, maybe she wouldn’t have been out cold! It’s so, so sad when a clumsy woman makes it look like her man is abusing her. [Raw Story]
My ex-husband was the most romantic person I’ve ever met. He also hit me on the day we got married, while I was wearing my wedding dress.
That’s why when I saw the footage of ex-Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée Janay Palmer, I wasn’t surprised that she was now his wife. It isn’t — as many of the commenters on the original TMZ video have said — “all about the money,” or “she doesn’t care about taking a punch,” and it’s especially not that “she is telling all women it’s okay for your man to beat you.”
Domestic violence is so much more complicated than a lack of money, or not having self-respect, or feeling like it’s OK for your man to beat up on you. I’m not an expert on what makes women stay in abusive relationships or even marry their abuser. But I did both of these things and I can speak to my particular story. Keep reading »