Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Why You Should Care about the Ray Rice Incident #stopviolenceagainstwomen

I have been meaning to write about the Ray Rice incident before now, but I have hardly had a chance to sit at the computer.  For those of you who live under a rock and don't know, Ray Rice is the Ravens football player that was caught on a video camera punching and knocking out his then fiancee (now wife) and dragging her off an elevator.  Once the video was released, the media jumped all over it.  I saw countless interviews of women making comments along the lines that if they chose to stay together, it is no one's business.  They say she is a grown adult and can make her own choices.

Let me tell you, I have to disagree.  Trust me when I say this--I highly doubt that was the first time he hit her, nor the last.  And why should we care?  Because she is a victim.  It is hard for you and I to understand it and sometimes we like to think--he apologized, he won't do it again, it's over.  But that is far from the truth.  Maybe he did.  Maybe he says he won't do it again.  But it is far from over.  In cases of domestic violence, this is a pattern of behavior that has gone on for years.

There has been so much talk about Ray Rice, but let's look at women who are in relationships with men like Ray.  There are so many reasons why women end up with men who abuse them.  Sometimes, they are women who grew up in abusive homes and that's all they know.  But many, many times, they are women who meet a charming man and fall in love.  Like we all have.  However, these "charming" men are great manipulators.  They twist their partner's thinking about life and love.  These women lose their sense of self.  When he does something crazy, he is able to turn the tables and make her think she is the one with the problem.  She is no longer able to trust her own judgment.  She is afraid, yet believes she loves him.  And believes he loves her.  He convinces her that she cannot live with out him.  One one hand, he builds her up, but on the other, he tears her down.  The abuse continues.  Then he tells her he loves her.  Her mind is so boggled and so confused.  Ever hear of the Stockholm Syndrome?  It is a psychological phenomenon where hostages have empathy for their captors to the point they even defend them.  This is what happens to these women. Sometimes they are scared to leave.  Sometimes they are unable to leave.  Sometimes, their minds are so twisted, they don't know how to leave.

Not only should we care about these women, but we need to care about the children these couples bring into the world.  These children are exposed to a horrific amount of violence and are directly impacted by it.  Children exposed to domestic violence experience an array of problems.  They may have difficulty in school, are more prone to behavioral and emotional problems, may become violent themselves, may become involved in substance abuse, become involved in criminal activity and the list goes on and on.  And when people become involved in drugs and criminal activity, we are the ones to pay.

So when Ray Rice decks his fiancee, yes, we should all care.

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