Sunday, September 14, 2014

Why Stay?

       The video of Ray Rice punching his then fiancee has been shown on television repeatedly thanks to the Kings of Gossip - TMZ. Now everybody who is an avid football fall, or at least television viewer, has witnessed the scene of the famous knockout punch and Ray Rice dragging his unfortunate wife from across the floor. After the picture first aired masses of anti - domestic violence and pro -  woman groups as well as individuals came out in front of the microphones and cameras voicing their dismay and anger against Ray Rice, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, as well as the entire NFL organization. The NFL was receiving constant attacks and criticism for running a league full of mad driven, high ego males who habitually beat up their wives and girlfriends as if the behavior was customary. Myself, a fan of Ray Rice and a sorta fan of the Baltimore Ravens, felt very disappointed in him. "He should have known better", I thought to myself. Regardless of what she may have said or done, "he did not have to punch her". But, like most people, after hearing her comments concerning the transgression, - "No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family" - a feeling of shock and disbelief immediately struck me. "Don't you realize that man could have easily ended your life?!?" I felt like screaming inside her ears. But then after awhile the feelings of disbelief dissipated. I realized that this is a domestic situation and these scenarios are often extremely complicated. I began to read the commentaries from many of the readers of various internet articles based on the Ray and Janay Rice domestic incident and saw similarities between their comments and my initial feelings regarding Janay Rice's response. A lot of Americans  are still clueless when it comes to domestic violence. Many of them assume that Janay is simply standing by her husband for his money or that she is just the typical booty shaking, pro sports groupie whose brain is located nowhere close to reality. But despite what many people believe, her support for her man may have nothing to do with his money. She may be intellectually  brighter than you and I. Domestic violence has little to do with the financial power of the man, his family, or their social status. Poor husbands beat up their wives just as much as rich and middle class husbands. Spousal abuse occurs throughout all occupations, nations, religions, and cultures. Domestic violence is an individual issue where various combinations of anger, fear, and suspicion is triggered by events and circumstances. The effects of these events and circumstances differ depending on the aggressor and his or her personal history as well as psychological mindset.  The victim in the relationship, her history, psychological mindset also contributes towards the intensity and frequency of the violence by how he or she responds to the aggressor and the situation. When he yells does she often yell back? When he strikes does she often strike back? When he threatens her does she stay in the home or does she call a friend or relative? When he comes after her does she lock herself inside a safe place or does she immediately call the police? When she says she is sorry does he believe her? There are so many more questions but each and every single one of them are crucial. Each question plays a very key role in the decisions the aggressor and the victim will make and whether or not there will be further violence in the relationship.
       A lot of people place complete blame on Ray Rice stating that no man should ever hit a woman, no excuses. As a person who has spent three years interacting with clients within domestic violence and anger management group sessions, I know that simply walking away from a loved one who upsets you is not always easy. Words as well as actions hurt and when that loved one says those few words or sentences that hits that nerve the individual immediately wants to fight back. Human beings are prideful we don't always want to walk away, allowing another person to win the argument or get away with saying something hurtful. But then again I was not there in the parking lot with the couple so I cannot state for sure whether or not Janay Rice said anything provoking toward her husband or whether he may have been doing all the provoking from the very beginning. Regardless, a man should never hit a woman, especially a man that big. Ray Rice should have known better. He did not have to punch her. He could have called a friend, a cab, even the police, just to protect him, his wife, and his children from encountering a life changing situation. And it is very possible he may have punched her before this violent incident. If that is the case I pray that Janay wakes up and calls the authorities or someone for help because way too many incidents occur where a loved one ends the life of someone he or she was supposed to take care of but failed to because of the inability to control his or her temper. Whoever is doing the provoking he is obviously not able to handle it. He needs to consult further counsel and help from a trusted source. They have the money they can afford it.
       As mentioned before domestic violence is a very complicated issue and should not be treated as a one size fits all affair. It is possible that this was a one-time infraction that will never happen again. I believe that the two really love each other but like all couples they have disagreements and this time the argument between the two got way out of control. The first thing they should do is to do everything to not allow the media, ex. TMZ, or public opinion to influence their relationship. TMZ cares nothing for Janay and Ray Rice. The media simply is running after the ratings and all the money, attention, and laughter that comes with it. Shut the door from the media, get help and counseling. Attend a church, yes church that believes strongly in the Word of God as well as loving on people. It does not occur often but yes couples do save their marriages, even have good ones after experiencing marital violence. It takes a lot of patience, love, and FORGIVENESS, but it is doable. Of course, if the man is beating her like a pulp and continues to do so then for the sake of saving one's life and possibly the children's, by all means leave, and leave quickly.
       Circumstances where a wife is beating up on her husband, physically or verbally can be a bit tricky because often times the husband is more physically stronger and intimidating than his wife. But there are wives who physically abuse their husbands and if such abuse is beginning to become life threatening then he needs to consider leaving his woman in order to protect his life or both and protect their children if they have any. Verbal abuse is trickier. In this situation one needs to follow the advice of a wise pastor or counselor but please don't do what Ray Rice did.

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