You know how it is- you see something on the news, it’s disturbing, you get kind of mad and then you go on with your day. Yeah. That’s not happening for me today.
This morning, I saw the video of Baltimore Ravens football star Ray Rice delivering the punch that rendered his then-fiance/now-wife unconscious before he dragged her out of an elevator by her hair. I think we all knew something to that extent happened because the video of the aftermath was all over the internet this summer but to actually see the hit made me sick to my stomach. It made me sick, made me sad…and then it made me angry. Really, really angry.
The Ravens are my husband’s team; he grew up in Baltimore. They were on our TV yesterday as they played a really crappy season opener and even though I wanted to be supportive of a team he likes, I had a hard time knowing that even though Ray Rice was serving his two game suspension for the aforementioned abuse and was not in the game, I was watching/supporting an organization that goes against everything I know to be right and decent. They saw abuse at the hands of one of their employees, slapped him on the wrist and continued to make money selling jerseys with his name on the back.
It makes me sick Ray Rice’s wife was in that crowd knowing that her safety was hinging on any number of factors that didn’t have to do with her, that she was possibly going to get hurt that night. But you know what else? There were also any number of women in that crowd who are in fear, are at risk, and are in situations where they are physically unsafe at the hands of someone who says they love them. Women who look at Ray Rice and recognize him in their own homes.
This not about Ray Rice.
This is about that watching a stupid football game, that watching the NFL condone domestic violence and blame its victims is a reflection of what happens every day in our communities. This is not a pro-football issue- this is a human issue. There is nothing about love or relationships or the institution of marriage that makes violence okay. Period. But somehow, we have become a society that is capable of uttering things “Well, she married him.” or “Haha, did he tell her twice?” or “She’s the one who stayed, she deserved it.” Or as the Baltimore Ravens tweeted this summer, his wife “deeply regrets the role she played the night of the incident.”
To be clear: there is NOTHING that makes domestic violence even come close to the realm of acceptable. NOTHING.
There is no choice you made, nothing you did, nothing that could make anyone hurting you okay. I know that is hard to believe when what is reflected in the media, sports and even your own community is a climate where we put responsibility on victims and communicate that domestic violence doesn’t matter by how we punish it. However, I know with 100% certainty that I am right when I say it is not your fault, you do not deserve it and there are people who want to help you. The National Domestic Abuse Hotline is available to talk confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence or is questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship. I linked to the website but if you are concerned that your internet usage is being monitored, here is the number: 1-800-799-7233.
I know I keep it light on my blog, writing about how awesome I think Chicago is, fun happenings around town or how to make darn bloody mary’s from scratch and that’s what’s right for this little corner of the internet most of the time. But today, I want it to be a place where you hear loud and clear that there is nowhere that domestic violence is acceptable. Not on my blog, not in society, not in the NFL and certainly, not in your life. Stay safe and live well because that is what you deserve.