The Root of Domestic Violence?

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Ask yourself this… How does a smart, articulate woman with a college degree find herself being knocked out by her boyfriend in an elevator and tossed around like a rag doll? Answer: Date an NFL player named Ray Rice. I’m sure Janay Palmer didn’t expect the day after Valentine’s Day to turn out so crazy, but it did. Both she and her then fiancé were arrested for a simple assault case where she found herself unconscious and in pain. Today TMZ released a video of surveillance footage from inside the elevator where this violent attack took place. People are either outraged or if you are a Raven’s fan, wondering why is this happening now. There have been celebrities speaking out against the NFL, the police department and the Ravens ownership, calling for harsher punishment. The NFL has responded by suspending Ray Rice indefinately. There are a few knuckleheads that are defending Rice saying he is a good guy or pointing out that his now wife has forgiven him so we should too. That would be all fine and dandy if we lived in a bubble, but domestic violence is nothing to just brush off.

 What I haven’t heard in all of the discourse is why this happened and is it continuing to take place. I must admit watching the video put me in a bad head spin. I must have watched it about 10 times, not because I like violence, but because I could not believe what I was seeing. I wanted to be sure of everything that I observed before writing this blog.  I paid attention not only to the fist striking Janay, but also to her body language as well as Ray’s.  I watched for his reaction after the fact to see if there was any sign of remorse or shock at the very least. I wanted to see if she may have initiated the incident by hitting him, per previous rumors. How did this young lady end up unconscious? Was she drinking heavily and passed out or did she slip and fall. Here’s what I observed:

Apparently there was already tension before they entered the elevator because it appears that Ray spit at Janay as she walked past him. She waved him off as if to say cut it out. She seemed aggravated, but who wouldn’t? Then I noticed his body language which seemed matter of fact, like he had a point to prove. They enter the elevator and before the doors could close he is up on her, looks like he is arguing and pushes her.  She says something and he pushes her again and as she falls back into the wall he steps back. She comes toward him saying something and he cold cocks her. At this point she looks to be unconscious and as she is falling to the ground, bangs her head on the handrail. He just stands there and then he decides to pick her up as the doors open. The doors close allowing him to get a better grip and then he drops her on her face with her feet still inside the elevator after the doors open a second time. He nudges her with his foot and then moves her legs, picks up her shoe and tries to pick her up again before security intervenes. He then goes back over to her and jolts her awake.

Now that’s what I saw watching the video, but I actually saw more. I observed a young man who is desensitized to the fact that he punched a female and made her pass out. He is nonchalant about helping her and doesn’t seem to show any remorse. This tells me that this is not an isolated incident. What I also saw was a young lady who was not shocked or outraged that she was struck. When she woke up she appeared to act like this was a common occurrence. She seemed like she was aggravated, but not outraged. Let’s play devil’s advocate because there has been a lot of talk lately about whether a man should ever hit a woman. Let’s say a male is in a situation where a female is attacking him and he feels the need to defend himself and socks her, she hits her head on something and falls to the ground. His kneejerk reaction after she hit her head and fell to the floor would have been one of concern and/or panic. The first reaction would be to check for a pulse to ensure she was still alive. Then remorse would set in and he would become upset. In Ray’s instance, none of this happened. Now for the female, if she was attacking a male and got knocked out, her reaction upon waking up would be screaming, crying and outrage. The world would know that this man just hit her. This was not Janay’s reaction and as a matter of fact she went on to marry him a short time later. In my opinion this was not the first time violence had ensued in the relationship and it more than likely wasn’t the last time.  

People keep saying she is dumb for marrying this man after he knocked her out, but did they stop to think that this was normal for her. Maybe she thinks this is love or she doesn’t know of a way out. This man is her life and let’s not forget they have been dating since she was sixteen years old. How many relationships has she really had? She is not dumb, she’s in love and she needs help. She needs to know her value and she needs the self esteem to be able to stand on her own. This young lady has a college degree and is very articulate judging from the press conference video where it appears that she was forced to apologize for her “part in the incident.” I pray she wakes up before it’s too late because she has a daughter and I am sure she doesn’t want this bad cycle to repeat itself in her.

As for Ray, has anyone asked what would cause a physically superior professional athlete to punch his lady like he was in a bar brawl? What happened to this young man growing up? Did he witness violence towards women in his environment that caused him to believe this behavior is alright? I agree he needs to be punished, but he also needs help so there will be no next time, because next time she may not wake up. I’m sure he loves his daughter and wants the best for her. Would he allow a man to put the paws on his baby girl? I think not, so he should never perpetuate the crime against her mother. He not only needs therapy, but a mentor to help him. Maybe one of his former colleagues can offer assistance in this area because this is not the first or only case of domestic violence in the NFL.  Now that he is out of a job, he will have plenty of free time to think about what has happened. I pray he channels his anger and frustration into something that will help him because next time he may end up in a cell and his daughter may be an orphan.   

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