THERE’S SOME MISSING ACCOUNTABILITY HERE …
By Mande Wilkes || Rarely if ever have I seen lazier reporting, commentary, and even citizenship. I’m talking – like most everyone else – about the Ray Rice thing. When it comes to sports in general, and football in particular, I don’t care … but this story has for whatever reason besotted the country.
And so I’ll bite.
Rice is despicable. Obviously.
About him, that’s all I’ll say. That’s all that can be said, really. It doesn’t require a whole cultural discourse to know that violence is wrong, and violence against one’s lover is doubly wrong.
But what of Rice’s then-fianceé, now-wife? See, that’s the thing … she went ahead and married him after he knocked her unconscious and dragged her limp body around, as if she were one of his footballs.
With respect to “cultural implications” and other such pablum being tossed about, I’m more concerned about her behavior than his. While I certainly don’t expect her to make a public service announcement about domestic violence, or to otherwise become a poster girl on the subject, I do expect her to not marry the dude who beat her bloody.
She can do as she pleases, obviously. Maybe their union is fated, maybe the universe commands that they be together. I can believe that … for everyone, there’s someone.
But she shouldn’t be allowed to be let completely off the hook, shouldn’t be allowed to be held wholly unaccountable for her choices.
In fact, the collective failure to question her choices amounts to a(nother) slap in her face. We should expect her to exercise her agency, to activate some degree of self-preservation. By accepting silently her choice to stay with her abuser, we’re acquiescing to the indignity to which Rice subjected her.
We live in a weird era. It’s very en vogue to speak of women’s strength, and women’s options, and women’s worth. But rare is the opportunity when anyone requires any accountability from women.
This story goes to show, alas and again, that the whole of the go-girl culture is a sham.
Mande Wilkes is a wife, mother, businesswoman, author, etc. residing on the South Carolina coast with her family.