AN OVERSIMPLIFIED SOLUTION TO A VERY COMPLEX PROBLEM
By Liz Gunn || Making snap judgments on a subject as sensitive as domestic violence will get you nowhere. Or in some cases, it will get you exactly what you were looking for.
When Mande Wilkes wrote about Janay Rice, wife of abusive, former NFL running back Ray Rice, taking her share of accountability for the recent and widely publicized incident of domestic violence -what do you think she was after? Do you think she expected people to agree wholeheartedly and applaud for finally being the one to say it?
I think she expected to shock people with her brazen accusation that in fact Mrs. Rice should bear a lot of the blame for getting knocked unconscious by her then fiancé in an elevator. That through her own poor choices she put herself in that situation.
Well, Mande succeeded. Color me shocked, as well.
There were a few commenters who did actually agree with her, at least in part, although some of them backpedaled a little after reading more of the commentary.
It’s interesting; I try not to pay much attention to the comment section anymore, but for once some commenters actually provided some insightful and factual information regarding the psychology behind the battered housewife syndrome, and why it’s completely oversimplified to tell a victim to “just leave”. In South Carolina, some may call it an epidemic rather than just a syndrome.
“Of the total domestic violence homicides, about 75% of the victims were killed as they attempted to leave the relationship or after the relationship had ended.”
I learned the hard way writing in this forum that snap judgments on high profile news stories are great for clicks, page views and getting people all worked up. In the end though, I for one wished I had done more thorough research and presented all sides of the story more clearly.
There is a plethora of information and statistics readily available on domestic violence. There are a multitude of reasons that women stay in abusive relationships, ranging from fear to helplessness, none of which were mentioned in said article.
I don’t judge someone for asking the question, “Why would she stay?”, but to insinuate that Janay Rice is to blame for this occurrence is not only inflammatory but also dangerous.
What kind of message does it send when an accomplished, educated female says that this victim of domestic violence isn’t really a victim? What message does it send to abused women? To their abusers? To our sons and daughters?
Domestic violence is never okay, and in a perfect world women would leave the very first time a man even hinted at abuse, be it physical or otherwise. Unfortunately for some people it just isn’t that simple. For now, Janay Rice continues to stand by her abusive husband, and it is worrisome to me that she could be inadvertently encouraging other women in abusive relationships to do the same. I sincerely hope for her sake and the sake of their family, Mrs. Rice can find a safe path out of her current situation.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please be aware that there is help available. You can call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or click here for more information or to donate.
Liz Gunn is a wife, mom, author, businesswoman, travel enthusiast, food snob, fashionista, lover of great wine and the No. 1 Gamecock football fan … ever. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, she lives in Columbia, S.C. with her husband and daughter.