As of press time, I am sure controversy will still be whirling around the NFL — i.e. What did the league honchos know about the Ray Rice incident and when did they know it?
That bothers me less than another aspect of the case: The fact that Janay Rice knew everything she needed to know about her then-fiancee, and knew it instantly, as soon as he belted her in the jaw in that Atlantic City elevator.
And yet, she still chose to marry the creep.
And, incredibly, she is defending him, and attacking the media for allegedly ruining her happiness.
I have nothing but admiration for people who counsel victims of domestic violence.
The prime reason for that being that I know I’d be incapable of offering such aid.
And the prime reason for that being that I am incapable of understanding why any woman would remain in an abusive relationship — be that abuse physical or emotional. (Yes, I know men are also the victims of domestic violence, but I am focusing here on my sex.)
I have heard a variety of explanations.
Some women don’t know any better. Having been raised in abusive homes, they think this is the norm. (The U.S. Department of Justice notes: “Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life – therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society’s next generation of victims and abusers.”)
Some women stay with a brutal spouse, or boyfriend, “for the sake of the children.”
Some have been brainwashed in a sort of Stockholm Syndrome manner. Some are completely financially dependent on their abuser. Some are simply afraid to leave. (Again, from the DOJ: Victims who leave their abusers are 75% more likely to be murdered.)
And some insist they still “love” the man who is assaulting them.
These may also be the reasons why such women are reluctant to even press charges against the abuser. New Jersey is one of the enlightened states that no longer requires a victim’s cooperation for the law to be enforced. Gone are the days when the beaten and bloodied victim could plead that the man with blood on his hands not be handcuffed and taken to the pokey.
In N.J., if police are sent to a domestic-violence call, and there is “evidence of an assault, it’s a mandatory arrest,” a source in law enforcement told us.
This is a step forward, but the assailant could still walk free.
“If the victim doesn’t show up in court,” the source told us, “most likely the charges will be dropped.”
I don’t know the statistics, but I bet a lot of victims don’t show up.
Now, I must admit, this column is being written in virtual ignorance. I have not been the victim of domestic violence. Despite the reasons cited above, I cannot comprehend why any woman would stay with a man if he even raised his hand to her. I, or he, would be out the door in an instant.
Also, I have known only one such victim in my life (unless others have kept it hidden). And I met her long after she had left her abusive husband. Left him taking her three children with her. Left him not knowing where she would go or how she would live. Left him having no money of her own to speak of.
But she left. And built a happy life. So happy that it wasn’t until I had known her for years that I learned of her prior situation.
She is one of my heroines.
Janay Rice is not.
Ray Rice knocked her cold and dragged her body out of that elevator as if she were a bag of trash. And she defends him? What kind of message is she sending to other victimized women?
Her Instagram message, posted after the knock-out blow portion of the video was released and hubby was cut by the Ravens, blasts the media and the public for their “unwanted” opinions and ends thusly:
“THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get? If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is!”
What don’t you all get?
I don’t get any of it. At all.
But I can hope that the video of her being punched unconscious might just raise the consciousness of some other woman who might gain the will to free herself from abuse.
Help is out there. But you have to want help.
– Karen Zautyk