Recently the world has exploded and discovered that domestic violence is in fact a real thing. Out of nowhere, people have resurfaced conversations about domestic violence (they forgot it existed after the Chris Brown and Rihanna incident got old). Newsflash! This is not a new phenomenon. As much as I enjoy seeing domestic violence get the attention it deserves, I can’t ignore the folks that still think they have a right to know why Janay Rice decided to stay with Ray Rice. I’ve kept quiet about this because domestic violence and sexual assault education are a part of my daily life and I like to keep somethings separate from work. BUT, I can no longer remain silent. I’ve accepted the fact that I need to say something.
Here are some key facts:
- Every single day women are being abused and every single day they make the choice to stay.
- On average, it takes a woman SEVEN times to leave an abusive relationship.
- Physical violence is usually not the first incident of abuse. Most times, there is emotional, financial, sexual, and/or verbal abuse happening before someone becomes physically violent. (And yes, all of these are just as serious and harmful)
- Women stay in abusive reasons for MANY reasons.
Guess what…they don’t have to tell us why. Janay Rice did not HAVE TO make a public statement, her doing so was her choice. Her staying does not make her weak, stupid, dumb, or any other offensive thing people have called her. FEAR is the number one reason why a person stays in an abusive relationship.
We have to stop victim blaming. We have to stop asking “Why does she stay?”. The more important questions:
- Why did Ray Rice think it was cool to knock her out and drag her across the floor?
- Why didn’t Ray Rice value his partner and relationship enough to deal with conflict in an more respectful way?
- Why are we still excusing the violent behavior of athletes and entertainers?
- Why is it normal for a person to be held accountable and given repercussions at work if they are a drunk driver and hit someone, but not if they abuse their partner?
I could give a bunch of reasons why Janay Rice stayed, but I won’t because I don’t know. I don’t need to know. If you know someone in an abusive relationship and they stay, think about this:
If we all abandon a person and call them dumb or weak because they stay in an abusive relationship, that isolates them. It gives them the idea that they have no support. If they feel like they have no support, who might they go back to? Yup, the abusive partner. Instead of victim blaming, offer support and resources. Let the person know you are there for them and care about their safety. Be an ally, not a victim blamer.