Sep 9, 2014

Ray Rice: A Lesson in Accountability

I have so much to say about Ray Rice that I'm not quite sure where to start.  His current situation is a sad and an unfortunate one.  His relationship with his wife is now under the microscope for all the world to see and his future is uncertain.  But that latter point may be a good thing.  He needs a break and to step away from the normal everyday because he and his wife have a ton of work to do on their relationship with each other and the child they share together.

I have a huge issue with the coverage of this incident.  Media has labeled his wife a victim and him a batterer.  And while those descriptions may be legally true - he agreed to a plea deal offered by the Atlantic County prosecutor that included probation, anger management training and no jail time in May - they do not convey the truth of the incident that was captured on video.  Both Ray Rice and his wife, Janay Palmer, were accountable for the events of that night.  Palmer hit Rice several times prior to the blow thrown by Rice that subsequently knocked Palmer unconscious.  The fact that there is not one analyst that I've seen on the various media outlets speaking out and sharing the opinion that domestic violence is a two way street and that no one, not even a woman, should be hitting a loved one (or someone you are in a romantic relationship with) is just sad.  It keeps alive a stereotype that has existed for way too long.  I've always held the view that you don't put your hands on another person and assume that they will not hit you back.  It's ludicrous to do so.  The assumption should always be that the person, whether they are male or female, young or old, may turn around and hit you back.  I've heard too many stories of women hitting men with their fists, shoes, a car - yes, a car - and are shocked when the man retaliates and hits them back.  It's a double standard that has to be changed.

I've been hit by a man before.  I was hit by a total stranger one night in a party because I turned down his invitation to dance as I was walking out of the nightclub.  I wasn't nasty to him but my answer of no was just not what he wanted to hear so he decided to slapped me in the face.  I was mortified and wanted blood and this man was about 6'3" and 190-200 lbs. while I stand at a generous 5'4" and was about 125-130 lbs at the time (I was in my early 20s).  Now although I had no chance of winning any fight with this man, I wanted with all my heart to hit him back - and hard!! So just imagine what a man must feel when a woman who is most likely smaller and weaker than him hits him repeatedly?  What do you think they are going to want to do?  It's unreasonable to think that a man should continuously be chivalrous when a woman is nowhere near ladylike.

I wish Ray Rice and Janay Palmer the best and they are truly in my prayers.  They have a daughter to raise together, a new marriage to try and salvage and no matter what the outcome of their relationship, lives to live.  We as a society should be asking for an end to domestic violence while keeping in mind that the instigator of that violence can either be male or female and the abuse can be of a physical, mental or emotional nature as well.

Let's get smart and be objective about this issue and tough issues like this.  It's the only way they will truly be solved.  Whether or agree or disagree with me, I welcome your comments below.


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