Domestic Violence: Personal Problem or Societal Issue?

Whether you are an NFL football fan or not, it has been hard to avoid the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal that has rocked the league. A video was released in February 2014 that showed Rice dragging his unconscious fiancé, now wife, out of an elevator. He received a two game suspension for domestic violence. Last week a video was released that shows what happened inside the elevator and Rice can be seen punching his fiancé in the face, knocking her unconscious. The NFL has now responded by giving him an indefinite suspension and he was released from his team, the Baltimore Ravens. The NFL has been under a lot of scrutiny in how they have handled the situation, especially since Rice was only initially given a two game suspension. To put it in perspective, players who are caught using a performance enhancing substance are given a four game suspension.
This past Thursday the Baltimore Ravens played at home and men and women alike wore his Jersey in support. It seems that the general consensus is that what Rice did was wrong, but that his punishment is extreme. I have also read several comments that suggest this was a personal matter and it should stay that way. His wife has spoken out in support of him which has also sparked suggestion that if she is over what happened than the rest of us should be too. Isn’t that the whole problem?
Domestic violence is not a personal issue, it is a societal issue. It is up to both men and women to take a stand against domestic violence, to say that no human being should be treated that way, to say that we can do better. There are always two sides to every story and often time’s domestic violence can go both ways. Both people involved deserve education and support so that they can learn different conflict strategies and make healthier decisions.
Unfortunately domestic violence is not a rare occurrence and coming up with stats can be challenging as it often goes unreported. This incident with Ray Rice and his fiancé has brought an underground topic out into the open. It is only when the attitude around domestic violence shifts that we will see any real changes. They say that it take a village to raise a child, do we want anyone in our village to be subjected to violence at the hands of their partner?
Stay tuned for next week’s post on information about abusive relationships and local supports you can access.
Danielle

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