Janay Rice Interviews & Domestic Violence
Janay Rice Today Show Interview:
After watching the video of NFL football player Ray Rice punching his fiancée in an elevator and seeing the same woman, who is now his wife accompanying him to recent court hearings and giving her support; I do not think I would be able to do the same if I were in her position.
I would not want to marry a man who feels he has the right to fight me like we are characters in the Mortal Kombat video game. I do not know if I could stand side by side with him and support him if he dragged me out of an elevator like an insignificant rag doll; not showing concern for me while I was unconscious on the floor. Nothing in that video is worth defending. Regardless of the level of anger or intoxication, abuse is not acceptable in a relationship.
Of course, I am not her shoes or in their relationship. Since this video has gone viral, people will continue to have their opinions about it. This situation is so much more than this specific couple, it is about what some women and men in toxic relationships go through. Ray and Janay Rice are not the faces of domestic violence, but this unfortunate situation has reopened the dialogue on this issue and temporarily placed them at the forefront.
I read Janay Rice’s written response on ESPN and I also saw her recent interview on the Today Show. It further boggles my mind that she defends him. I do not agree with the idea of “standing by your man” in media interviews especially when he clearly has done something reckless or horrible towards the woman he is in a relationship with. Sure there are instances when it makes sense to support your significant other, but seeing Janay Rice sit there and defend Ray Rice’s actions is ridiculous to me as a woman.
All I saw was a woman trying to deny the obvious: whether this was a one-time occurrence or not, she is a victim of domestic abuse. Janay Rice putting the blame on herself and excusing her husband’s actions is a warning sign. He made the decision to strike her; he had the choice to take a step back and he opted not to. She should not hold herself responsible for a grown man’s reactions; a grown man who was clearly the aggressor in the video and should deal with the consequences of his actions.
Also by saying that she did not watch the entire video herself, she is trying to ignore that this situation has happened (which is her right) and is under the notion that anyone who has seen the video should automatically erase it from memory. However, this incident was not just a simple mistake and everything is not rosy. Continuing to defend her husband’s abusive actions and to stay with him is her choice, but I feel that no one should have to be put in that position. I just hope for her and her child’s sake that she made the right decision. I also hope that other women or men who are in similar situations or worse do not follow suit because not everyone is lucky enough to escape abuse without small or great injury.
Because of this, I am still perplexed as to why someone, woman or man can stay with a person who mistreats them once or even on an everyday basis. No one knows what goes on behind anyone’s closed door. People’s relationships are their own business; however abuse should not be a private matter because someone is being harmed and the situation has the ability to worsen especially for the abused. Not enough is done to prevent this behavior and there are individuals who are killed because of it. Domestic violence is a pattern that keeps repeating until the victim or the abuser breaks it. I do not know if this is what is happening with Janay and Ray Rice, but the incident raised concern and should.
No one should accept physical, mental, emotional, or financial abuse from anyone. The person who is being abused needs to realize that this is the kind of relationship that they are part of and they have to decide what to do about it. Life is too short to be miserable and no deserves to be treated in this way. People have the power to change their circumstances if they choose to. For those who are abused, running away seems daunting because they are under their abuser’s control and abusers often do not understand that they need to seek help to change their violent behavior.
It is up to society to set up the parameters to alter the way that domestic violence is viewed i.e. giving even more support to the abused and to stop the actions that make it prevalent i.e. not creating excuses for abusers or abusive behaviors. Educating our society about domestic violence and speaking out when cases appear in the media is one way to influence a cultural change where victims do not have doubts about coming forward and reaching out for help.
The two-game suspension that the NFL initially gave to Ray Rice and elevating it to an indefinite suspension once the full video was shown sent a message that this behavior is not acceptable. I wish that the initial response was the indefinite suspension. I do commend Ray and Janay Rice for trying to resolve their personal issues and speaking publicly about it. Something like this is not a quick fix and I hope for his family’s sake that Ray Rice is being sincere about making amends. And although Ray Rice went on to appeal the NFL’s decision and in November, that decision was rescinded, the suspension was still the right action to take.
The NFL revised their conduct clause in December because of this issue and cases that were happening with other players off the field. This incident should set a precedent for other athletes or individuals in general and force people in our society to speak more about abuse. There are people especially women who have survived domestic violence while others are currently struggling in silence. Those who are suffering should not have to deal with this battle alone and those who are survivors or who seek to help those affected should continue to address this issue so that domestic violence can cease.