Let’s name an uncomfortable truth… The most violent institution, second to the military in times of war, is your home. The rate of domestic violence is alarming but even more so, that the skin has been pulled over our eyes blinding us to the reality that this problem exists in such high numbers.
When we name this as a domestic issue, we mean that these crimes are committed in the privacy of the home and are highly isolated from the outside world. Domestic violence is a family secret often leaving survivors gasping for water on this desert island they are trying to escape.
Domestic violence does not discriminate and has a grip on every community, socio-economic class, and race. It doesn’t care who you are, how much money you have, or what your status is in the community. Stand in line at any grocery store on a Sunday afternoon and chances are someone next to you has survived domestic violence, is currently being abused, or may even be the perpetrator.
One major reason we have been duped to believe that families are all safe zones fall to the classic story of the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. Conscious or not, perpetrators of domestic violence have two goals:
Obtain power and control over the household. This can be achieved physically, emotionally, psychologically, economically, and technologically.
Once you leave the house, be a Saint. Smile. Volunteer. Be a leader. Don’t give anyone a reason to believe you could be so cruel.
Let’s take this example of a Family Court Judge in Texas who was caught on tape abusing his adolescent daughter. Trigger warning – this is a disturbing video. Once you get past the trauma of the situation, what is most absurd is the fact that the media began a dialogue to define if this was actually abuse or not. Teaser… this Texas judge is an abuser (…although an abuser who after a one-year suspension, returned to the bench). No doubt a wolf, the man is hidden behind his white skin, male privilege, and the prestige of a Judge’s desk. But let’s not be fooled. This man is sick and lucky his actions were even under debate.
Domestic violence is not an issue delegated to poor, wife-beater-wearing-trailer-parkers. It is often a he/said, she/said battle that highly prestigious men get away with because of their celebrated status in the community.
Enter Ray Rice.
Ray Rice became a household name across the country not because he helped lead the Baltimore Ravens to a 2012 Super Bowl, but because of a caught-on-tape incident when he punched his then fiancé (now wife) in the face. He knocked her unconscious, and dragged her out of an Atlantic City elevator with what looked like, ease.
This subsequently led to the a 2 game suspension by the NFL who was so highly critiqued for their poor handling of domestic violence issues among players, it led to an updated and revised Personal Conduct Policy for all NFL employees. Although there are many NFL athletes who are still playing and paid despite domestic violence charges, this incident earned Ray Rice the role of NFL-domestic-violence-poster-boy.
So why am I bringing this up now?
After 1-year off the field, Ray Rice is now vetting himself back into the NFL. However, to date – no team wants him.
In this recent Outside the Lines interview, Rice makes a case for himself as a “rehabilitated man” as he explored his personal growth, support of domestic violence survivors, and desire to earn himself a second chance to return to football.
The problem is, Rice claims this was a one-time incident and that he has never before hurt his wife. For an act so violent, this may be hard for anyone to believe. In fact, the literature out of Austin’s SafePlace states:
Myth: Domestic Violence is usually a one-time, isolated occurrence due to anger or stress.
Truth: Battering is a pattern of control that includes the repeated use of a number of tactics…
So this begs the question… Was this a one-time event, or did Ray Rice just get caught? As the public trial of Rice continues, it is our burden to consider.
The clock is ticking down and NFL teams are at the goal line on 4th down as they contemplate this risk…
Is Ray Rice a pardonable sheep, or a wolf that will always need to be tamed?