Ray Rice, the NFL, and What We Know About Domestic Violence

Ray Rice, the NFL, and What We Know About Domestic Violence

no-excuseThe recent events and media coverage surrounding Ray Rice and the NFL have created a powerful swell of conversation about domestic violence. Many people are speaking outsharing personal stories, and calling for less victim-blaming and more accountability for abusers and their public enablers. While we are outraged by the stories we hear daily at the Hotline, we are heartened by the support of so many people who recognize that there is no excuse for abuse.

Often, a lack of understanding about the dynamics of abuse leads to misguided comments and notions about why victims stay with their abusive partners, or how domestic violence isn’t that pervasive of an issue (because it’s so often hidden from the public). At the Hotline, there are a few things we know for sure about domestic violence:

Domestic violence happens everyday, in every community. Studies show that domestic violence affects roughly 12 million people in the United States. However, abuse is often not reported, in many cases due to a victim’s fear or not knowing where to turn. Maybe you know someone – a friend, a family member, a coworker – who is experiencing abuse at home with their partner. Maybe you’re experiencing it yourself. Whatever the case, please know that help is out there.

Domestic violence does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or religion.

Domestic violence isn’t just physical abuse. The media tends to focus on physical abuse, but domestic violence includes emotional, verbal, sexual, and/or financial abuse.

Domestic violence is complex. Each person’s situation is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to domestic violence. There are many reasons victims stay in abusive relationships. What they need – what they deserve – are resources and support to help them find their own paths to safety.

Domestic violence is not the victim’s fault. The choice to be abusive lies solely with the abusive partner.

We believe that ALL people deserve to feel safe and respected in their relationships. If you or someone you know needs help, we are here to support you. Contacts to the Hotline are anonymous and confidential. Call us 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or chat here on our website Monday through Friday, 9am-7pm CT.

$20 covers the total cost of one phone call to the Hotline, and one phone call can be life-changing. If you would like to show your support for domestic violence victims and survivors with a donation, please fill out our secure online donation form. Thank you!

Comment section

9 replies
  1. Thank you for the work that you do. I had the opportunity to hear Katie Ray-Jones speak on the VAWA- Gun Violence panel this morning. All of the panelists made powerful presentations to a packed room. It is sad that it takes a video of an NFL player punching his wife to finally create a public conversation about intimate partner violence. Hopefully, this conversation will continue to provide opportunities for increased awareness and understanding of this problem.
    Please look at our documentary film in production: http://www.findingjennsvoice.com which examines intimate partner violence during pregnancy. I’d appreciate anything you can do to get the word out about our film. Thank you!

    1. Dear Tracy,

      Thank you for your comment. We are so proud of Katie at the Hotline. She is just AMAZING! You’re right, it is sad that the video of Ray Rice is what gets public conversation going regarding domestic violence. Our calls have increased all week but we are glad that people are reaching out for help. We also hope that this conversation provide more awareness about abuse. I did look at the preview of the film mentioned and it is excellent. Please let us know when the film is released.

      Hotline Advocate MT

  2. I am a survivor as well and run a domestic violence group on Facebook and have had given many members your number and your number is my back ground photo on my group and end the shame is my page on Facebook

    1. Lisa,

      Thank you so much for sharing with our blog community. It sounds like you are working so hard to raise awareness and help people heal through the trauma. A strong support system can make a huge difference for someone and I thank you for providing that.

      Keep up the awesome work!

      1. Yes being a victim my abuser shot stabbed took a baseball bat to my skull had 36 staples it was the death of Nichole brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman death to see if I didn’t get out I wasn’t gonna be alive to see today when I attended a survivor group I told my advacate I was gonna follow her footsteps and be a advacate spoke with her 2 months ago and surprisingly she remembered me that was back in 1998 and today I am the person I wanna be on a team as well

  3. A throat searing scream stifled;
    Begging, pleading, fear overwhelming pain.
    Battered heart and paralyzed mind,
    Isolated and deperate soul.
    Stumble through each day.
    Nightmare away each night.

    You cooked the eggs wrong;
    You used the wrong tone of voice;
    That provoked him;
    He had to hit me.

    You were at the store too long;
    You forgot the whiskey;
    That provoked him.
    He had to hit me.

    No friends, no phone — I provoke him.
    No opinions, no talk — I provoke him.
    No feelings, no needs — I provoke him.

    Why don’t I leave? Why do I stay?
    What if I provoke you and you and you?
    What if you hit harder than he does?
    What if there is no safe place?

    Tomorrow I will try harder.
    Tomorrow I will do better.
    Tomorrow I will please him.
    Tomorrow will be different.

  4. Why i abused my wife
    As we enter into National Domestic Violence Awareness month, i reflect back on my own personal story of abuse. Painfully. You see not only did i experience and witness abuse growing up, but after becoming seriously involved with my highschool sweetheart, i abused her before and during our marriage.
    So why, after seeing my mom mistreated, would i choose to mistreat, control, kick, choke, threaten, punch, rape and belittle the so called love of my life? Control and ignorance. Honestly, I did not know i was being abusive.
    Wait, before you get the lynches, hear me out.
    My name is Maurice [edit: last name removed] and i was born into a strict Christian household as both of my parents were preachers and ministers. I know this isn’t all that special as domestic violence inside Christian households is extremely common, but me and my siblings situation is slightly different than most. You see, not only is my mother a Christian minister, but she also works at a battered women’s shelter as a domestic violence counselor! There were many a night when my brother and I were younger, that we had to spend the evening in the back rooms of the women’s shelter, playing and passing the time till mom’s shift was over. Many were the times that my mother instructed me not to say a word to anyone after i would catch a glimpse of a classmate’s hung head and avoiding eyes while i was there. I grew up hearing about domestic violence and abuse but when we get home and my mom just rolls her eyes when my father yells at her and calls her stupid, the connection between the two was non existent to me. The name callings, the emotional putdowns, the threats, the financial control, the manipulation… my mom allowed it and it was the norm i thought. There are 2 times i witnessed my mom standing up against my father’s abuse. One time is when he hit her and she wrote him a note saying if he did it again she would take us and leave and the other instance, occured one Sunday morning while we were getting ready for church. My parents were having a disagreement within earshot of my older brother and i with father cutting mom off saying how she didn’t think enough. My mom saw my brother and I listening and turning to him replied: “They are going to remember everything you say and how you treat me Chris”. My father looked up from putting his sunday school book in his briefcase and his eyes went from me, to my brother, to finally back to my mom. “Dina, that’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever said” he answered non chalantly. I remember looking up at my mom’s face as she wore her long, pea green,ankle length dress and she just shrugged, not looking into my eyes.
    Do you know what kind of messge that sends to two young impressionable african american men? I’ll tell you what: that it’s ok. That there is a difference between physical abuse and non physical abuse and that if he/she doesn’t put their hands on you, it’s not abuse.
    Ten years later, both my brother and I grow up and abuse our girlfriends and wives. And when i mean abuse, i mean starting at the many forms of non physical until escalation occurs and physical abuse is chosen as means of control. I am a 23 year old newlywed and my wife doesn’t just roll her eyes when i call her stupid and yell at her- she talks back. Escalation ensues until she is lying, curled into a ball in the bathtub, trying to let the shower wash the bleach out of her hair and eyes. After hours of sweet talking and manipulation, i get her to “make up” saying how if she hadn’t have gotten me so upset and would have just listened, it never would have gotten to that point.
    May 2011, was the first time i ever saw the violence and control wheel. I found it folded in a folder Jess had brought back from a women’s shelter she had fled to 2 weeks earlier before i coaxed her back home. I remember opening it up and immedently feeling defensive as i admitted my behaviors matched up to many of those listed on the wheel. I was confused and angry..and ashamed as i thought back on all the times Jess yell at me that i was so controlling and i deriled her for turning it on me because I wasn’t controlling. She left me a few weeks later and i’m glad that she did. I chose to finally take responsibility of my abuse and no longer be ignorant of what tore my marriage apart.
    To this day, my father will not accept the fact that he taught his sons how to abuse and control a woman, or even acknowledge that his behavior is abusive. My mother still works at the battered women’s shelter and when i asked her why does she put up with it, she shrugged and told me “no marriage is perfect. If you only knew about couples at the church- some people have it worse…”
    While that may be true, it’s an excuse and justification. Abuse is abuse is abuse and ignorance is how it is piliferated. It’s not ok and it’s true- it rarely does stop.
    #whyibeatmywife #ignorance

    1. Dear Maurice,
      What an incredible letter you have written us. Thank you for sharing your story and your honest revelation about being an abuser. I can imagine it isn’t easy being honest about the ugly, violent treatment of your wife.

      We believe abuse is a choice. I am glad that you have chosen to move away from being that type of person. You’re absolutely right; abuse is about power and control. It is too bad that your Mom decided to stay in such an unhealthy relationship and give excuses and justifications for that decision.

      No one deserves abuse and we all deserve to be treated with love, respect and consideration. This is what a healthy relationship looks like. Please call us if you need any help with Intervention and prevention programs for abusers. The National Domestic Violence hotline number is (800) 799-7233.

      Hotline advocate MT

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