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Disclaimer: This is the sole view of Nikki Tucker, not Clutch Magazine.

After observing the physical altercation, which transpired between Ray Rice and then fiancée, I needed a moment to gather my thoughts. Domestic violence is such a touchy subject I did not want to fly off the handle, so to speak.

Here is what I observed: Janay was evidently upset about something. Ray struck her not once, but twice. As a result of the second blow, Janay’s head hit the railing and finally she collapsed to the floor seemingly unconscious. Ray, visibly unmoved, steps over the body and attempts to drag Janay. Security, who obviously watched the altercation transpired via the security system, was present not too long after the elevator doors open. Security also did not check to see whether or not Janay was cognizant of her where abouts.

Here’s my biggest issue. Janay could have suffered an acute (inability to stand or balance, confusion, small cuts or bumps, headache, nausea, temporary memory loss and/or ringing in the ear) to severe head trauma (bleeding from deep cuts or wounds in the scalp, loss of consciousness, abnormal eye movements, inability to focus the eyes, loss of muscle control, seizures vomiting, slurred speech or vision, etc). Ray was unconcerned to see if his fiancée, whom he loves and wants to marry, was alive.

After viewing the video repeatedly, I trolled social media. I stumbled upon one post that said something along the lines “leaving isn’t as cut and dry.” As a daughter who watched her mother endure domestic violence at a very young age, I completely agree. However, my issue with this statement is we say it so often as if it’s physically impossible to leave. Then I read all the hashtags that followed: #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft. I was nauseated, upset and angry. We have to stop reiterating it isn’t easy. Nothing in life is easy. Instead of focusing on how hard it is, let’s empower women to believe they can do anything and will survive anything.

My next issue is with the NFL. While many are praising the NFL for making an “example” of Ray Rice, I’m disgusted. Roger Goodell only decided to dish out a more severe consequence only after the video became public. You mean to tell me the NFL could not obtain a surveillance video from a casino? ESPN sports writer Jane McManus tweeted the NFL had access to the same evidence law enforcement had access to. The NFL only decided to take action as a mean to minimize bad press. Goodell and the NFL do not care or they would not have waited to indefinitely suspend Rice.

 

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* Long Sigh *

And lastly, Janay’s comment via Instagram. She blamed the media for making them “relive a moment” in their lives that they “regret every day.” I get it baby girl you don’t want to rehash a negative situation. However, is it the media’s fault that your then fiancée decided to put his hands on you? I’m not mad at Janay nor do I judge her decision to stay. I’m actually worried. Yes, there are those rare incidents when a man makes a genuine mistake and vows to never make that mistake again. The couple never becomes physical again and goes on to lead a happy and loving life. However, in most instances that’s not the case.

In my opinion, the lack of concern portrayed by Ray Rice exhibited something more disturbing. It was as if it was just another day in the Rice household. Like nothing about this situation was bizarre. Like he knew his fiancée would be okay, because she has endure a hit or two before and she’s always bounced back. And if this was their first physical altercation, I felt like the hit was a warning sign. Like he was saying mess with me again.

Unless TMZ obtains audio to the visuals we will never know what happened. What I do know is we cannot just say it isn’t easy to leave. Too many women lose their life as a result of domestic violence and it’s time we begin to lobby for stricter laws that will do more than just give an “order of protection.” I get it. A piece of paper does not make you feel comfortable enough to leave. God forbid he has law enforcement on his payroll. America we have to do better as a country. We have to stop shooting down innocent children and allow women to feel safe.

Again no one wants to be viewed as a victim, so we cannot judge Janay’s decision. We can only make it known to little girls across America that this is NOT okay!

 

Author’s Note: I want to clarify I was –and still am—nauseated, upset, angry and hurt these women had to endure such behaviors. I am not upset by a victim’s choice to stay. I don’t place blame on these women. I understand they’re manipulated into staying. However, I remain adamant we have to discontinue reiterating the sentiment “it’s not easy to leave.” I am a firm believer you are what you believe. If we continue to repeat those beliefs, DV victims will continue to believe it. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. There is an adage I’m sure we all know: if you believe it, you can achieve it. If you believe it’s hard and simply impossible then it will be. But if you believe it’s possible then it becomes possible.

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  • MimiLuvs

    Okay… I can understand why there was a disclaimer for this post.

    The author had used an anecdote in her article, so I will use one of mine.

    I used to work in a shelter that housed women (who are survivors of abuse) and their children. I worked for the housekeeping unit. Even though I was there to clean up the “communal areas”, I had a lot of interaction with the women and their families. I also had interactions with the shelter’s staff. One of the staff members was a psychologist, who also was involved in an abusive relationship herself (for over twenty years). She told me that when a woman decides to leave her abusive spouse/significant other, it is a process. It is a process, especially when the abused is not financially independent, she has children and the environment that she is living in. I’ve spoken to women who were abused by their husbands… and they lived in a house with the in-laws. The in-laws knew about the abuse, but never intervene. They actually contributed to the abuse as well: by “chaperoning” the women, whenever the spouses weren’t home.
    Also, take in account of the abused’s support system: Are they willing to take this woman and her children in? Will this new environment become just as dangerous as the environment with the abusive ex? It has been said that the most dangerous time in an abused woman’s life is the time that occurs after she leaves her abusive ex. So, does her support system understand the ramifications of accepting this woman and her family into their home?

  • Jay

    I appreciated the #WhyIStayed/ #WhyILeft tweets. See, unlike the author not everybody is aware of the difficulties of leaving. Not everyone is aware that every situation has its own twisted complications. So it’s informative and important to understand that. But the author knows all and sees all, so her disgust of women in DV circumstances saying that it’s hard to leave is justified I guess… Or not. I’m sick and tired of people putting the onus on the women in most situations.

    She was drunk at a party so she was asking for it. Why was she dressed like that? She probably wanted it anyway. She must of said somethin’ slick. Did she hit him first? That’s what she gets of hitting a man. She didn’t leave him after he hit her? She’s a damn fool. Couldn’t be me. She gets what she gets. I don’t feel sympathy for her if she stayed.

    It’s a sick world when MEN AND WOMEN believe this ideology that the woman is always wrong. She’s always the slut or the whore or the thot. She’s always the “woman who can’t keep a man”. She always has to learn how to please her man. Act like a lady think like a man. She’s always the catalyst for some man’s tempertantrum that leads to his cruel and evil treatment of her. It’s crazy.

  • ALM

    I’m also worried about Janay’s physical health. She can’t keep sustaining injuries at Rice’s hand without their being some effect. Athletes are developing neurological disorders after playing sports, and an abused woman could also have neurological trauma from the abuse.

    People have suspected that this is exactly what happened to Tami Terrell. Tami died of a “brain tumor”, but it has been documented that she received multiple trauma injuries from abusive men.

  • Child, Please

    I figured this disclaimer was going to make me disappointed in the article. If she was trying to suggest we give more support to DV victims in guiding them out of situations like this (because surely she mustn’t think they can do it on their own), then this was a complete fail. This author’s experience with DV is unique, but I do wonder if she’s interacted with women who’ve been in DV situations aside from the one with her mom and the hashtags. I mean I would think actually doing the work MimiLuvs above has done would be a bit more effective than encouraging Jenay to leave on her own, which this article inadvertently does. I question whether the author would be so willing to use their own finances to support a mother looking to leave an abusive relationship along with her kid. Me thinks no. It was far easier to suggest that leaving is miles, leaps, jumps, hops, skips and bounds easier than staying. This is just sad.

  • Anon Question

    I know someone who was hit once. Just once. Her kids saw it happen too. She did not think it was enough to leave. She is still with him. Everyone around her pretends it never happened. Why don’t women understand ONCE is once too many? I avoid him and I am not sure that is the right thing to do. If anyone has advice but I can’t sit there and pretend this guy is a nice person. Am I not right to keep my distance from him. I love her but I cannot cosign what he did to her.

    • I would tread lightly! People can get very defensive where their spouses are concerned! I have a friend in a situation where she’s afraid to leave bc her spouse may get violent. I have the pleasure of not seeing him bc we live in different cities, but when I visit her, i keep it short and sweet with him. I don’t even acknowledge his presence except to speak when I enter their home. Eff him, even if she’s not ready to do it.

    • frenchkiss

      If you love her then let her decide if once is once too many. It’s her life and if she thinks life is OK with that man, why would YOU be angry in her place?