I was that girl
She sits alone thinking about what happened the night before. She can’t seem to wrap her head around what makes him so angry. She knows that she should have left him a long time ago, but she feels obligated to stay be-cause in her mind he does work hard to take care of their home, and she believes that he loves her, because he always apologizes, buys her roses, and tells her that he would do anything for her, even if it meant that he had to give up his own life.
I know this story well because I was that girl. I married someone that I thought that I would be with forever. He was everything that I thought that I wanted and needed at the time; he was good looking, charming, and knew exactly what to say, and when to say it. Our courtship was everything that little girls dream of, and on the day of our wedding I felt like I was the luckiest girl in the world. I had no idea that the man that I had just married would begin beating me after only four months of marriage, or that I would allow it to continue for three and a half years.
Why am I choosing to talk about this at this particular time? I realize that as a columnist, I do have a platform that I absolutely have to stand on if that means that I can help save a life, or more specifically help to end the cycle of abuse. It is important that I let my readers know that if they are in an abusive relationship it is okay for them to step out of the shadows.
The Ray Rice situation and the way that the NFL has chosen to deal with it is deplorable at best, and at this point I really don’t care if, or even when, they saw the full footage of Rice dragging his then fiancé’s limp and motionless body out of an elevator like she was some sort of a rag doll. The bottom line is that the organization sent the much distorted message that they care more about whether or not their players light up a blunt than they do about those who beat the literal crap out of their spouses and girlfriends for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
No matter how you look at it the league just looks bad, and the extraordinary level of ineptitude that runs rampant throughout the organization is absolutely astounding, and if you happen to be a true lover of the game like I am, maddening. No man has any business putting his hands on a woman EVER, but in the case of Rice, this is a man that punched the mother of his child in the face so hard that he knocked her out cold, and the incident is handled as though it was some sort of a publicity blunder that they, the NFL, needed to handle.
To the powers that be in the NFL, let me be the first one to school you on a few things-when one of your players makes the choice to engage in an act as wretched and violent as the one that Rice did, the situation has gone far beyond the level of a simple public relations blunder. What Rice did is criminal, and in many states in this country the extent that he released his rage could be classified as a felony.
I understand that people get upset and angry, and people tend to make mistakes when they let anger get the best of them, but after looking at the tape of Rice dragging his now wife out of that elevator, I can’t help but wonder how long he has been beating her. There is nothing on that tape that leads me to believe that this was Rice’s first time beating, or perhaps even knocking his wife out.
Rice acted as though it was no big deal, there was no show of care or concern on his part as evidenced by the way that he handled her. Even more disgusting than the callous lack of regard for a fellow human being, Rice did not even have the decency to cover his wife’s exposed body, which further displays his extreme level of disrespect for her. Anyone that can display such an elevated level of callousness, and disregard for another human being is in need of some serious psychological evaluation and help because if he is capable of committing an act as vile as the one caught on that elevator camera, we all need to be asking ourselves just how far he will go if his but-tons get pushed again. How would the NFL have handled this situation if Mrs. Rice had died as a result of Rice’s actions?
The thing is, no one can, predict what might set off an abusers violent rampage, contrary to the thinking of many, and the abused does not necessarily have to say or do anything to engage his or her abuser. One of the worst beatings that I ever got was because I stopped off at Winn Dixie to pick up some meat to cook for dinner after work and I arrived home at dusk. I was not allowed to be outside of my home once the street lights came on under any circumstances. That is the level of control that my husband had over me.
People need to know and fully understand that the abuser engages in violent acts against other people or animals because they have demons of their own that they need to deal with. People also need to understand the correlation between fear and rage, be-cause once that relationship is understood between the two, it becomes clear to see how someone like Rice could en-gage in such cowardly behavior.
Domestic violence is a complex problem, and a subject that is much too deep for me to even begin to tackle in this piece, but I am committed to sitting down with Natasha Dowdy Gordon, and giving her an exclusive interview. My hope is that by me coming out and sharing my story, that it will encourage more women to come out of the shadows, and I pray that I can play some small role in helping abused women all over this country regain a sense of control, and take their lives back.
In the meantime, I would love to hear from any of my readers who may be dealing with domestic violence themselves, or who may know of someone who is. You can contact me at my home paper The Westside Gazette, or you may email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. For even more Sensible Sue’s Rhetoric you can also follow By blog. Until next time, take care of you, and let’s all work on being good to each other.