I remember some time ago I wrote: ‘Being abused once is not easy. Being a victim of systematic abuse is even harder. The abuser’s weapon is to bring you down to a level that you don’t believe you are capable of anything good. By the time he completes his abusive ‘plan’ you will be in no mental or emotional state to even try to do anything about it.You might believe you are to blame or maybe he is too stressed from work and is taking it out on you or even that ‘it happened only once, he apologized so its over’. Unfortunately, it is far from over and women around the world should comprehend that. Leaving an abusive relationship is very difficult and sometimes it even seems impossible.’
To this day I still believe the statement above. For people who were lucky enough to not have been the victims of such abuse, the concept of ‘why I stayed’ seems impossible. They find it very hard to sympathise with those women or men; they wonder how can someone stay in a relationship where he/she is undervalued, neglected, beaten up and abused in any kind of way.
Raymell Mourice “Ray” Rice is a professional American football who is currently serving an indefinite suspension by National Football League. ‘On February 15, 2014, Rice and his fiancée Janay Palmer were arrested and charged with assault after a physical altercation at Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Celebrity news website TMZ posted a video of Rice dragging Palmer’s body out of an elevator after apparently knocking her out.
On March 27, 2014, a grand jury indicted Rice on third-degree aggravated assault, with a possible jail sentence of three to five years and a fine of up to $15,000. Rice married Palmer on March 28, 2014. For the incident, Rice was suspended for the first two games of the 2014 NFL season on July 25, 2014. The criminal charges were later dropped after Rice agreed to undergo court-supervised counseling.’ (Wikipedia)
In case you missed it – his then fiancee, married him; after he knocked her out unconscious. To many people this came as a shock. A few days ago, she released a statement on her Twitter account. She wrote:
“I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend. But to have to accept the fact that it’s reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that the media and unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing.
To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his a– off for all his life just to gain ratings is a horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get? If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow and show the world what real love is! Ravens Nation, we love you!”
So, why is Ms Palmer so blindly supporting her abusive husband? Why does she still stay? Some people speculate that she is scared, or that he has emotional control over her. Others, believe that ‘she’s being manipulated, perhaps to protect the Ravens franchise and Ray Rice’s career.’ (Glamour). These could be a small part of the many reasons why someone would stay in a violent relationship.
She doesn’t deserve our disapproval, our mockery or negative judgment. Victims of abuse need to feel supported not blamed. Domestic violence results in women feeling alienated, cut off, lonely and scared. We dont need to add to that long list of unbearable side effects. Her story should be one of strength and of survival and not suffering. For whatever reason she chooses to stay in this relationship we can only sympathise and hope that one day she will be free and working her way towards healing.
This is the life she has chosen (or not) for now. She could have a thousand reasons for staying – she might hope he will change. People on Twitter have verbally attacked her over that decision – how can this be better than what her husband did already? Offer kindness, comfort, wisdom, words of advice….. or nothing at all.
She might simply not realise that she is worth so much more than that.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE.