Friday 19 January 2018
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Victimizing the Victims of Domestic Violence

One good thing that has come out the Ray and Janay Rice domestic incidence story so far is the national focus on the evils of domestic violence. Americans are talking about domestic violence in high and low places now and everybody seems to agree that domestic violence is a terrible evil. Even at that, whatever simpathy that the victims of domestic violence has gained from this unfortunate incidence is only for the immediate victims of demestic violence and often at the expense of their children, their parents and their friends.

Nobody stops to wonder whether Ray Rice who is villified today may have been a victim of domestic violence himself many years ago. What if Ray Rice watched his father or step father or his mothers boyfriend beat up on his mother while growing up? What if thats the only way that Ray Rice knows to relate with a woman. Would that not make Ray Rice a victim too?

Mind you I am not suggesting that this justifies Ray Rice because any man who is raised his hands on a woman, knocks her out cold and drags her around as we saw on that elevator video is a monster that needs to be tamed. I am only saying that this monster did not make himself and domestic abuse is often deeper than what we can see.

I heard some commentators and experts criticising Janay Rice for standing up for her husband. That reminds me of how the same experts criticised Senator Hillary Clinton for standing by her husband Bill Clinton during the Monixa Luwinsky incident. What the so called experts are forgetting is that there is so much emotions involved in here, so many years of memory and history for anyone to get up and leave without consequnces. What they are not factoring in is that Janay and Ray Rice did never sat down and planned that they will argue in the elevator and that Ray will knock Janay out in the elevator.  

Finally none of the so called experts wonder whether Janay Rice saw her mother take a beating from her father or step father without leaving them. I am not saying that this two scenerious are in fact the case but if this was the case, will that not make both of them VICTIMS of domestic violence too. 

Which takes me to my next question. What should we do when someone close to us, someone in our extended family, our church, our neighborhood or community is being abused? Are we being fair when we join the media frenzy in analysing their actions? Is it enough to call the police and Child Protective Services to report the matter? Is it enough to tell your friend or family member who is being abused to leave her husband of many years and the father of her children? Do we need to pause for minute and ask ourselves, “where will this woman and her three children go?”

Should our moral compass guide us beyond referring a victim of domestic abuse to Star of Hope or the Women shelter? Will it not be nice to follow up and find our how the woman and her children are doing? Do we need to be more sympathetic if she is reluctant to leave her home of many years to  a transitional shelter?  

Should we have a gentler more understanding stance toward the victims of domestic violence. I think we are obligated to show love and extend care beyond words of encouragement. Until we show love and extend care, people like Janay Rice will continue to find it hard to leave the person who is abusing them. Until then, people like Ray Rice will hold back from abusing their victims and even go for counseling just to get their job back. Fewer victims will report their abuse for fear of being turned into a national shame and ridicule. I believe that its time to pray for victims of domestic abuse, but its about time we help them