Everyone has an opinion on the Janay Rice abuse situation. And yes, it is the Janay Rice situation at this point. This opinion piece is not about the NFL that turned a blind eye to protect their moneymaker. This is not about the man who displayed the utmost disrespect not only for a woman, but a human.
He spit on her prior to entering the elevator. He slapped her, at which point she “lunged” at him. That’s when he went Mike Tyson and knocked her out.
First off, people keep saying that she lunged, so he swung. I feel as though the language there suggests that she provoked the attack. Fight or flight might have kicked in, so he swung. Not the correct thing to do, but people will find a way to excuse that hit because of her actions.
A friend of mine posted a comment about an article that basically states that this is another situation that proves that black women are denied humanity in modern society. While I believe the statement is true based on gender and race inequality in America, I find the argument in the article leaves much to be desired.
But I digress.
I almost wrote a response on her facebook post, but realized there was more than simply saying, I disagree with your statement:
One thing that has been really bothering me about a lot of the articles supporting/defending those on the receiving end of domestic violence is this discussion of Janay specifically but more generally Black women or even all abuse recipients staying because they don’t have the resources to get out. Where’s the journalist coming forward and listing first defense resources, like what happened with suicide hotlines and nearly every Robin Williams article? Where is the DV resource stepping forward and saying, specifically, that they don’t know if he is getting help and they are genuinely working through it, but if she wants to leave or needs any other help, they understand and are equipped to handle her specifically, what with all the publicity? Is it even possible? If she is reading any of these so-called supportive articles, she may, in fact, feel like she has even fewer options for escape now.
I think comparing the suicide hotlines in Robin Williams articles is comparing apples to oranges. People had information regarding therapy and rehab, suggesting that he was depressed and battling demons while he was still alive. Stories rarely offered the resources, just saying to the general public, “Hey, this is happening.”
Much like this case. Sadly, few options are offered before someone has died. Think of the town in which you live. There is at least one incredibly dangerous intersection, correct? Mothers, fathers, good neighbors looking out for each other write to town officials asking for a stop sign or traffic light to be installed. Notice how nothing gets done until at least five people or children are killed by reckless drivers? Time and time again, solutions don’t come to mind until there is referential cautionary tale that involves a death.
I have a cautionary tale of spousal abuse. Undoubtedly others can think of one or more. The only reference I’ve seen is that of adult-film star Christy Mack and MMA fighter “War Machine.” And that did not get even a quarter of the media attention that the Rices have received. I believe that is about male profession glorification in this country. America idolizes athletes, namely football players (how many times have football players from high school to the NFL been defended in anything from sexual assault of a minor to domestic violence), and dismisses females who have less praised professions.
Back to Janay. I don’t believe that there is any part of her that feels that she has fewer options because of the media attention. Her options have always been there. Undoubtedly her family and friends came forward after the initial release of this information, but she made her choice, and they let her. What can you really do when a grown woman tells you what she wants? I bet they showed up to that wedding a month after the crime. Either way, we do not know what was available back then, nor do we know now. It is all a matter of what she chooses to do.
Yesterday she posted this to her instagram:
The point is Janay Rice does not seem to want to leave, for whatever reason. This does not make her less of a victim of domestic violence, nor that people should just say “oh well” because she’s still there. Her husband is a criminal. But to Janay, he is still her husband. Maybe he will change. Maybe he already has. Maybe he will spend the rest of his days making up those few moments up to her. Maybe he’s livid at her for being the tangible reason his career is over. Maybe he is going to kill her.
Maybe her words are that of a true, frightened victim. Maybe her words are that of a woman who stayed for the money. Maybe her words are that of a woman who is privately seeking counseling and working on a marriage. Maybe her words are that of a woman who is devising an escape plan and does not want her husband to know.
No one knows what is going on at home between Janay, her husband, and their daughter. We have to believe that she is making a decision for herself, regardless of it being healthy or safe. There are options available of which she is undoubtedly aware. We are merely outsiders giving opinions and advice that was never sought.