Love doesn’t hurt

So much of the media coverage the past several days has been centered around Ray Rice and the details of his domestic violence case. About how they’re married now, or that his wife dropped the charges. I’ve seen a lot of talk about how smoking weed can earn a player a one-year suspension, but Ray Rice’s original suspension was only two games. So many people are talking about this, but so little is being said.

We need to instead discuss the right things, which is that this man hit his then fiancee so hard, she actually fell unconscious. Any other circumstances about the incident are irrelevant. I’ve heard people mention that she was spitting at him, that the attack was provoked, and that is not an excuse. There is NEVER a reason for a man to hit a woman that way.

For the most part, I know little about this situation: the complexities of their relationship, the character of Ray Rice. I hadn’t even known that the second part of the video (where he removes her body from the elevator after she is unconscious) had been circulating around the Internet since February.

The latest in this saga is that the NFL commissioner has come under scrutiny for denying having ever seen the video footage of Rice crash-landing his fist into Janay Palmer’s head. Whether or not he is lying about that is irrelevant to my point, which is that he saw the other part of the video and did nothing. In fact, what most people assumed when viewing this video out of context, is that she had too much too drink and had passed out in the elevator. And so for seven months Janay lived alone with this, and Ray Rice went about his usual life.

The problem I’m seeing here is that I know what it looks when a man tends to a drunk woman, and I know what it doesn’t look like. We all know, and yet everyone who saw this video ignored the glaring warning signs of what was really going on.

More sickening to me than the punch itself is the way he dragged her seemingly lifeless body from the elevator with such nonchalance for her well-being. Had this been a one-time act of violence, an angry lashing out, he would have reacted differently. He’d have been shocked by his own behavior. He’d have knelt down by her side to check on her. He’d have called her name, yelled for help. And when it came time to move her, he would have done so in a way that didn’t appear that she was nothing to him but an embarrassing inconvenience. He didn’t cradle her in his arms, or stay with her in the elevator until she came around. No, he hurriedly dragged her body, haphazardly, clumsily, until finally growing too frustrated to continue. And he left her there, splayed out on a tile floor in a compromising, undignified position.

Regardless of whether NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is being honest in his statement that he hadn’t seen the video of Ray Rice physically beating Janay Palmer, he admitted to having seen Rice drag Palmer from the elevator and didn’t feel compelled to act. In my opinion, he, we all missed the mark. Every person who viewed that video, assessed the situation, and did nothing.

Three women die every day as a result of domestic violence. THREE WOMEN DIE EVERY DAY AS A RESULT OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. This number is shocking, and that’s only the women who die. One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes, and this violence is beyond the physical assaults and rapes by domestic partners, it’s also psychological, economical. It’s about asserting control, showing dominance, belittling their victims so that these women come to believe they deserve it. Domestic violence is a silent oppression that often lands women in situations where they’re socially isolated, estranged from their families and have fewer social and financial resources than other women. I could go on and on about the statistics, because they’re out there, and they’re shocking. But the issue we need to be focusing on is how domestic violence spans beyond the physical hitting. Sometimes abuse doesn’t look like a knockout punch in an elevator. Sometimes it looks like a man making careless attempts at springing his fiancee’s unconscious body from an elevator, only to leave her on a dirty floor, cold and alone and requiring medical attention. And it’s our responsibility, everyone’s responsibility, to recognize it and to never, ever stand for it.


If someone is hurting you, don’t be ashamed, don’t stay a victim. You are worthy, you are loved, you are important and you are not alone. It’s okay to ask for help.



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