Domestic Abuse & The Ray Rice Story: Inside The Mind Of A Victim
by Lizzy Smith
September 11, 2014
So Baltimore Ravens football star Ray Rice knocks his wife, Janay, unconscious in an elevator. When the door opens, he drags her limp body out of it. While the released video does not include audio, the Associated Press claims that a higher quality version shows the couple screaming obscenities at each other and Janay spitting on Ray before he punches her. The NFL suspended Ray indefinitely. End of a football career? Could be.
And where is Janay in all of this? She’s defending her husband. On Instagram, she wrote: "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 ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is a horrific (sic)." And "no one knows the pain that the media & unwanted opinions from the public has caused my family. [We will] continue to grow & show the world what real love is."
In March, a grand jury indicted Ray on a third-degree aggravated assault charge. A simple assault charge against Janay for attacking Ray was dropped. The two were married the day after the incident occurred (that’s no typo!). A few months later, they spoke to reporters at a press conference.
"I do deeply regret the role that I played in the incident that night," Janay said. "I love Ray, and I know that he will continue to prove himself to not only you all, but the community, and I know he will gain your respect back in due time.”
As I watch and read about this story and talk about it with friends, their comments have ranged from, “Why the hell is she staying?” to “Well she did spit on him…” to “I don’t feel sorry for her. He’s hit her before and she stays so she deserves it.” Having lived and escaped an abusive marriage myself, my feelings are different. I feel deep sorrow. Because no one ever aspires to finding a husband or boyfriend that will beat her. No, it happens on accident and all too often, when it does, the victim feels defensive of anyone who criticizes her mate and powerless to leave him. It’s a very strange position to find yourself in, trust me. And it makes no sense to the onlooker, either.