In the Ray Rice domestic violence incident, his wife Janay was brutalized thrice over. He faces condemnation for being a wife-beater and an abuser of his spouse. Make no bones about it – what he did was a despicable and cowardly act that needs to be condemned in the highest possible way. Everyone should stand up and take notice. However the real victim of the whole saga is Janay Rice whose suffering a lot of people cannot even begin to understand.
She suffered first when the violence originally happened. Being hit like that by a full grown athlete in his prime was painful and one of the most humiliating things that could ever happen to a woman. When the man who said he loved her, indeed one to whom she was engaged, brutalized her in that elevator it must have hurt her physically and psychologically. That was the first blow to her person, her body and her pride. That she was not in a position to do anything about it and had no real recourse speaks volumes about justice and fairness in American society. For complex psychological reasons that are difficult to explain, she decided to still go ahead and marry the man that hit her so badly that she lost consciousness.
The second blow is when the information became public and the video was seen by people all over the world. Some had the reaction was that she was nothing but a gold-digger who decided to marry an abusive bully because of the money that he made and because of his position in society. Some felt compelled to point out that she put her safety and possibly that of her children on the back burner and went forward with the nuptials to wed this sorry excuse of a man. This type of commentary poured in from both men and women, across the racial divide and from a veritable cross section of American society.
When the information was further disseminated and her husband was punished for his act, she did what many married women have done – she stood by her man. Just as the spouse of an adulterous politician stands by her man – in public at least – Janay did what she may have thought was expected of her. She urged the public to try and respect the couple’s privacy and not cause them any more pain than they already had suffered. However, no one listened. She was now even more condemned and had all manner of verbal and written barbs thrown at her – the third blow.
Janay Rice continued to suffer for the sins of her husband with widespread condemnation, and she has been brutalized thrice over after committing no crime. She is an innocent victim in all of this. Janay Rice – and every other woman that suffers domestic violence in America today – deserves support, care and understanding, not condemnation. The real condemnation should be targeted at the only real perpetrator – Ray Rice and no one else.
Opinion by: Rebecca Savastio