Lessons From Ray Rice

Although everything in the news about Ray Rice is creating growing awareness about domestic violence I think it causes more damage than good. I am especially concerned with the damage this does to our teen and young adult population.
1. So many girls and women in unhealthy relationships have lowered the bar on what is acceptable. They will think that because their man never knocked them out cold with his fist that he is better than Ray Rice. So if he is not as bad as Ray he must be pretty good. They believe that because their boyfriend has never hit them that hard that he likely never will. They have no concept that this behavior gets worse and not better.
2. This normalizes it for boys. If Ray Rice did it what is the big deal? He was angry and had to defend himself. They rationalize the violent behavior. They fail to recognize that even though she hit him first that doesn’t make it acceptable for him to knock her unconscious with a fist. Did he really not recognize his own strength? Even if that is true that should be a lesson to every boy or man that an unawareness of your own strength can cause serious damage.
3. The fact that Janay married him is telling our kids that this is an acceptable way of dealing with an abusive man. There is a lot of talk about how Ray has admitted he was wrong. It is as if this is some heroic deed. Admitting you are wrong may put things in a honeymoon period but abuse is not a random thing. I have never known a story where a woman was hit just once and then any and all physical and emotional abuse ends. It just doesn’t work that way. It is a terrible cycle that often ends in a massive tragedy.

I can’t imagine any relationship lonelier than the one with an abusive man. No matter how great the good moments are, no matter how many apologies he delivers, no matter how much he says he loves you…it is abuse and it feels awful. Don’t let this story rationalize your relationship in any way. Being single is so much better than being in an unhealthy relationship. If you are afraid to be alone I can assure you that you already are.

Tell a friend, call a hotline http://www.thehotline.org/help/, get help and leave. If he is really remorseful and ready to change he will get help. But you can’t stick in the meantime.



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