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She went back for more, didn’t she? Must not have been all that bad.

You can bet your bottom dollar I wouldn’t have stayed.

Ain’t no way on God’s green Earth I would have gone back to that monster. Anybody can see he’s a no good, sorry butt, two-bit, good for nothin’ snake.

He may hit me once, but it will be the one and only time he hits me!

If he ever hits me, 911 will be picking him up in a body bag.

What’s wrong with her?! If a man ever lays a hand on me, there ain’t no way I’ll go back and give him a chance to do it a second time.

She’s not as strong as me, because if it was me, that S.O.B. wouldn’t see daylight to do it again.

She must have liked the way he treated her, that’s why she went back for more.

I’ve heard all of those comments. In another lifetime, I may have made a couple of them. But not anymore. The truth is, you don’t know what you would do until you find yourself in the situation. Even then, you’re in disbelief….and you may be confused about what to do. It’s easy to sit with friends and discuss what we would or would not do if we found ourselves in an abusive situation. Most of us believe we know how we would react….leave and never look back. And for some, that is precisely what they do. They file reports with the officials, they pack their belongings and they change direction. But for many, dare I say most,  it isn’t that simple or easy.

The dynamics of emotional and physical abuse are too varied to put into one neat, square box. The reasons a victim stays with an abuser can’t be easily explained. So, I won’t attempt to apply logic here, because to everyone except the one being abused, it is acutely illogical. Those who have experienced it, understand. Those who haven’t, can’t.

If you know someone whom you suspect is in an abusive relationship, offer your help in getting them to a safe place. Keep in mind though, it takes a while for many victims to reveal their secrets. You might believe a friend would eagerly leave her situation…. you may offer your home to her while her husband’s fist imprint is fresh and purple on her eye…and she may deny a fight ever took place. She will make excuses for him. She will probably blame herself and try to convince you to accept her as the faulty partner. Don’t allow her to do that to herself. Love your friend through her pain. But don’t judge her. Don’t ever make her feel judged. Because if you do, she will never open up to you. And she will try harder to make things right in the abusive relationship, because that, to her… in her confused state of mind… seems less painful than the condemnation of family and friends.

Incredibly, I’ve recently read a couple of Facebook comments, posted by women, who implied Janay Palmer Rice was deserving of what happened to her. When asked what she thought of the Ray Rice news, one woman said: “It’s bull because most money hungry women like a man to hit them so they can cause stuff like this”. She went on to say: “don’t get me wrong I’m not saying it’s ok to hit women because it’s not!!!!!I’m just saying some women like that so they can mess up they career”.  

What? A female said that? Yes. It’s an absurd, twisted thought process, but more common than you might think. When I was married, my abusive spouse couldn’t maintain employment. His mother accused me of continually getting him fired. Why would I do that? His lack of employment was always a source of embarrassment and humiliation. And it led to heated arguments. Feeding the family and paying utilities was a constant fight. Why would I interrupt his employment? I wouldn’t. My children were victims. I was a victim. But for some individuals, redirecting blame is second nature. It is easier for them to believe a person was provoked  by an innocent party than it is to believe the abuser is, at his core, an offensive person.

At the time of the elevator incident, we’ve all heard, Janay Palmer was engaged to Rice, later she married him. I believe they have a child together. Why then, would she want his career “messed up”? And when, I wonder, did she plan on messing it up? Was it while his fist was making contact with her cheekbone? Or while she was unconscious on the floor, being dragged by her feet out of the elevator? Or was it when Rice kicked her legs out of the way to allow the elevator doors to close? I can assure you it was never Ms Palmer’s intention to hurt her husband’s career, because to do so, she would be hurting her child and herself. I’m not even sure she was the one who reported the abuse. In all probability, and I say this with certainty, she was hoping this disaster would blow over without too many people hearing about it. Because, in her heart, she hoped it would be the last time it would ever happen.

It won’t be the last incident.

Rice may seem contrite in public today, but behind closed doors, he is blaming Janay for ruining his life. He will hold her accountable.

Rice will hurt his wife again. Of that, I’m certain. I hope she leaves him. If I could speak to her, I would tell Janay Rice that men like her husband never change. I would tell her his promises of change will sound more and more sincere, but they will get harder to believe; he (and she) will get better at hiding the abuse….. She won’t speak up for fear of what will happen, and her silence will enable him. I would tell her that he may go long periods of time without hurting her. During that time, her hope will grow and she’ll come to believe the pain and abuse inflicted by her husband was an unintentional foul in their relationship. Until one day, player misconduct rises again….but she’ll be the one penalized. In the meantime, she will lose more and more of herself. And the life lessons she teaches her daughter will be devastating to the little girl.

Ray Rice, Oscar Pistorious….these are the names we hear about. But there are so many others whose names are never mentioned on the nightly news or the morning headlines. Pray for those women, children and men. Learn the signs of domestic violence and emotional battering, and reach out when you can.  Mull this over….according to domestic violence experts, more than three women per day lose their lives at the hands of their partners. That means that since the night of the elevator knock-out punch, (February 15th), more than 600 women have died at the abusive hands of their partners.

One final thought….where are Sharpton and Jackson? Why aren’t they leading crusades and riots over the battering of women such as Janay? Are there any men who will crusade for battered women? Were Janay’s rights as a human being not defiled by a man in an elevator? I think she was unarmed.

Take Care,