What Can We Learn From A Bad Situation?

Monday Sep 15, 2014 - BY Stacey

domestic-violence

Relationships are as unique as snowflakes – no two are alike. A therapist a long time ago said to me that in order to have a “healthy” relationship you had to have two independent people who then become interdependent. Friends and I have often joked that it’s about having “matching neuroses” and the fact of the matter is that the older I get the more I see how imperfect we all are as individuals – thus rendering our personal relationships even more complex and often difficult to maneuver.

The truly personal and private moments of all of us – especially that of celebrities!! – are now captured on security cameras that are placed what seems like everywhere.
NFL’s star running back, Ray Rice’s very private and disturbingly violent moment of him abusing his (now) wife in an elevator has been viewed and talked about by millions of people. Much can be learned from the private being made extremely public.

Domestic violence is all too rampant in our society – nearly one third of women in the U.S. have experienced it. Most cases are never even reported. Shame, embarrassment, fear – and many other reasons keep women (though occasionally it happens to men as well over 85% of DV victims are female) from telling others – particularly, the authorities.

I think what is even more perplexing to many, is WHY women stay in relationships that are abusive. Ray Rice’s girlfriend, who he knocked unconscious and then spit upon – married him a few months after the incident. Janay Rice, I’m sure has many reasons why rather than running away, she chose to run to a man who is did such a heinous thing to her. For many women, they witnessed their fathers beating their mothers. Others think that they can “fix” their man and help him. Fear of economic insecurity keeps other women by the side of an abusive partner. And others are afraid that by reporting the abuse or by leaving the relationship, they will be hunted down and killed. (Tragically, 16,800 homicides a year are due to domestic violence – so yes, they have every right to be afraid.)

The problem is the vicious cycle: boys who witness domestic violence are TWICE as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they grow up. Young innocent children are all to frequently also the victims of domestic violence – 30-60% of men who perpetrate violent acts on their wives also harm their children.
People who are in the public eye, making millions of dollars a year, are role models to countless others. If Ray Rice’s dirty laundry can be aired to help bring light to an area of real shame and darkness for many couples – than I say – show us your stuff and let’s get to work on this problem!

Sadly, Ray Rice’s wife isn’t alone – many successful athletes, singers (Chris Brown harming Rihanna) and other public figures have committed acts of domestic violence. And it’s not okay. These men need serious help – therapy and anger management groups. These men need to understand that just because they saw their dads abusing their mothers – that does not make it acceptable. The cycle MUST be broken somehow. Ray Rice can do a lot of good by getting help with his issues and then by spending the rest of his life helping others understand that it’s not okay and why. Those who come out the other side to true understanding can best help others; and once he gets helped, he can be an even more powerful role model than ever before.

As for the women out there who are suffering in silence and living in fear – please talk to someone and get to a safe place with a friend or relative until your man cools his hot head. You are not alone, but you also can’t let your children be witness to a bad situation and continue the cycle. There are countless hotlines and centers with counselors who can help. Get out and get help.