It wasn’t that bad.
He’s great with the kids.
I love him.
There are so many things that could be going through Janay Palmer’s mind. Just like we weren’t in the elevator that night we are not in her home or her mind. A situation that she and her husband Ray is trying to move past now makes her the poster girl for domestic violence awareness. She does not want this.
Janay – The Domestic Violence Victim
She was knocked out by her fiancé. And, she’s not alone. According to ClarkProsecutor.org, “Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States, more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.” So the argument that she married Ray Rice for his money is a moot point. With more than 3 million women beaten in their homes by their husbands, partners and exes each year, the reason Janay married Ray Rice is the same reason the other 2.99 million women marry or stay in relationships with abusive men—a twisted idea of what love and relationships should bring or the belief that she can change him.
Change comes from the heart. Until, Ray and every other man who sees fit to hit a woman decides to change. The abuse will continue. Deep down inside these women know it but hold on to the hope that those great moments, when their mate is normal, sane and loving becomes what he chooses. She wants to help him and feels like the love she has for him is stronger than his violence.
After a while, instead of feeling strong her spirit is broken. She second guesses herself. She blames herself for not being good enough, for provoking him and for accepting the abusive behavior. Eventually, she might even feel like she’s getting what she deserves—not because he’s sick but because she made the decision to stay. By this point she’s trapped—or feels that way. She has kids. An image to uphold. Often, outside forces come into play. They said my marriage wouldn’t last. So she stays, suffering a long, slow emotional and spiritual death while she wonders if he will make a mistake and kill her in a rage.
When you’re a victim in a marriage, you’re the only one being victimized. This means the abused feels alone. Helpless. No one understands. Everyone judges.
Janay – The Domestic Violence Victim Victimized by the Media, the Black Community and the NFL
The media releases the video and the commentary begins…
She was knocked out by her fiancé and married him a month later, who does that?
She married him for his money.
She had it coming. Did you see her hit him?
Double standard. Nobody said nothing about Solange attacking JayZ.
We have spent a lot of time talking about what happened in the elevator at the casino. I get that. What Ray did to Janay is despicable. Unfortunately, the pain of it grows for Janay each time we share, comment on or even discuss the video. Imagine knowing that one of your most humiliating, private moments is on the computer screens and televisions of almost every person in America—maybe even the world. Just so you’ll have a little perspective, there is more than 313 million people in the United States. You can’t enjoy your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter stream because everyone is talking about you. What you allowed to happen to you. What you brought on yourself. What you brought on yourself for being a gold digger who married this man because, although he beat you, he has money.
I keep bringing up money because so much of the commentary I’ve seen from my social media network, which is predominately Black, has revolved around Janay being money hungry. Most of the time Black women are making these statements. That statement bothers me on so many levels. Only in the Black community are women encouraged to find a man with whom she can struggle with financially. When a Black woman marries a financially stable man it has to be about the money and not love. I have never heard my White, Jewish, Italian or Mexican friend’s parents encourage them to marry men that lacked financial means. They teach their daughters to marry men who want to take care of them-financially, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
In addition to the idea that Janay married for money, there is the misconception that she deserved to get hit because she hit him first. While I was raised to keep my hands to myself, my male cousins and uncles were taught to never, under any circumstance, hit a woman. What happened to walking away? What happened to believing that women are the weaker vessel? Ray Rice is a 212 pound football player who is tackled by men close to twice his size for thirteen weeks a year. He even had every opportunity, just like Janay, to get into another elevator or even seek security for help. Instead, he took matters into his own hands.
Months after the fact the NFL decides to suspend Ray Rice indefinitely after they gave him a slap on the wrist. Janay’s physical and emotional pain has become a financial crisis for her family. Instead of the NFL handling the situation when it happened, the couple now has to deal with a second, more severe punishment because the NFL has an image to uphold. The best thing for Janay and Ray is to be a part of an organization that is not only concerned about its public persona but takes the mental and emotional health of their employees and families to heart. Why not work with Janay to attain some emotional healing? Why not work with Ray on anger management? Football is a violent game. The NFL could use this incident to create domestic violence prevention programs within the NFL and the community-at-large.
I wrote all of this to say…
Janay does not want this. Her Instagram post revealed that. She is hurting. She is upset. And, she needs time to heal. So, instead of further victimizing her, try praying for her or reaching out to your local domestic violence prevention organization to volunteer. Janay is not the first victim of domestic violence and she probably won’t be the last. However, if we all work together for domestic violence prevention then there might be a time when we have fewer victims.