The video inside the elevator was not as jarring to me as maybe it should have been. It just provided a grainy image to a story that I have already heard too often from women who have come to my office speaking (or too afraid to openly speak) about domestic abuse. Seeing the video shouldn't really have made any difference - the NFL should have been criticized for not taking stronger action than they did regardless. Domestic abuse is an unseen epidemic in this country that negatively affects generations.
As public as the Ray Rice incident has been, it would be tragic for us not to make progress as a country on this. And yet, here's the three most visible outcomes that I've seen so far:
1. I've seen a woman attacked multiple times on TV. You can stop showing the video now - we know what happened and the victims of abuse can stop reliving the experience every time they turn on the news!
2. CBS dropped Rihanna from their Thursday Night Football broadcast. They say it's because it wouldn't set the tone they were looking for, but 1) Rihanna herself has been abused and 2)They never bothered to ask Rihanna about removing her song.
3. Covergirl has become the only NFL official sponsor to be targeted by protests. I should say that in my opinion the protest of Covergirl is very well done. But the only company being protested is...a product for women. Really? How about Anheuser-Busch since alcohol consumption is often a contributing factor to abuse? To be clear: alcohol does not cause abuse. A person chooses to abuse. But alcohol makes a really convenient excuse and may increase the likelihood of abuse.
In other words, other than Ray Rice himself the people who seem to be most negatively effected by this whole thing are...women.
We need more women like Megan MacKay and men like Chris Carter to step up and say it like it is. And we need more people like you and me to say it like it is, too.
If you are a woman, you don't have to stand for the abuse. Megan's video includes helpful links that you can follow for help.
But women shouldn't be abused to begin with! If you're a man, stand up for what's right. If you are a man you are automatically either part of the problem or part of the solution. If you're an abuser you're obviously part of the problem and you need to find a therapist to help you figure out how to cope with the issue(s) that have brought you to this point. You don't have to continue to abuse. But just not abusing someone doesn't make you part of the solution. If you know someone in an abusive relationship and you say or do anything that could be construed as support for the abuse, even staying silent when you see abuse, then you are part of the problem. If you hear another man make a joke that involves abuse and laugh, you are part of the problem. If you hear a man justify Ray Rice or anybody else in their abuse, you are part of the problem.
I have two daughters. I don't want either one of them, or any of their friends, or any of your children or grandchildren, to some day walk into their pastor's office to share a story of abuse. For their sake, and for the sake of their generation, please be part of the solution.