Watching the Ray Rice elevator video was like a kick in the teeth for me. It made my heart pound. It made me sick. It made me sad. And it made me afraid, not just for Janay, but for others who I think never report physical violence that doesn't get caught on hotel videotape.
I can't do anything to help Janay Rice (who shockingly married Rice even after that punch), but what I can do is try to help others by addressing physical violence in relationships, including marriage and/or separation or even divorce.
The first and probably biggest point I want to make is that physical violence is NOT ACCEPTABLE. Even one time. I don't care if he has issues from his past. I don't care that his job is stressful. I don't care that he didn't mean it and said he'd never do it again. And I don't care how much he begs and pleads and tells you how sorry he is and that he has problems. Hear what I am saying: Physical violence even one time, one punch, one kick, one push, one grab and shake is NOT OK. EVER.
DO NOT try to rationalize it because there is no rationalization and no excuse that warrants this type of behavior. Maybe your dad hit your mom, or maybe you had big brothers who hit you as a kid. Maybe you feel guilty about something you did, or even as sick as it sounds, you feel you deserved it. WRONG! It is unacceptable for your man to lay a hand on you.
Now, does that mean you have to immediately get divorced if your spouse hit you? No. But, what you immediately should do is address it. You can't throw it under the table and hope it doesn't happen again.
Why? Because if you do nothing, it WILL happen again. Almost undoubtedly.
What CAN you do?
You can encourage your spouse to go get help. You can help your spouse get help by finding resources, even names and phone numbers of therapists or a program that might benefit your spouse. And you can get help for yourself. Being hit hurts much more than just on the outside. It will damage your insides, your self-esteem, your confidence, your belief in yourself. For that, you need support -- and not just from a trusted friend, but from a professional.
I think that the most upsetting part for me about this whole story is Janay. That she still married him after that punch. Why wouldn't she delay the wedding and address the problem first? Imagine standing there in your wedding dress exchanging vows, knowing in the back of your mind that you are entering a marriage where your new husband punched you. Does Janay deep down think she deserved it? Do YOU think you deserved it?
Let me be clear on this: NO ONE deserves to be physically harmed by their spouse, no matter what they did.
And then Janay's message the day after Rice was fired from the Ravens.
"I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare."
Shouldn't the morning Janay woke up feeling like she had a horrible nightmare have been the morning her fiancé decked her in the face?
"To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific." (?!)
What about what HE took away from YOU? Your dignity, self-esteem; he made you afraid. He hurt you, both physically and mentally. The fact that you don't see it that way (or maybe you do) sickens and saddens me deeply. Everybody works their ass off, and they don't have the opportunity or the wealth that Ray had/has, AND most don't punch their wives.
In closing, please remember that I am not a therapist, I'm just a writer who is trying to give the best divorce advice I can. So, if you think you need to talk to a therapist about physical violence going on in your home, I would highly encourage it. This is your life, and the lives of your children! Physical violence is NOT ACCEPTABLE!!
Remember that the best choices we make are usually the hardest to deal with, but they pay off the most in the long run.
Lastly, I have nothing against Ray or Janay Rice and don't know anything about them other than what I see in the news and on the football field. But I will wish this for the Rices: I hope they both get the help they need, and I know that the public loves to forgive, so I hope for a comeback for them. I really, really do.