The one thing my father always impressed upon me when I was young was that I was never to raise my hand to a woman, verbally abuse a woman, or in any way torment them so as to make them feel unsafe or unfit for society. Physical, verbal, and psychological abuse, especially that of a man against a woman, have no place in our society. My father, who was physically abused as a child for being "too light-skinned", always made sure that I treated any woman like I would treat any man. He was not perfect, but this may have been the greatest lesson he ever taught me: Everyone is equal.
Ray Rice's situation is one that he deserves entirely. Ray, you
are were an NFL player, someone who is physically superior to almost all of the world population. You are bigger, faster, and stronger than most of us ever will be. You had absolutely no business raising your hand to your then-fiancee. Your decision was not all that uncommon though (in the US, 1.3 million women are abused by men each year. That's 1.3 million women too many). The below chart outlines some really ugly facts about domestic violence:
I cannot understand the impulse to physically abuse a woman. That's because there shouldn't be one. In the rare case that a woman is an actual threat to your well-being (and I don't mean punching and kicking you), you should probably do something about that. But there are ZERO times outside of that scenario that a hand should be raised against a woman.
In other countries (unsurprisingly countries with religiously sanctioned subjugation of women, and/or severely impoverished countries), women being okay with the abuse is staggeringly high:
And this is merely physical abuse. I imagine every one of these women are also subject to constant disparagement and being berated. None of this okay.
Verbal and emotional abuse of women can be even more permanent than physical abuse. Scars can fade, broken bones heal, and black eyes go away, but the emotional and verbal abuse of a woman can have much longer lasting effects. As we can see below:
I'm posting this today, in lieu of my usual Tuesday jokes and informative charts because I'm not feeling particularly joyous today. I have conflicted feelings about my favorite sport's operators, but the reality of it all is that I will still watch football every Thursday, Sunday, and Monday because that is what my dad and I did for so many years. We watched a sport that insulates all sorts of criminals, glossing over the truth that some athletes are terrible people. I did not see Michael Vick kill those dogs, I did not see Ray Lewis kill anyone outside of a night club, and I did not see Aaron Hernandez murder anyone. But I did see Ray Rice knock out his then-fiancee, and that is not something that I can forget.
I'm sure many of my fellow football fans feel the same way as I do, have the same emotional attachments to the game as I do. The conflicted feelings you have are natural, they are okay. Use those feelings to express your disgust with the way things are playing out. Raise awareness, protect the women you love, and even those you don't know. Stop domestic violence. Eliminate the culture of misogyny. Orchestrate change in whatever way you can; do not just sit on the sidelines.
*I understand this might be viewed as controversial and off-topic so I will understand if this is removed, especially in light of the events of last week. I will hold no quarrel if that is the case.*