This Must Stop
When do we stop treating grown women like children?
When do we stop making excuses for adults who make blatantly self-destructive decisions?
When do we stop men from beating up women?
All the above questions are tied together and only when we answer them — unemotionally, tactically, and strategically — will we make progress against the warthogs who slug people, specifically the women they purport to “love,” into unconsciousness?
The general consensus is we should tread lightly upon the feelings of Janay Rice, the victim of a videotaped assault and battery in an elevator last February that left her unconscious and caused her fiancé to drag her like a sack of trash to their hotel room where who knows what ensued.
Janay Rice has married that man in the intervening seven months. She told the world yesterday that she and Ray Rice share a special love, one that mean people are trying to destroy. Their method of destruction? Raising Cain about the beating and dragging incident that so far has earned Ray Rice a wink-and-a-nod plea deal wherein he must attend some kind of counseling sessions while avoiding jail time.
Janay Rice owes the girls and young women of this holy land a better course of action and narrative. There is only one proper and fitting reaction to Ray Rice’s assault upon her: that is criminal prosecution and Janay Rice’s firm commitment never to allow him within a thousand feet of her for the rest of their lives.
To wax poetic about their special love only ensures that more young women will be punched into a transient brain trauma — and worse.
Some say Janay Rice has suffered enough. She, apparently, does not share that opinion because she’s remaining intimate with the uncharged criminal who battered her.
Janay Rice doesn’t love herself enough, others say. To which I’d add she doesn’t give the slightest shit about the millions of females at risk of suffering a similar fate.
By staying with Ray Rice, by marrying him, by extolling their special love, she’s telling those millions of females that the crime he committed upon her is a blip, a hiccup, a silly little mistake, the kind we all must endure in the strange, confusing process of coupling. That, too, is a kind of crime.
Janay Rice didn’t ask for all this but reality has a fascist streak; it imposes upon us roles we have no desire to play. Reality jackbooted her that February night in the casino/hotel elevator. She no longer has a choice about being a spokeswoman for violent abuse. The incident became notorious solely because Ray Rice is good at running around with a football. Millions of impressionable young females are watching Janay Rice, taking cues from her. She has told them that the ugly violence Ray Rice visited upon her not only is forgivable, it’s excusable, understandable, and even, she has implied, partially her fault.
I want Ray Rice to spend a good long time in jail. I want Janay Rice to stand up for herself and for countless girls and women.
And I’m tired of excuses. We all should be.