The Widdershins

Activist Monday: A Thought Exercise

Posted on: September 15, 2014

A murderer and an abuser walk into a locker room…

Many activists in the field of domestic violence feel that the qualifier “domestic” is one thing that helps enable its persistence. If we were just to call it “violence” when one partner physically assaults the other, would we see these heinous acts as more serious, more criminal?

What if the two didn’t know each other? Would the subtext of “She was asking for it” still be there?

Think about it. What if you saw that infamous Ray Rice video on your local news station, and it was presented this way:

“This horrifying video of a man beating a woman unconscious in an elevator was sent to the police and released to Eyewitness News in the hopes of identifying the criminal. Please call 311 if you have any information about who this person is.”

After that story, wouldn’t you be hoping to next see that man in handcuffs, doing the perp walk, instead of, say, at a high school football game in New Rochelle?

Ray Rice made his first public appearance with his family Saturday since being released by the Ravens and indefinitely suspended from the NFL. Rice, along with his wife Janay and daughter Rayven, returned to his hometown of New Rochelle, New York to watch his old high school team play. Rice’s middle school in New Rochelle removed Rice’s framed jersey from the gymnasium, which drew a mixed reaction from students.

See, right there. Removing the jersey “drew a mixed reaction from students.” The man beat the sh*t out of his wife! The very LEAST he deserves is to have his f*cking jersey removed from the middle school he attended! And sorry, no, the idea that Ray Rice hit his wife like this only once, is about as credible as the idea that Chatblu and Fredster will stop watching college football and take up the harp instead. (Sorry guys, couldn’t resist. :-))

Oh, but it gets worse. MUCH worse.

New Rochelle [high school] head coach Lou DiRenzo said that the team stands behind Rice in a statement to the media at halftime.


“The New Rochelle football program is a very strong program, and once you’re a member of that program, you’re a member of that program for life. Ray is a part of our family and a part of this program, and that’s why I’m very happy that he’s here today. He made a mistake — and he made a very terrible mistake — but I know the character of the man, and he will rise from this. The mistake that he made will be erased by the good deeds that he will continue to do.”

If you saw that video presented in the way discussed above….would you say he “made a very terrible mistake?” Or would you want him locked up, and the key thrown into the Marianas Trench?

“But his wife defended him,” would be the response. Well, of course she did. She still lives with that f*cker because she is afraid he will kill her and her child if she leaves, and I’d say statics will back her up there.

Approximately 75% of women who are killed by their batterers are murdered when they attempt to leave or after they have left an abusive relationship.

But hey, it’s only “domestic” violence, so instead of prosecuting Ray Rice and offering protection to Janay Rice and her daughter, the media worries about how he is feeling about losing his football contract. Is there something wrong with this picture? Why yes, yes, there is. Everything is wrong with this picture, because violence is violence. There is nothing domestic about it. But thanks to that framing, and Rice’s celebrity, he does not have to go to court and face the consequences of what he has done. He has been referred to pre-trial intervention instead of going to trial.

On Wednesday, Atlantic County prosecutor James P. McClain defended referring Rice to pre-trial intervention and allowing him to avoid trial. The decision was made “after careful consideration of the law, careful consideration of the facts, hearing the voice of the victim and considering all the parameters,” McClain told the Press of Atlantic City.

“People need to understand: The choice was not PTI versus five years’ state prison,” McClain said. “The choice was not PTI versus the No Early Release Act on a 10-year sentence. The parameters, as they existed, were: Is this a PTI case or a probation case?”

And why was it probationary? If you saw that unknown man in the elevator beating an unknown woman unconscious, would you think he deserved probation?

This awful revelation about Ray Rice has shown how little Americans understand about partner violence (a less cuddly name that is starting to take hold) against women. “She asked for it” and “she defended him” are two responses which only demonstrate the appalling ignorance, and lack of empathy, of the speaker.  Women who are abused by their partners live in constant fear of pain and death from the very people who are supposed to love them. Is that really so hard to grok?

This is an open thread.


16 Responses to "Activist Monday: A Thought Exercise"

It’s really hard to make this an NFL problem per se. It’s a societal problem, and the lackadaisical attitude of society with regard to violence against women is palpable. Hell, we should have no trouble getting a 100% vote in Congress on the VAWA.
Per Ray Rice, he sadly has a very reasonable case against the NFL. First he has a a 2 game suspension, they the league writes a policy mandating a 6 game suspension, so they then suspend him “indefinitely”, thus highly confusing any hope of straightforward arbitration. As far as the infamous elevator video goes, the only one confused appears to have been Roger Goodell. Ozzie Newsome of the Ravens says that he did not have to see it personally, because Rice told him what happened. Clearly the tape seems to have gotten to the league office, and there’s not much c;ear after that. Nonetheless, when you are in charge of something, you are responsible for all of the actions of your employees, so Roger Goodell should be out the door. Sadly, as long as he keeps turning a handsome profit for the (already) billionaire owners, I do not see it happening.
As for the harp vs football, the following vid from a conference school proves that the two are not mutually exclusive:

MB, love thought experiments and this one is particularly insightful.

If the Nobel Committee honored the Most Unaware Human or the Most Tone Deaf Human on the planet, Goodell would be the unanimous choice. His handling of this gives Rice, as Chat mentioned, plenty of legal grounds to “grieve” his circumstance through the Players’ Union. That outcome sits squarely at Goodell’s feet.

This is how tragically “unaware” some people are of the ramifications of partner violence. I heard some sports talking head actually say, “Cutting Rice indefinitely hurts Janay because Ray isn’t getting paid.” In other words, let’s empower economic blackmail on top of the physical battering.

Goodell naming four women to advise him is a nice gesture, but it is nothing more than a gesture in order to keep his $40 million salary from the “non-profit” NFL pouring in. To my way of thinking, the naming of the four “advisers” is an admission of not having the values and judgment to be in any decision-making role much less Commissioner.

I’m telling you as a former Union rep that I could run barefoot through that suspension imbroglio. The thing to do would have been to put him on leave pending investigation, come up with a salient policy, then enforce it.

Yes, I completely agree Goodell should go. His handling of the situation is symptomatic of the larger issues we’re talking about.

I think the NFL has sunk quite a bit in the estimation of the average American. The NFL might just let him go to show they get it.

I hope that you are correct, but I fear that they will need to lose a ton of cash first. If people don;t come and sponsors begin to bail, then he will go. This is likely anther case if “follow(ing) the money”,
Hell, we can’t even pass the paycheck fairness act. Unless and until we can ever see women as equal citizens, this will be tough – it’s all of a piece.

Exactly Chat, I was ranting to a colleague about this. The idea that women are “less than” is what allows this culture of abuse to flourish.

Million woman march, anyone???

Yes, the NFL needs to say Goodbye Goodell. He has creeped me out for years. He certainly doesn’t need any more income. Go retire and get out of our faces.

Very good post MB! You are so right about women’s “less than” status.

Sorry I was m.i.a. today. Lots on my plate. I agree that unless it hits them in the wallet, the owners won’t do squat. Hell their “independent” committee will be overseen by two big-time NFL owners who like Goodell. It will be a whitewash. And it was announced that the Vikings activated Adrian Peterson for Sunday’s game.

Further, Goodell has been very hypocritical when it comes to this stuff. When it came to “bountygate” with the Saints he suspended Coach Sean Payton for a year and Payton had sworn he had had no knowledge of the bounty idea. Goodell said basically “tough, you’re the coach and you should have known.”. So if Sean should have known about bountygate, then you Mr. Chairman, as the head of the league are responsible, just as chat said.

I think these guys are ‘roided up and all the sports look the other way because they make more money off them. Remember when sports promoted things like sportsmanship, and character? And athletes made upper middle class salaries and it wasn’t worth it to them to destroy their bodies and brains so they could be famous and rich in exchange for a much shortened life?

annie@9: I think some of the players are beginning to realize the NFL is not their best friend when it comes to concussions and how after their careers are over and their brains are turning to mush, that they are basically left on their own for coverage of their conditions. Pretty chitty of them.

I’ve just heard that Radisson is withdrawing sponsorship from the NFL pending review.

Heard that on morning schmoe too. Schmoe suggested letter writing campaign to advertisers. I’ll almost forgive him his tirade against HRC from the morning before.

Saw this in the comments on that HuffPo piece:

Radisson once again demonstrating their strong commitment to child protection. They were the first major company to sign and implement the Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct, ensuring that children are protected on their premises., Bravo Radisson and Carlson Companies!

Oh my…if we could just do this to a few of them.

May need to turn volume down.

And the fun begins. If any Widdershins are BOA customers, call and complain about their sponsorship of the Carolina Panthers, who are playing a convicted abuser because he has \filed an appeal.

Adrian Peterson is now out. Do these owners get any more reactive?

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