Domestic Abuse: Appalling, Not Suprising

Joe Britton, Breaking News Editor, Reporter

Like the millions of others on a Monday morning a few weeks ago, I saw the headline “Second Rice Elevator Video Released” and without much thought behind the action, clicked play. I watched as what appeared to be Ray Rice of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and his then-fiance, Janay Palmer, (the two wed on March 28th) enter an elevator while being engaged in a heated verbal argument. As they entered, Rice hit Palmer once in the face. Palmer then stepped toward Rice as he delivered a close-fisted punch to her face. Palmer was then knocked back, hitting her head on the railing, and was rendered unconscious.
Growing up I had never once witnessed any act of domestic violence, whether it be in my home or someone else’s. This was my first glimpse at what it truly looked like. Disgusted, I began to imagine how it must feel to be attacked by someone who is supposed to love and protect you, someone who you should be able to trust with your life, not fear that they themselves might end it. I was appalled at what I had seen, surprised by the vile reality of it.

I had every right to be appalled, but as I soon learned, what I shouldn’t have been was surprised.

The NFL’s domestic abuse problem is greater than meets the eye. It stems much deeper than just Rice. According to USA Today, the league itself has 14 active players with a history of domestic abuse. This includes two players currently involved in domestic abuse trials; each scenario being just as gruesome as Rice’s. Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers was found guilty on June 15th of assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend. On August 31st, Ray McDonald of the the San Francisco 49ers was arrested for felony domestic assault against his pregnant girlfriend.
The NFL’s issue is, in a way, a microcosm of our nation’s problem as a whole. The reality of the matter is that domestic violence has always been, and currently is, an ugly problem in our society. People have always know that domestic abuse happens, but they certainly don’t have a clear grasp of the alarming rate at which it occurs. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women in the United States will experience physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime and an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
Domestic abuse has proven prevalent in our own community as well. According to an article by The Little Village, the ICPD recorded an average year’s worth of domestic abuse calls and arrests in just the first six months of 2014. Additionally, earlier this month an ICCSD School Board member was arrested for allegedly striking a male in her home with a clothes hanger and kicking him repeatedly.

The only way to remove acts of domestic violence as mainstays in the fabric of society is to change the way we interact with them. No longer can we push them to the back of our minds due to their unpleasant nature. We can’t continue to think of it as something that will always happen. These egregious occurrences serve no cultural function. All they do is spread hate and violence along with permanently damaging their victims’ psyches.

And until we decide as a whole to deal with them with the seriousness that they warrant, nothing is going to change.