Disclaimer: This is the sole view of Nikki Tucker, not Clutch Magazine.
After observing the physical altercation, which transpired between Ray Rice and then fiancée, I needed a moment to gather my thoughts. Domestic violence is such a touchy subject I did not want to fly off the handle, so to speak.
Here is what I observed: Janay was evidently upset about something. Ray struck her not once, but twice. As a result of the second blow, Janay’s head hit the railing and finally she collapsed to the floor seemingly unconscious. Ray, visibly unmoved, steps over the body and attempts to drag Janay. Security, who obviously watched the altercation transpired via the security system, was present not too long after the elevator doors open. Security also did not check to see whether or not Janay was cognizant of her where abouts.
Here’s my biggest issue. Janay could have suffered an acute (inability to stand or balance, confusion, small cuts or bumps, headache, nausea, temporary memory loss and/or ringing in the ear) to severe head trauma (bleeding from deep cuts or wounds in the scalp, loss of consciousness, abnormal eye movements, inability to focus the eyes, loss of muscle control, seizures vomiting, slurred speech or vision, etc). Ray was unconcerned to see if his fiancée, whom he loves and wants to marry, was alive.
After viewing the video repeatedly, I trolled social media. I stumbled upon one post that said something along the lines “leaving isn’t as cut and dry.” As a daughter who watched her mother endure domestic violence at a very young age, I completely agree. However, my issue with this statement is we say it so often as if it’s physically impossible to leave. Then I read all the hashtags that followed: #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft. I was nauseated, upset and angry. We have to stop reiterating it isn’t easy. Nothing in life is easy. Instead of focusing on how hard it is, let’s empower women to believe they can do anything and will survive anything.
My next issue is with the NFL. While many are praising the NFL for making an “example” of Ray Rice, I’m disgusted. Roger Goodell only decided to dish out a more severe consequence only after the video became public. You mean to tell me the NFL could not obtain a surveillance video from a casino? ESPN sports writer Jane McManus tweeted the NFL had access to the same evidence law enforcement had access to. The NFL only decided to take action as a mean to minimize bad press. Goodell and the NFL do not care or they would not have waited to indefinitely suspend Rice.
* Long Sigh *
And lastly, Janay’s comment via Instagram. She blamed the media for making them “relive a moment” in their lives that they “regret every day.” I get it baby girl you don’t want to rehash a negative situation. However, is it the media’s fault that your then fiancée decided to put his hands on you? I’m not mad at Janay nor do I judge her decision to stay. I’m actually worried. Yes, there are those rare incidents when a man makes a genuine mistake and vows to never make that mistake again. The couple never becomes physical again and goes on to lead a happy and loving life. However, in most instances that’s not the case.
In my opinion, the lack of concern portrayed by Ray Rice exhibited something more disturbing. It was as if it was just another day in the Rice household. Like nothing about this situation was bizarre. Like he knew his fiancée would be okay, because she has endure a hit or two before and she’s always bounced back. And if this was their first physical altercation, I felt like the hit was a warning sign. Like he was saying mess with me again.
Unless TMZ obtains audio to the visuals we will never know what happened. What I do know is we cannot just say it isn’t easy to leave. Too many women lose their life as a result of domestic violence and it’s time we begin to lobby for stricter laws that will do more than just give an “order of protection.” I get it. A piece of paper does not make you feel comfortable enough to leave. God forbid he has law enforcement on his payroll. America we have to do better as a country. We have to stop shooting down innocent children and allow women to feel safe.
Again no one wants to be viewed as a victim, so we cannot judge Janay’s decision. We can only make it known to little girls across America that this is NOT okay!
Author’s Note: I want to clarify I was –and still am—nauseated, upset, angry and hurt these women had to endure such behaviors. I am not upset by a victim’s choice to stay. I don’t place blame on these women. I understand they’re manipulated into staying. However, I remain adamant we have to discontinue reiterating the sentiment “it’s not easy to leave.” I am a firm believer you are what you believe. If we continue to repeat those beliefs, DV victims will continue to believe it. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. There is an adage I’m sure we all know: if you believe it, you can achieve it. If you believe it’s hard and simply impossible then it will be. But if you believe it’s possible then it becomes possible.