It took months, but the world finally saw a video of what happened inside the Atlantic City elevator the night Ray Rice dragged his unconscious wife Janay Palmer out of it last February. It took a video obtained by TMZ and the rage of the masses to convince the NFL to suspend Rice indefinitely after the Ravens dropped him from their roster. Let’s be clear – the NFL doesn’t give a shit about women or domestic violence. Their hand was forced. Already there is a chorus of “why did she stay with him?” erupting once again. There are always reasons – and we’ll get to that. Let’s start by remembering how little anyone cared about this until they saw this video.
Warning – it contains violence and it is horrible.
The clip that surfaced after the arrest last February was the part with Rice dragging his unconscious wife out of the elevator. That wasn’t disturbing enough to force action, apparently. The NFL has since handled the situation with a gross neglect of the seriousness of domestic violence or the safety of women. Rice was punished by a two game suspension. A two game suspension for punching his wife in the face so hard she fell to the floor unconscious.
The above footage that TMZ released yesterday is footage that many in the sports world are claiming the NFL allegedly was privy to before they made their decision about Rice’s punishment:
The NFL denies seeing the footage before yesterday. Rice and his wife were in an elevator in an Atlantic City casino. Of course there was video footage. One of the more disturbing parts of this case is that the police who arrived on the scene saw fit to arrest both Palmer and Rice and charge them both with assault. Then a scramble to cover Rice’s abusive tracks started. The Ravens blamed his wife. Of course.
The tweet has since been deleted but I don’t think anyone can forget the press conference where both Rice and Palmer apologized. Yes, you read that right. Palmer appeared in a press conference sitting next to her abusive husband and apologized for taking a punch. That is what happens when you are in the clutch of a relationship riddled with violence and manipulation. Not only do the police not protect you, but the world blames you – first.
Masses of survivors took to Twitter last night, to show support for Janay Palmer and answer the question, “Why did she stay?” What resulted are some really powerful testaments to the strength of survivors and a window into the hell that is domestic violence. Take the time today to read #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft. And then never ask that question of a domestic abuse survivor again.
Theassault charges against Rice were dropped, by the way. So our justice system takes domestic violence even less seriously than the NFL.