WTVM 09/13/14 Editorial: Ray Rice and the stand against domestic violence

(WTVM) - Janay Rice is now the most famous battered woman since Nicole Brown Simpson was beaten, and later killed, by another famous football player twenty years ago.

Court records in OJ Simpson's murder trial showed her abuse persisted for 17 years.

As soon as the video surfaced showing former Ravens running back Ray Rice decking his then-fiancée, Janay Rice, she became an instant symbol of battered women.

Condemning Rice's brutal treatment of his wife is easy. It's harder for some of us to understand why Janay Rice chooses to stay with him.

In video of them after the incident, Janay Rice looks about as unhappy as any woman can possibly be. Yet she loudly defends her husband today, and married him just one day after he was indicted for abuse.

Some battered women say they stayed because of their children, or because of financial security, or the hope that the abuser will change—as he almost always promises to do.

Domestic violence experts say one reason some women stay is that the abuser often blames the victim, and the victim learns to believe they somehow provoke the abuse.

Luckily, plenty of women seek help from places like Hope Harbour in Columbus, and the Russell County Crisis Center in Phenix City. These places are safe havens providing crisis intervention, safety training and relocation assistance.

Domestic violence even escalated to murder in three recent local cases, so it's vitally important that when a high profile person like Ray Rice is caught, especially on tape, we use it to expose violence and urge abused women to get help.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee
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