A reader expands on this update and then some:
While I will not dispute that men can and are abused too, 85% of domestic violence victims are women, and women are most likely to be murdered by an intimate partner. On the specifics of the Rice situation, an examination of the tape with audio clearly shows that he spit on her, she reaches out to strike him (punch would be a stretch), they go into the elevator, he spits at her again, she lashes out back at him, he strikes her face, she strikes back and then he delivers the knock-out punch. I don’t know about you, but I don’t take kindly to being spit upon, especially by my fiancee. Clearly none of her attempts at striking him even landed and he connected with her head twice.
Yes, the video does indicate to me that there was previous violence and disrespectful action in their relationship. But no sir, this is not a case of a man being abused and then finally saying enough and striking back. Also too, Ray Rice is maybe 5’7″ 205 and a trained boxer (oh, and plays the 2nd or 3rd most violent sport in the world), so there’s the small issue of strength and the dis-proportionality of response.
But hey, what do I know? I’m just a woman who grew up with domestic violence and has been abused myself. Your male writer may have a reason to be sensitive to male DV, but this ain’t that.
Another takes a different angle:
Please be courageous enough to explain to people that although we may be justified in showing moral outrage in the Ray Rice situation, there are still laws, and unless women educate themselves on laws, they will never be fully protected by them.
First, there is a notion out there that says provocation doesn’t exist. Sorry, it does.
It clearly exists with all laws, as provocation is the basis for any self-defense argument. Socially and morally we have double standards that benefit women, but there are no such double standards written in laws that allow women or people who are smaller to get away with something that their opposites cannot. Universal legal standard is if someone, no matter gender or size, attacks you (provocation), you have the right to respond with equal or lesser force (self defense).
Secondly, if we ignore all of what Janay did and just focus on Ray Rice’s action, he may have attacked her, but he also backed away. The moment where he retreated and then she charged him effectively made it impossible for the DA to prosecute him, hence her being arrested that night as well. Mutual combat. He retreated, she re-engaged him, menacing at that, and with further irony if his lawyer was good/shiesty enough he could argue he was defending himself.
#WhyIStayed is great. But unless women have a #WhyILearnedThe Law, the law will never be on their side.
But another underscores an essential point:
Proportionality matters. If you are a muscle-bound, 210-pound man, you don’t punch someone half your size. Ray Rice barely flinches when she touches him outside the elevator; he shrugs off her elbow (and looks like he slaps her). Meanwhile, Janay fell like a slow-motion rag doll. It was horrifying – I’m surprised she didn’t get a severe neck injury from catching the hand rail on the way down.
That’s not self defense. The only time it’s OK for a 210-pound guy to throw a left hook at a woman is if the woman in question is Ronda Rousey and you’re both in a cage match in a dystopian Hunger Games future.
And look at Ray Rice after he hits her. He isn’t on his knees, trying to bring her to, and in disbelief of his own actions. He’s trying to toss her dead weight out of the elevator. Based on his actions alone, I’d be shocked if this was the first time he hit her.
Start talking about reality, your reader says? Start talking about common sense. You don’t hit someone unless there is no other option for your self defense. Know your own strength. Don’t escalate a situation by getting in someone’s face.
Or as another puts it:
For your reader’s benefit, here’s one surprising trick men can use to protect themselves from physical abuse: Walk away. That’s all Ray Rice would have needed to do. Walk away. Don’t get on the elevator. Be a man.
More emails to come. Follow the entire thread here.