A reader broadens the conversation on domestic violence:
I watched with full video of the Ray Rice incident, and one of the first things I noticed is that outside the elevator, when Ray is waiting for his fiancée (now wife) Janay, she walks by and hits him in the face. She definitely did not connect hard, but it is clear she did connect. Then inside the elevator, she attempts to elbow and punch him in the head, and when he retreats, she comes at him with her fists up in a fighting stance. It is only at this point that Ray punches her. You can see the full video here. [Update: Another notes, “It has been reported (ESPN etc.) that Rice spit in Janay’s face twice – before they entered the elevator and right after they entered the elevator, and her physical movements were reactions to both events.”]
I am a man and I was once the victim of domestic violence from a woman. She would hit me and take advantage of the fact that I would never hit back.
It is likely that this was not the first time Janay hit Ray, and based on the fact that she had no hesitation to square off with him, she may have done it many times before and he never hit her back. He may have gotten tired of this and warned her he would start hitting back.
It is certainly wrong of Ray to punch Janay. It is also wrong for Janay to punch Ray. It is certainly wrong to blame the victim, and at the moment Ray hit Janay, she was the victim. But every other time she hit him, including just moments before he hit her, he was the victim, and being the victim of
repeated domestic violence can make someone stop thinking clearly.
It seems we all want to talk about Ray punching Janay, but no one wants to talk about the punches Janay directed at Ray. Until we do that, we aren’t really talking about the truth of what happened there and what happens all the time in our society. We are only talking about a made-up narrative that does not match reality. So let’s start talking about reality. We need to talk about how men can avoid being the victims of violence from women, and what they can do to protect themselves without striking back.
Update from a reader, who elaborates on the first update:
I have no idea what video your reader watched, but it doesn’t appear to be the same one the rest of the world did. While, yes, Janay Rice lightly taps Ray Rice on the chest before they get in the elevator, I don’t think you could even call that a “hit”. It’s somewhere between a light brush and a tap, and it doesn’t look particularly malicious – let alone violent. Also, when the two are in the elevator, Ray Rice is closing in on her, and it looks like he’s trying to intimidate her when she sort of pushes him away. He spits on her, etc. Then, she clearly loses her temper and moves toward him, and he knocks her the hell out.
This statement, from your reader, gives the game away: “We need to talk about how men can avoid being the victims of violence from women, and what they can do to protect themselves without striking back.”
Yes, men certainly can be the victims of domestic violence – I’ve been one myself. But treating the issue as if it’s even remotely an equal problem is the trademark of a men’s rights advocate, who sees the plight of poor, oppressed men as equal to the violence propagated toward women – this would be laughable, if it weren’t so tragic. Men are far, far more likely to injure, abuse and murder their partner than women are; it’s not a remotely equal situation, and treating it as such undermines the very real danger millions of American women are facing every single day.