#WhyIStayed, Ctd

The reactions to the Ray Rice story continue to roll in. CBS Sportscaster James Brown speaks out:

Amanda Marcotte rejects lines of commentary that suggest Ray Rice is a victim:

Because of this vast gulf in male and female experiences of domestic violence, unsurprisingly the impact also varies dramatically. On Tuesday, Catherine Cloutier of the Boston Globe published an examination of how much more seriously women’s lives are impacted by intimate partner violence. The CDC surveyed around 14,000 people to determine the impact of domestic violence on their lives. Men and women were somewhat similar in rates of having endured some kind of assault, at 27.5 percent for men and 29.7 percent for women.

But looking beyond counting individual touches, a different picture emerges. Twenty-four percent of female victims report feeling fearful, compared to 7 percent of men. One in five female victims suffer from PTSD symptoms, whereas only 1 in 20 male victims do. Only 3 percent of male victims suffer physical injury, but over 13 percent of female victims do. Twice as many female victims as male victims missed work because of domestic violence.

The disparity is likely the result of male abuse simply being way more violent and chronic than female abuse. Asking people if they’ve been hit once is relevant, of course, but in measuring the realities of domestic violence, the more important question is if you’re being hit frequently, being terrorized by violence on a regular basis, being stalked and controlled, or being threatened with your life if you try to leave.

Yes, no one should hit anyone else. But that statement is the beginning of the conversation about the problem of domestic violence, not the end of it.

And the Dish is channeling that conversation here. Josh Levin wants the NFL’s other abusers to held accountable:

The best analogy here is to the awful scourge of sexual assault on college campuses. In addition to going to local police, a student can have her complaint heard through a campus adjudication procedure, one that uses “the preponderance of evidence” as a standard of proof rather than a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. (As Emily Bazelon has explained, preponderance of the evidence means “reviewers must find only that it’s more likely than not that the sexual assault or harassment occurred.”) There are problems with these campus systems—the New York Times story on Hobart and William Smith Colleges offers a harrowing account of all that can go wrong—but at least they acknowledge the existence of something akin to institutional responsibility.

At least before TMZ released the Rice video, such a concept did not exist in the NFL. Teams have long operated on the assumption that they could say they’re “aware of the situation,” and then just pretend like nothing happened as soon as the news blew over. At some point, individual teams may decide that it makes sense for them to move to a preponderance-of-evidence standard—to decide that it’s in their best interest to cut a player if it’s more likely than not that he’s a domestic abuser. I don’t know if we’ve reached that point yet, but the Rice video has gotten us closer to that day. Seeing a sports star clock his fiancée in the face has changed something—for fans, for the media, and ultimately, I think, for the teams. If it doesn’t, then the NFL’s problem with domestic violence runs even deeper than we thought.

Alyssa Rosenberg finds wanting NFL Commissioner Goodell’s standard operating procedure:

When it becomes impossible to deny that bad news utterly, his task then becomes to respond in a way that has minimal impact on the NFL’s finances and on the week-by-week play on the field. As long as Goodell is willing to accept the public perception that he is dishonest or in denial, absorbing the damage on behalf of the league, I suppose it is a viable approach to protecting “the integrity of the NFL.” But no matter how much pain Goodell is willing to accept, this is a way of operating that leaves his league a little more battered with every incident. In life, unlike on the gridiron, sometimes it is better to take the hit and move expeditiously to heal from the damage.

Robert Silverman thinks the NFL needs more women:

If the league actually wants to solve the problem, instead of treating it as a particularly thorny public relations issue; if the league had a vested interest in trying to win back a semblance of trust from the 46 percent of their fan base that happens to be female and the unknown percentage of men who are equally repulsed? Here’s one solution: Hire more women and place them in positions of real power.

Abuse In The Public Eye, Ctd

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.

Abuse In The Public Eye, Ctd

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.

#WhyIStayed, Ctd

The conversation about domestic violence continues, with several reflections on Janay Rice. Robin Givens shares a personal experience:

People ask why I didn’t leave after the first time he hit me. But you feel such inner turmoil and confusion. You want it to be only one time. And for three days after that incident I did the right thing. I said: “Don’t call me. I never want to see you again.” But then you start taking his phone calls. Then he asks to see you in person, and you say yes to that. Then you have a big giant man crying like a baby on your lap and next thing you know, you’re consoling him. You’re the protector. One minute you’re running from him, the next you’re protecting him. And being a black woman you feel you want to protect your man. You think, the black man in America has it so difficult anyway, so now you’re turning them in. It feels like the ultimate betrayal.

Feminista Jones expands on the race angle:

These events have forced the country to face difficult truths about how prevalent domestic and intimate partner violence (DV/IPV) is in America.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an estimated 1.3 million American women experience DV/IPV each year. Women make up 85% of the victims of DV/IPV. Despite this, most cases are never reported to the police and most women are victimized by people they know.

And for Black women, it’s an even bigger problem: Black women are almost three times as likely to experience death as a result of DV/IPV than White women. And while Black women only make up 8% of the population, 22% of homicides that result from DV/IPV happen to Black Women and 29% of all victimized women, making it one of the leading causes of death for Black women ages 15 to 35. Statistically, we experience sexual assault and DV/IPV at disproportionate rates and have the highest rates of intra-racial violence against us than any other group. We are also less likely to report or seek help when we are victimized.

Emily Bazelon considers Janay Rice’s position:

As Jodi Kantor wrote in the New York Times, “it’s not at all clear that she views herself as a victim of abuse.” Palmer married Rice the day after he was indicted for hurting her. She has stood by his side at news conferences and rallied to his cause on social media. She tried to take the burden off Rice’s shoulders in the spring when she said, “I do deeply regret the role that I played in the incident that night.”

Rice and Palmer met in high school. They have a child together. She’s probably financially dependent on him. She has a lot of reasons to back him up. But that doesn’t mean prosecutors should take her statements at face value, Gandy said, or excuse Ray Rice because Janay Rice is still with him. Maybe she’s staying because she’s afraid to leave. When domestic violence ends in murder, it’s often after the victim tries to get out of the relationship.

Caitlin Dickson focuses on the impact of Rice’s firing on his family:

Almost everyone except Janay Rice applauded the move, though questions remained as to whether, contrary to what Goodell has said, the NFL saw the second video prior to its public release. But Monday’s news, and Janay Rice’s subsequent response, raised a different set of questions for domestic violence experts that highlight just how complicated the issue of domestic violence is.

While Rice inarguably deserved to lose his job, could the NFL have done more to ensure that he gets help? By suspending him indefinitely, did the NFL do more to disassociate itself from Rice’s heinous actions than to make the player, their employee, take responsibility for them? After all, the new domestic violence policy does not require offenders to go through any kind of counseling before they can petition for reinstatement after a year. What incentive does Rice have to change his behavior?

Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, the controversial GOP pundit flirting with a presidential run, describes another reason why some abuse victims stay:

There are situations in which domestic abuse is so violent and dangerous that nothing short of a total separation from the abuser is the only way of assuring the physical and emotional safety of the victim(s). But there are situations, especially where there is strong spiritual and community support, in which the best option may be counseling or mediation or other less drastic measures. This does not in any way excuse the act itself, but it may help prevent further harm: the harm caused by children growing up without a parent; the harm of losing economic opportunities that would help to strengthen the family; the harm to the community of destroying a family unit. While I firmly believe that individual freedom is essential to a healthy democracy, I also believe that a strong family is the foundational unit of a healthy society.

Often the knee-jerk reaction to the shock of violence and other betrayals of trust within relationships is for the aggrieved party to leave and never look back. In the heat of the moment separating two highly emotional people might be the best option until their emotions cool. But to imply that a woman or man is displaying weakness by staying in a relationship, or conversely, showing strength by leaving, is far too simplistic. Often it takes great strength to overcome difficult issues in a relationship. There should be a determination on the part of both parties– as well as sometimes courts, counselors, pastors and other community resources – as to whether the relationship is worth saving, and if so, what steps should be taken to try and heal the wounds and rebuild strong bonds of trust. When a family is involved the stakes are too high not to try.

Abuse In The Public Eye, Ctd

A reader is worried:

My first thought on hearing that the Ravens finally cut Ray Rice was that his wife is now in even greater danger.  How long before he works himself up into a rage over his lost career and blames her?  And what will he do to her then?  If the Ravens and the NFL had acted immediately, and if strings hadn’t been pulled to allow Rice to avoid jail time, maybe Janay Palmer would have gotten the counseling she needs and found the courage to leave her abuser while he was at least temporarily unable to inflict more pain on her.  As it stands now, as the Ravens and the NFL concentrate on “moving on” and the media eventually segues to the next Big Story, Palmer is in worse jeopardy than before – a lot worse.

Another ties in a related thread:

I think that #whyistayed and #whyileft are really powerful and valuable ways of helping people understand the victims’ perspectives. I wonder if a #whyiabused or #howistopped conversation would also be possible. (Certainly, anonymity would be required, as admitted abusers would be vilified.) I don’t want to suggest that the two paradigms are equal, but I think that a critical part to ending the cycle of abuse is to get the abusers to understand where their rage comes from and how to deal with it.

Another zooms out:

The Ray Rice video not only highlights the horror of domestic violence, it also shows the sanitizing effect of words alone.

We should have been able to deduce what had happened in the elevator, but many chose not to. The reasons are many and varied but the results were the same, denial of the intensity of the attack. The video eliminated that ability.

The same thing was true of the Abu Ghraib photos. The sanitizing slogan of “enhanced interrogations” could no longer hide the horrors that were going on. Seeing what stress positions actually meant was shocking.

Our ability to dismiss actions as not as bad as they sound, seems also to be effected by how much we support the perpetrators. Look at how many supported Ray Rice or his version of events until this video came out. Fans, teammates, coaches, all offered support until now. Look at how many still support George Bush and Dick Cheney. Let’s use the latest Ray Rice video not just to discuss domestic violence, but apply its lessons to broader aspects of public life.

Another is roughly on the same page:

I appreciate the mimetic appeal of sports as warfare, but must the NFL leadership – namely Commissioner Roger Goodell – do their best Donald Rumsfeld impressions as well? To me anyway, the parallels are uncanny. When chronic prisoner abuse and torture turned up in pictures from Abu Ghraib, Rummy and the Bush administration expressed shock and outrage. They claimed to have no idea about the violent misbehavior of “rogue individuals” but promised to get to the bottom of it with promises of harsh justice and zero tolerance. Of course, only the small fry unlucky enough to find themselves caught in the picture frame were punished. Execute a “find and replace” search of “Rumsfeld” for “Goodell” and “Lynndie England” for “Ray Rice” and voila, you hardly have to rewrite the story.

Then, of course, there is the deplorable way both institutions serve the needs of ex-soldiers and ex-players with traumatic brain injuries. In February, 41 senators voted against a $24 billion dollar VA funding bill to create 27 new facilities (in particular, satellite centers to deal with TBI). And now,only two days ago, NFL lawyers filed a motion to narrow the class of petitioners eligible for the league’s $765 million dollar TBI/Concussion settlement (see ya, NFL Europe players). They also moved to lower by 75% payouts to those who also suffer strokes. In years past, the NFL illegally administered Toradol, an anti-inflammatory, to its players. Toradol has been linked to strokes (it would not surprise me in the least if they sprayed Agent Orange on the gridiron to kill weeds).

I can’t think of a better way to end this two-step than to fire Goodell and hire Robert Gates to clean house. Without a Congress to gum up the works, Gate’s moral decency and competence might just save the NFL from itself.

The reader follows up:

I did a Google search to see if anyone else had noticed the similarities in style between Goodell and Rumsfeld. I didn’t find anything, but I did discover that Goodell’s father, Senator Charles Goodell, was good friends with Donald Rumsfeld. They along with Gerald Ford and others staged the Young Turks rebellion against the Republican House leadership in the early 1960s. Goodell, Sr. was a good Rockefeller Republican, an anti-Vietnam enemy of Nixon, who lost his seat to James Buckley. Rumsfeld survived by learning to keep his own counsel and evolve; seems Roger learned that lesson as well. (THIS aspect was covered in a Grantland article.)

#WhyIStayed, Ctd

The powerful response to video footage of Ray Rice’s attack continues. An anonymous Daily Beast contributor tells her story:

Later, I took a photo of my eye with my cellphone, the skin around it still swollen, the whites streaked with popped red veins. “Never forget,” I said to myself as I snapped the shot. And I didn’t. I knew at that point I’d leave him someday, and that I’d know when the time was right. But it wasn’t then.

For months, I did my best to carry on while no therapy appointments were made, no grand apologetic gestures were offered. The memory of that night surfaced in our almost daily arguments. They escalated to yelling and name-calling, but never over the edge he’d crossed that one night. “It was a weird side effect of the cold medicine,” he told me once. “If you hadn’t pushed me…” he said another time. “Abusive husband?!” he’d laugh.

With the distance of time, I slowly lost my power, the gravity of the event getting lighter and lighter until it didn’t seem like a big deal even to me. But I felt like a phony; on the outside, a strong woman raising strong daughters, and yet secretly married to a man who I’d castrate with my own bare hands if my girls ended up with anyone like him.

Ex-NFL player Kyle Turley wants commissioner Roger Goodell gone:

Football players deserve a league that will do better than aiding and abetting violence against women. Nobody in the NFL likes to see domestic violence. Nobody wants it around. Everybody — I think even guys like Ray Rice — if they saw it happening, would stand up for women.

Unfortunately, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his brass chose not to stand up. Instead, they decided to deal with this situation behind closed doors. They hoped they wouldn’t be exposed. Without this video, even though we knew exactly what Ray Rice had done, the NFL never would have changed its ruling on his suspension, nor would he have been kicked off his team.

Andrew Sharp agrees:

If owners don’t really care about the NFL setting some grand standard for the rest of society, that’s totally fine. But Monday should scare them. If the NFL ever really loses supremacy in sports and culture, Monday is a good preview of what that looks like. The league will become such a mess that nobody can bring themselves to care about the actual games.

It may not be Goodell’s job to solve domestic violence, but it’s definitely his job to make sure that scenario doesn’t happen. At some point, shouldn’t it matter that he’s failing miserably?

Stacia L. Brown argues that “making an example of Ray Rice isn’t enough”:

The league should take this opportunity to implement accountability programs that work in concert with counseling professionals, team owners, coaches, fellow players, and the fans. Since viral video has changed the stakes and made it impossible to keep the community out of off-field scandals, why not find ways to involve us more? Less is known about domestic abuse prevention programs, aimed to treat and educate abusers, than about intimate partner violence protection centers for victims. The CDC’s Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancement and Leadership Alliances (DELTA) describes its treatment model as one that addresses “the complex interplay between individual, relationship, community, and societal factors, and allows [facilitators] to address risk and protective factors from multiple domains.”

DELTA programs emphasize that engagement with communities — rather than isolation from them — play a critical role in reducing instances of physical aggression … It may be too late for Ray Rice to serve as study participant in an NFL-facilitated program patterned at DELTA’s, but the league would do well to consider making its future approaches to “example-making” more symbiotic and less singular.


A trending hashtag is providing insight into why abuse victims stay with their abusers. Alex Abad-Santos spotlights the powerful tweets, which are a response to the Ray Rice video:

Looming over this violent act is the fact that Janay went on to marry the man who beat her — leading some people, most notably the anchors on Fox News’s Fox and Friends,  to wonder why she, and other abused women, wouldn’t just immediately flee an abusive relationship. They don’t, because it’s not that simple.

Hence the hashtag #whyistayed.

It was started by writer Beverly Gooden, who wrote, “I believe in storytelling. I believe in the power of shared experience. I believe that we find strength in community. That is why I created this hashtag.” It began trending on Twitter on Monday night, as women used the hashtag to explain the psychology and the reality of their domestic abuse situations — some thought it would get better, others didn’t have a place to turn, many felt shame, several wanted to keep the family together. The testimonies are powerful to read, and they shred the idea that it’s easy for victims to leave their abusers.

Olga Khazan rounds up #whyistayed tweets and research on domestic abuse:

In 1999, law professor and domestic violence survivor Sarah Buel offered up 50 obstacles to leaving, most of which remain unchanged. She points out that the end of the relationship can be just the start of the most serious threats. A battered woman is 75 percent more likely to be murdered when she tries to flee than if she stays.

Welfare is the major safety net for single moms, but its monthly benefit levels are far below living expenses for a family of three. In a study of Texas abuse victims who returned home, the number-one reason cited for returning was financial, Buel writes.

Sarah Kaplan adds another important detail:

The National Coalition for Prevention of Domestic Violence estimates that 25 percent of women experience intimate partner violence, and according to the National Domestic Abuse hotline, it takes an average of seven tries for a victim to leave an abusive relationship.

The types of tweets you will find over at #whyistayed:

Abuse In The Public Eye

Today new video surfaced of NFL player Ray Rice hitting his now-wife. Dara Lind provides the backstory:

In February, TMZ posted a video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice dragging his apparently unconscious then-fiancée (now his wife Janay Rice) from an elevator at the Revel casino in Atlantic City. The incident led to Ray Rice’s arrest for domestic violence, though he was assigned to a pre-trial diversion program rather than being charged with a crime. It also led him to receive a two-game suspension from the NFL. League commissioner Roger Goodell, after facing harsh criticism for the relatively light punishment (first-time marijuana offenders generally get suspended for more games), he announced a new, much stricter league domestic-violence policy in August.

But the original video didn’t show exactly what had happened inside the elevator, leaving an opening for Rice supporters to assume that he was acting in self-defense. Janay Rice apologized for her role in the incident, which seemed to confirm this suspicion. Now, TMZ has released a second video (warning: it’s very graphic) from inside the casino elevator. It shows Rice punching Palmer — and makes it clear that what happened wasn’t a “fight,” but an attack.

After the release of this new video, Rice’s contract was terminated. Jonathan Cohn hopes some good comes from this episode:

The footage is not easy to watch, but it shouldn’t be. Domestic violence is violent. Maybe if more people realize that, more people will take it seriously.

Dave Zirin disagrees with that line of reasoning:

[I]f no one is going to talk about the welfare of the person who is actually subjected to the violence on that tape, let’s talk about it here. I spent the morning communicating with people who work on issues involving domestic violence and violence against women nearly every day of their lives. They all said the same thing, without dissent: releasing this tape to the world is incredibly damaging to Janay Rice. Just as we would protect the name of an alleged rape victim, just as we would not show a video of Ray Rice committing a sexual assault, we should not be showing this video like it’s another episode of Rich People Behaving Badly. If Janay Rice wanted to show this tape to the world, in other words if she had offered her consent, that is a different matter. But showing and reshowing it just because we can is an act of harm.

Josh Marshall is not settled on the ethics of showing images of domestic violence. But he does “have a general stance against those who think news reporters should be in the business of not reporting certain things to advance various purportedly good ends”:

Two examples. Recently we have used still photos from the videos of the beheadings of the two American reporters by ISIS. Not stills of the actual killings but from the parts before that happens. Like many other press organizations, we’ve never published the videos themselves. In recent days I’ve heard from a number of readers who’ve said we should not be publishing any of these photos, even in stories which directly relate to the videos themselves because this is somehow too upsetting or doing ISIS’s work for it.

Similarly, I know there’s a move afoot to refrain from publishing the names of mass shooters on the theory that this just gives them the notoriety they crave and which led to their atrocities. I disagree. These killings are facts. The ISIS beheadings are facts. There’s no reason to publish imagery of mutilated bodies. But within certain bounds, these things happened. And withholding critical information about what happened just doesn’t make sense. I’d go further and say that it’s actually wrong. Ugly things happen. We shouldn’t play games about reporting them. We shouldn’t get into mind-games about what a mass murderer might or might not have wanted. Journalists should just focus on doing their jobs.

Meanwhile, Coates thinks the “idea that it took today’s release to understand the gravity of things is insupportable.” He feels the NFL is simply in damage control mode:

The league suspended Rice for a meager two games for knocking his wife unconscious. The league now propose to suspend him indefinitely for….the same thing. This suspension only indirectly relates to the protecting women. It mostly relates to protecting the shield.

The NFL Tackles Domestic Violence

by Dish Staff

The NFL announced (NYT) a new policy yesterday:

N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday that he had mishandled the Ray Rice case, in which the Baltimore Ravens running back was suspended for two games after being accused of assaulting his fiancée. … Goodell said that effective immediately any N.F.L. employee — not only a player — who is found to have engaged in assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involved physical force will be suspended without pay for six games for a first offense. Second-time offenders will be banished from the league for at least one year.

Ian Crouch states, reasonably enough, that “Thursday’s announcement should be the beginning of the N.F.L.’s response to domestic violence, not the end”:

The players need to be involved in the league’s attempts to combat violence against women, not simply as the potential recipients of fines and suspensions but as participants in its prohibition and enforcement.

In a recent column for ESPN, Jane McManus argued that owners and players should insert regulations relating to violence and sexual assault directly into the collective-bargaining agreement. (The current one doesn’t expire until 2021, but this particular change could be made without opening the entire document up for renegotiation.) The C.B.A. already includes rules against taking performance-enhancing drugs and driving while intoxicated. Adding the kinds of punishments that Goodell introduced today to a document that both players and owners have signed on to would demonstrate that all sides appreciate the seriousness of the problem within their own ranks, and also that they recognize the N.F.L.’s opportunity, as a major part of the culture, to be not just an object lesson but an advocate for change.

Kavitha A. Davidson’s take:

This came about purely because of the sustained backlash against the league’s paltry two-game suspension of Ray Rice, and despite numerous attempts to defend itself while hiding behind the lack of a comprehensive domestic violence policy. As [Jessica] Luther notes, this also means that the NFL must have talked and actually listened to advocacy groups that tout prevention over punishment. This happened because feminists, and especially feminist sportswriters including Luther and Jane McManus (who brilliantly outlined how the commish could get domestic violence written into the league’s disciplinary measures) simply wouldn’t go away.

She adds that, “Instead of patting Goodell on the back for his far-too-late admission that he “got it wrong,” we need to stay on his case to make sure he actually gets it right.” Last but not least, Alyssa Rosenberg considers how the NFL treats women more generally. She admits, “Being a female sports fan can be a difficult thing”:

There are little indignities, like the cheesy pink gear that suggests our enthusiasms are second to our wardrobe choices. There are bigger ones, like the ongoing employment of scantily-clad cheerleaders to act as inducement to presumptively straight male players and eye candy for presumptively straight, male crowds. And to add injury to irritant, these women are subject to wage theft and degrading employment conditions.

And beyond that, there is the challenge of the players themselves. It is one thing to think that bad men can make great art, or that bad men can throw beautiful spiral passes or lay down devastating hits. It is another to root for men who occasionally act in ways that suggest that they think women are garbage, or that the truest way for a woman to be a fan is to be sexually available. I hesitate a little every time I buy a new Patriots jersey, worried that the man whose name I emblazon across my back might end up acting in a way that casts shame on my enthusiasm for him. Most of the time, I pick out gear with nobody’s name on the back.

Husband Beaters

Cathy Young investigates the less common kind of domestic violence:

Violence by women causes less harm due to obvious differences in size and strength, but it is by no means harmless. Women may use weapons, from knives to household objects—including highly dangerous ones such as boiling water—to neutralize their disadvantage, and men may be held back by cultural prohibitions on using force toward a woman even in self-defense.

In his 2010 review, Straus concludes that in various studies, men account for 12% to 40% of those injured in heterosexual couple violence. Men also make up about 30% of intimate homicide victims—not counting cases in which women kill in self-defense. And women are at least as likely as men to kill their children—more so if one counts killings of newborns—and account for more than half of child maltreatment perpetrators.

What about same-sex violence?

The February CDC study found that, over their lifetime, 44% of lesbians had been physically assaulted by a partner (more than two-thirds of them only by women), compared to 35% of straight women, 26% of gay men, and 29% of straight men. While these figures suggest that women are somewhat less likely than men to commit partner violence, they also show a fairly small gap. The findings are consistent with other evidence that same-sex relationships are no less violent than heterosexual ones.

And if the NRA succeeds, those convicted of domestic violence could still buy a gun:

Federal law already bars persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from purchasing firearms. S. 1290, introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), would add convicted stalkers to that group of offenders and would expand the current definition of those convicted of domestic violence against “intimate partners” to include those who harmed dating partners.

Aides from two different senators’ offices confirm that the NRA sent a letter to lawmakers describing Klobuchar’s legislation as “a bill to turn disputes between family members and social acquaintances into lifetime firearm prohibitions.” The nation’s largest gun lobby wrote that it “strongly opposes” the bill because the measure “manipulates emotionally compelling issues such as ‘domestic violence’ and ‘stalking’ simply to cast as wide a net as possible for federal firearm prohibitions.”

The NRA’s letter imagines a “single shoving match” between two gay men as an example of how the domestic violence legislation could be misused. “Under S. 1290, for example, two men of equal size, strength, and economic status joined by a civil union or merely engaged (or formerly engaged) in an intimate ‘social relationship,’ could be subject to this prohibition for conviction of simple ‘assault’ arising from a single shoving match,” the letter says.