The Right Domestic Violence Questions

If I say, “Ray Rice,” what’s your first thought?

Your answer would depend on your views on and your knowledge of domestic violence. If you have little understanding of the dynamics of a violent relationship, you might be asking questions similar to these:

Why doesn’t she (Janay Rice) just leave him?

If he was that bad, why’d she marry him?

Why is she defending him?

What about her kids? Why doesn’t she leave for them?

It takes two to create a situation. What did she do to set him off?

Why should he be punished so severely for losing his temper this one time — why not let him off with a warning?

He apologized. Isn’t that enough?

Why does she have to be such a b****?

We don’t have all the facts. Who started it?

If you are a survivor of domestic violence, you might be asking questions like these:

Is she safe? Are her kids safe?

Is she isolated from her friends and family?

Does she believe he is the only one who will take care of her and her children?

She loves him, and he says he loves her. He says he’ll change. Has she gotten to the point where she no longer believes him?

Is she afraid to rock the boat?

Does she have any money, a place to go if she wants to leave, someone to trust, a plan?

Does she still believe she can fix her relationship if only she: did everything right; didn’t upset him; understood his burdens; didn’t trigger his temper; didn’t make him jealous; didn’t fail in some way to make him believe she loves him?

If she wants to escape, is she aware that the most dangerous time for her and her kids is when she’s trying to leave him?

If you are a person who works in the field of domestic violence, who tries to prevent it or to help victims escape and survive, you are probably asking:

Does she have a plan? Does she understand how dangerous it can be to tell her abuser she’s leaving?

Is she in touch with an organization that can help and guide her?

When she manages to get away, does she know what her legal options are? (Here at home, a victim can call Domestic Violence Action Center’s (DVAC) free legal helpline at 531-3771)

Does she know that she is not to blame?

There are other questions all of us should be asking:

How do we create a society where such abuse is not tolerated, not excused, not ignored?

What can we do to educate people and make them realize it is never right to blame the victim?

What can we, as individuals, do to make sure our lawmakers, police, communities, sports organizations, etc. treat domestic violence as seriously as any other type of violence, with appropriate consequences?

Again, the number for the DVAC free legal helpline is 531-3771. Or call 2-1-1 for a referral. If it is an immediate emergency call 9-1-1.

If you’re ready to leave, there are people who can help you.
Twitter: @JadeMoon1