WHAT MIGHT BE THE UNDERLYING CAUSE OF THE RAY RICE INCIDENT?

I hope that it will finally bring the need society pressure on abusers. Firm boundaries with severe consequences will stop abusers from abusing. We need to stop treating abuse like its a domestic situation. It isn’t. It is the result of one person deciding to exploit another for their own gain. Exactly the same reason why one person decides to shoplift, or rob a gas station, or … rape someone. The abuser is solving an emotional problem or a financial problem or any problem he has but hurting another human being and abusers have learned that they can do this quickly, easily and without a lot of consequences, to their partners. It works for them. We need to stop allowing it to work for them. I’ve written a lot about his topic www.bruisedwoman.com

When your abuser is in the public eye, it all gets a lot worse

Sept. 12, 2014 _ Over the last few weeks, I have watched the NFL Ray Rice saga with uneasy interest because not only is it tragic and unsettling just to watch such a video, my abuser is now on twitter tweeting about it as an expert NFL sports writer.

He is on a national stage, a guest on sports radio around the country, pontificating and judging about the players involved and their missteps and crimes.

I try to stay clear of his internet posts and really stay clear of him in general, but I have stumbled on his words a few times in these weeks.

It is enough to make me sick.

I pray that Janay Rice is staying away from all the media attention and internet comments. I pray that she is with people who truly love her and are showing her they care.

Victims of abuse can be retraumatized as quickly as a war Vet jumps from loud noises years after combat. It sucks.

I have shed more unexpected tears in the last few weeks than I have in many years. Suddenly, I’m caught of guard by a comment, a new item or watching my 15-year-old face when he sees the video as it pops up on TV during his morning bowl of cereal.

I wish that we lived in a world where domestic abuser are not allowed to get away with it. I know that Ray Rice hasn’t. In fact, I actually feel very good about the way society is generally responding to this incident. I mean, its very hard not to be shocked by a video of a man cold-cocking his girl in an elevator then dragging her out like a rag doll with little concern or remorse. But, I think finally we are turning a corner on acceptance of this crime. James Brown’s comments Thursday night were so comforting.

But, this incident also shows me again just how much my ex has gotten away with it and lives with little consequences. Even in this case, my case, where there is no he said she said. He is on court records admitting to all of his abuses, including choking me while I was 9 month pregnant, spitting on me, attacking me over and over. Actions that if he worked for the NFL, would get him banned for life. Instead, he has a national soapbox, a national platform, where he gets to play holier than thou and draws an interested crowd of thousands.

No one tells him that he is wrong. No one tell him that he is a criminal who has no right to do anything about this and he should keep his mouth shut. Using this issue as fodder for his public persona hurts me, and his two children, who struggle still with the pain of domestic abuse in their family, and is yet another moral and ethical line he crosses with ease. Just as shocking as prying his hands off my throat or watching an NFL football player punch is wife unconscious.

In the end, I have turned again to what helps me process this, writing and sharing my story.

And remember to be grateful. Grateful that I got out, not away, but tonight I go to bed in my own space that doesn’t include him. I also am grateful that I am not him. It does occur to me that he is like a wax-wing bird flying to close to the sun. If he is ever outed after the pressure he put on player after player, the NFL and now Goodell, the NFL commissioner, well … my guess is that there will be hell to pay.

I am grateful that I don’t have to live with that.

 

This morning, finally, maybe the beginning of social un-acceptance

Sept. 10, 2014 _ I think we might have turned a corner. I’m holding my breath, hoping its true.

Have we, our society, our male role models, reached a point where enough is enough and standing up against abusers is the right thing to do instead of an act not done in polite circles? God, I hope so.

As I’ve followed twitter and news media on the punishment of NFL player Ray Rice and his violence against his wife, I’ve been in tears a lot. It is nice to see players and other men call the abuser out over and over and leave the victim alone. She is not being blamed or shamed because of what he did.

Player after player have posted their comments about the punishment Rice received, and they are blunt and to the point.

Bronco’s player Chris Harris tweeted:

“The NFL should have zero tolerance for domestic violence. There is never a reason for any man to be violent towards any woman.”

Bless you Chris. Your words help so much. Your words will alone will stop some guy out there from hitting his wife. Your words will help heal a victim who thinks she caused the abuse. Your words will help put an end to this crime. Your words will save a life.

Abusers abuse because they can. Because they don’t loose too much if they are caught. Look at Rice. Convicted with a slap on the hand, two game suspension, endorsements in tact. … At first … just a few days later, the consequences of the choice to abuse just skyrockets for Rice. And other abusers are watching.

I know that my abuser, my ex-husband, and national NFL writer, is watching. He said the same stuff as Rice. He is sorry. He is horrified by his actions. He has to live with this horror. He, he, he, he … Never though does he say a thing about what I live with. Nightmares. Flashbacks. Shame. Broken dreams. …. Rough, yes. But, its hardest when I stumble on my ex’s latest sports show or column where he pontificates about the abusive NFL player … hard to watch, so I try hard to stay away from that. Because, when he does that, I know my abuser thinks he got away with it, and therefore, will do it again. Maybe not hit me, but he might sue me, or worse, hurt my children.

This morning, I have a little hope personally that my abuser will keep his head down and leave me alone. This morning, I am comforted by complete strangers, men of the NFL who are standing up and saying no more. This morning, I am reminded that my ex can hurt me again, but I am a survivor who has a good life despite him and because of me, my loved ones, my friends and family. This morning, I am hopeful that we are moving in the right direction and maybe we can put an end to this crime.

Abusers aren’t bad husbands or out of control guys with anger management problems. Abusers are criminals and need to be told over and over again, “NO. You can’t do that.” And they need to hear it from everyone. Not just their wives. That is how it will stop.

Fame was a lit match in a pool of gasoline

As I have written before, my ex-husband is a nationally known NFL sports writer. For years he has mingled with famous coaches, players and hangers-on all over the country. His opinion is sought after by radio shows and TV hosts. He has access to games, locker rooms and players’ personal lives. He has the best seats on Sundays. He has interviewed all the big name players current and past, including all the famous players of this year’s Super Bowl match up.

This has given him a certain amount of unearned credibility in a lot of areas, but for starters, as some sort of an athlete. However, he never played the sport, or any other sport growing up. He never coached the sport and never held a job related to the sport except as a reporter watching the game. And as a reporter, this is OK because he is not hired to catch touchdown passes or call plays. He is simply hired to write about what he sees.

However, over the years, there have been a number of players, coaches, and NFL administrators who have no respect for my ex because they wonder how this out of shape old guy thinks he has something to say about what they do for a living. For a while, I saw it as part of the deal and as a working journalist myself, I felt that it was OK. My ex was a good reporter, aggressive and willing to dig. That means something in the journalism world.

There were times when my ex-husband’s job was difficult to live with, though. He traveled a lot and when he was home, he worked a lot. He rarely took a day off, even when we went on vacation. His arrogance got him trouble at work from time to time, too, and he was nearly fired several times. Once, a player angry with what he had written about him, slammed him up against the wall in the locker room. That was a weird day. He became the story that day as reporters from all over the country called him for quotes about how he felt about a player crossing the line. Of course, it was horribly ironic and hard to digest that when he was treated the way that he had been treating me… well, it didn’t feel good. No one said to my ex “Well, you must have deserved it because you are such an ass.”… No, his boss, the NFL and the team demanded that the player apologize, which he did and my ex accepted, mostly.

There were a number of situations that came up through the years. Once my ex ticked off a radio host, I have no idea what about, and the host said on the air that my ex-husband shouldn’t have fathered our two-year-old son. I didn’t find out about it for several months because my ex didn’t tell me. But when I did, I call that radio host and told him to leave my child out of their ridiculous sports talk banter. He said he was sorry and he said he would never do it again. My ex thought I was overreacting.

He nearly lost his job one year when he ticked off an owner for his unprofessional blustering one night in a hotel bar and the owner called him out during a press conference. Owners, coaches and players call out reporters all the time for things they write, but this time it was about my husband’s behavior and I worried about the outcome for him with his boss. I also worried that my children might have to answer to it at school.

And just days after the birth of my second child, my ex and I both got in trouble because he refused to do a story called in to him at 10 at night. When it was clear that he was expected to do the story, he blamed me to his boss, my boss, and worked to keep his job. I was hurt, but went along with it because we needed that paycheck.

In the beginning of our marriage, my ex-husband used to tell me that he would not stay in the job for much longer because it wouldn’t work as we built our family. Covering the NFL included a lot of travel, long hours and little time for a home life. I agreed and believed that he meant what he said.

But when we started having children, my ex-husband changed his mind. He was no longer willing to give it up. Despite the few bumps in the road, my ex loved the limelight and the credibility that he otherwise would not have had. Like many men, he was becoming the job and the benefits of that were too hard to give up. For a while, I pushed for him to fulfill his promise of a less demanding job. I wanted a husband who would be there for Thanksgiving and Christmas, birthdays and important events in our lives. But after a while, I stopped asking and accepted that this was what made him happy.

But it didn’t just make him happy. It helped cover his insecurities. He gave him a sense of belonging and it gave him a sense that he was smarter, stronger, famous, different than most people and above it all. From the day I met him, he was always arrogant, but there was something more. In the mind of an abuser, this is a toxic mix. Abusers, I’ve since learned, believe they are “better” than everyone else and don’t have to follow the same rules as everyone else. Abuser believe that when they hit, it was deserved and that they are not the same as all the other abusers. My ex was getting nearly daily reinforcement that he was “special” because of his job. And to use an old phrase from my journalism days… He started to believe his own press.

The more fame he aquired, the less he cared about what he was doing to me. The more he believed that he was the victim to put up with such a witch for a wife and he was the one who was abused. He became more willing to physically hurt me because how dare I tell him anything or stand in his way to do anything he wants.

I really don’t know what would have happened if he had worked a more normal job. Maybe he still would have hit me. Certainly the first time he did hit me, he was just starting out and not that well known. But I believe that the dozens and dozens of people who stopped him in the store, or church, or anywhere we went to get his comments on his latest article, and his proximity to superstars and their lifestyle, led him to believe he was entitled to whatever he wanted and when I was in the way of that, well… I had no business getting in his way. I was wrong, in his eyes.

I have since learned a lot about domestic violence and the mind of an abuser and really, its likely that he would have hit me whether he was a sports writer or a truck driver, because the traits of the abuser are the same, but having a level of fame was just a flame to a pool of gasoline in our lives.