It seems like lately, you cannot turn on the TV or open Facebook without more news about what is going on with the NFL. It’s the beginning of football season and the media is in a frenzy as more information and abuse charges come to light. Most of you are probably getting tired of it.
For that reason, I hesitated in writing this post. But here’s the thing — this conversation, the outrage, the sympathy for the accused (Yes, it exists), the tougher restrictions and coming together to discuss prevention will all die down. Everyone will go back to their normal lives and the NFL will be as beloved as ever.
But the victims of abuse will continue to be abused. Just because the conversation goes away, domestic abuse and child abuse isn’t going anywhere.
As someone who not only lived in an abusive home, but later became a victim myself, I feel an obligation in times like these. If we all came together and shared our voices and connected with the audiences we had access to, we could TRULY begin to fight back and create an environment free of the shadows that these ugly secrets like to hide and thrive in. Because abuse is like a mold. It grows and infects and poisons everything you don’t see.
My hope is to throw some light on some of that ugly darkness.
Many people were shocked when they viewed the TMZ video of Ray Rice literally knocking his now wife Janay Palmer unconscious in an elevator. It was awful to watch, but what I want you to know is that this happens to thousands of women EVERY DAY. This is what abuse looks like. It’s shocking and ugly and painful and absolutely outrageous. If that is what an abuser does in a public elevator, I ask you to take a moment to wonder what they do in the privacy of their own homes. Think about that for a minute — let it sink in.
One of my first memories is of sitting on the floor coloring while my dad was choking my mom in the corner of our dining room. I remember thinking if I just stayed focused on my coloring and didn’t react, it would go away. That became normal life for me. Hiding, ignoring, not asking questions. Abusive homes are full of secrecy and fear. That is probably hard to imagine — when is the last time you witnessed someone being choked or punched or physically threatened? How do you think you’d react? How do you think your KIDS would react if they saw it happening to you? The fact that you probably assume that you’d jump into help, that your kids would become outraged and jump to your defense should serve as a wake-up call to the fact that NO ONE REACTS TO ABUSE HOW THEY THINK THEY WOULD.