Within the national conversation around domestic violence, it appears that there is not a clear definition of what it is. Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that exerts power and control over another person within the home. This can be expressed through emotional, sexual, financial and physical abuse. It is a common misconception that domestic violence is manifested solely through physical abuse which is why it can be difficult to detect the signs sooner. A physical altercation can be the culminating demonstration of the power and control that an abuser exhibits.
Although Janay Rice feels that something like the elevator incident will only happen once, it is likely that Ray Rice shows other forms of control that Janay is not recognizing as abusive behavior. Ultimately, Janay is just as invested in Rice’s career as he is and it is important for her to protect their dream. She does not condone Rice’s behavior, however, she feels that he should continue to play football and that the incident should be left behind. It has only happened once so she considers it a mistake that will not happen again.
However, our society is filled with violence. Whether it occurs in our homes or on the streets of our communities, violence is perpetuated. As we continue to allow violence to occur, we teach the next generations that violence is okay the first time. Our sons are taught to communicate with their fists rather than their words. Our daughters are instructed to give a second chance to their partner who abuses them. Violence is not an anomaly. Instead it is the standard pattern that we witness and endure. It only takes one time to traumatize an individual, end a life, or sustain the violent cycle that our country is in. But it starts at home.
Often we hear about violent incidents or even tragedies in America and yet there are very few conversations about how to prevent future occurrences. As a society, we tend to minimize the violence and say, “It’s only happened once, so it’s okay”. Violence is never acceptable and should not be tolerated. Once should be enough.