Janay isn’t leaving Ray Rice: Domestic violence victims often don’t


BETHESDA, Md.,September 9,  2014 — Baltimore Raven’s player Ray Rice offered a public apology to his fans yesterday for knocking unconscious his then-fiancée and now-wife, Janay Rice, inside an Atlantic City casino elevator back in February 2014. Although the direct aftermath of the third-degree assault against Janay was caught on casino security cameras, Ray pled not guilty and will not face prosecution due to completing a pre-trial intervention program for first-time offenders.

Many question why Janay remains by the football player’s side. Some believe Janay is to blame for the attack against her and that she instigated the attack. Some claim Janay allegedly spit in the football player’s face, thus provoking him to assault her. Some feel disgust at her decision to marry him and support him during his damage-control press conferences. Many believe she is out for money and fame and that she is a gold digger. Why else would she marry him after the attack? Some have even suggested she likes being abused.

READ ALSO: Ray Rice and domestic violence: Should anyone be allowed to hit anyone anytime?

Victims of domestic violence and intimate partner abuse do not stay with or protect their abusers because they are gold diggers or because they are stupid or because they are masochists. Victims of abuse stay with their abusers due to biological, chemical, psychological, and societal factors.

When we meet someone and begin to fall in love, there is a natural chemical reaction that takes place in our brains. Jena Pincott briefly details this reaction in her book, Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes?: Bodies, Behavior, and Brains–The Science Behind Sex, Love, & Attraction:

“Your amygdala, the center of the brain that processes emotion, blazes with activity. At the same time you produce dopamine, a ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter that is associated with passion and addiction, and oxytocin, a hormone related to bonding.”

Bonding in love with another feels empowering. The love bond results in increased feelings of safety and trust, two very powerful emotions which induce euphoria and confidence. As we spend more and more time with the person we love, the love bond grows stronger as does our euphoria and confidence.

In the early stages of love, we simply feel high, which is natural, healthy, and necessary.

As time passes and we grow and experience life with the one we love, the high gradually normalizes. We are not as “high on love” as we once were in the beginning, yet the love bond continues to grow deeper and deeper. Our love matures. Trust matures. We no longer say, “I am so in love with you. I need you!” We simply say, “I love you,” and our actions speak for themselves.

Unfortunately, when we become bonded in love to an abusive person, the love high we experience is abnormally addictive in nature and is not allowed to naturally transform, grow, and mature. But unlike drug addicts who have been cautioned against trying drugs in the first place, victims of abuse do not have the foresight to choose between abusers and non-abusers prior to entering relationships.

Abusers are the most dangerous and insidious of drugs, because abusers do not approach victims with a label or written warning or the word “abuser” stamped across their foreheads. Nor do abusers announce themselves and their intentions by stating:

READ ALSO: NFL: Did Ray Rice really get off too easy?

“I’m an abuser. I’m going to lie to you about everything, from my childhood to my hopes and dreams, in order to earn your trust. Once your trust in me is established, you’ll be more inclined to forgive me and feel sorry for me when I harm you. You will forgive me when I cheat on you, call you a whore, abuse your children, criticize your family and friends, and force you to give up your job and other creative projects. You’ll even protect me from prosecution and public ridicule. I chose you because I can see you’re a good person, and good people always blame themselves for what happens to them in life. You’ll even blame yourself when I knock you unconscious.”

No. Abusers are not gracious enough to reveal the truth, upfront, that they will cause inevitable harm. Instead, abusers do the absolute opposite when they first meet potential victims.

In the early stage of relationships, abusers groom their victims with over-the-top attention, love bombing, and an over-abundance of promises of protection and loyalty. Grooming feels good to victims. Grooming serves as instant gratification and intensifies the natural love bonding process, making love with an abuser feel unreal and like no other love the victim has ever experienced. The love and trust a victim feels for the abuser is intense and intoxicating, like a drug.

Then the inevitable betrayal occurs, because when we become bonded in love to an abusive person, the high is always prematurely interrupted and ambushed.

These ambushes are called betrayals and come in many forms:

  • Back-handed compliments criticising something the abuser once praised.
  • An actual backhand or punch to your face or body.
  • Broken promises or broken trust. Your abuser lies to you or cheats on you.
  • Withholding of sex or money or communication, things that your abuser once freely provided.

As a result of these betrayals, the victim experiences confusion, shock, and trauma. A new type of bond is formed: a betrayal bond often referred to as a trauma bond. The victim does not see these betrayals and traumas for what they are due to the immediate onset of cognitive dissonance. In this state of confusion and dissonance, the victim attempts to make sense of two co-occurring yet opposing bonds: the love bond and the betrayal bond. And because the love bond feels better and is perceived and preferred by the victim to be “the bond” that holds the couple together, victims, in a state of hypervigilance, attempt to dismiss and minimize the betrayal bond and do whatever they can to build, nurture, and maintain the love bond.

Therefore, it can be concluded that by the time the first betrayal or trauma event takes place, the victim is already an addict. The betrayal and trauma event simply seals the addiction, making it that much harder to quit the relationship.

READ ALSO: Ray Rice: What makes him tick is the same thing that ticked him off

This can explain why Janay Rice may have married Ray Rice. Not only did she desperately want to prove her love and devotion to Ray, she wanted to minimize the betrayal, and marrying Ray meant Janay would no longer be obligated, under the law, to testify against him. Essentially, if she is not obligated to address the assault/offense against her, the sooner the offense, the betrayal, can be forgotten and put in her past.

Ironically, instead of blaming the abuser for the betrayal and abuse, the victim blames him/herself for causing the betrayal, “I did not show him/her enough love. That’s why this happened. What can I do to make up for this? How can I make sure this doesn’t happen again? I want to be seen as his/her soul mate and the love of his/her life again! I need to get back to that place in his/her heart.”

Although this type of self-talk comes from a place of fear, depression, and dependency, victims of abusive and toxic relationships believe love, euphoria, and confidence continue to guide them. This denial is the destructive irony of cognitive dissonance, the same cognitive dissonance that takes hold of all addicts and keeps them addicts.

READ ALSO: Ray Rice will play in the NFL again

The Harvard Medical School Help Guide website provides further evidence of how addiction hijacks the brain:

“At this point, compulsion takes over. The pleasure associated with an addictive drug or behavior subsides—and yet the memory of the desired effect and the need to recreate it (the wanting) persists. It’s as though the normal machinery of motivation is no longer functioning.”

Like a drug addict who is incapable of quitting their drug of choice cold turkey, victims who fall in love with abusers simply are not chemically capable of quitting their partners, their drugs, either, immediately after the first betrayal be that a punch, lie, affair, manipulation or other assault.

In addition to the compromised and traumatic brain activity of a victim in the aftermath of abuse, there is another external factor that makes leaving and breaking free from an abuser that much harder: the collective, societal perpetuation of the assumption that abusers get better and that abusers can change.

READ ALSO: Ray Rice has NFL addressing abuse, but what does that mean?

All victims have heard, read, or been influenced by this assumption at some point in their lives. This assumption serves to perpetuate a victim’s cognitive dissonance: “I know what he/she did to me is not right, but everyone says we should give people second chances and that counseling or anger management classes will work. He/she just needs to become aware that he/she has hurt me.”

Next Page: The punishment and the crime

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  • very informative and helpful
    thank you

  • Abbri

    Another very important reason that many don’t leave–fear of violent retaliation if they do so. We all hear the too-frequent stories of women (and sometimes their children) who are beaten or killed after leaving an abuser. And many times the abusers will threaten victims, directly or indirectly, with this if they ever leave (whether they actually mean to follow through or not).
    When I was with my physically abusive ex-husband, two very high-profile murders of this kind happened in my suburban area within a few months of each other, one involving the murder of a young girl as well. They scared me so much that it was years afterwards before I felt brave enough to leave with my two children, and that was only because I’d reached the point where I understood that nothing, not even death, was worse than remaining with him. (BTW, restraining orders are virtually useless as protection from that.)
    Another important reason–abusers, whether violent or not, almost universally display over-the-top jealousy (which is really control), causing their partners to spend an inordinate amount of time proving to the abuser that she is faithful and loves only him.
    So when a victim pulls away or attempts to leave an abusive relationship, the abusers will very often accuse the victim of leaving for another man (or woman). This enrages them even further, making many victims fearful of violent retaliation,
    Even if there is no threat of violence, victims will often stay just to prove that they are not the “whores” they are often called by the abuser. This was the case with me in my other relationship with an abuser (a sociopathic, mostly non-violent man, who was “only” verbally, emotionally, and psychologically abusive). I left him several times, only to return to prove I hadn’t left for another man.

    • Paula Carrasquillo

      Thank you, Abbri, for your candid and thoughtful comment and additional points. We need to be heard. We need to be believed. We deserve to be heard. We deserve to be believed.

  • Carrie Reimer

    I commented on another news article on our local news paper about this exact same thing. In BC in the past 7 weeks 7 women have died at the hands of their significant other. There is outrage amongst the DV advocates because we don’t have definitely DV laws and courts, they want more police assigned to DV. All very valid concerns and demands but; the problem will always exist and it doesn’t matter how many times the police arrest him women will continue to go back until they understand there is nothing they can do to “fix” the abuser, until they can leave the relationship knowing they can support and feed their children and put a roof over their heads, and until there is a support system in place to help these women with PTSD, a support system that doesn’t condemn them for their own abuse, a system that is in place for the long haul, like sometimes years. When society stops says,”:just get over it” and starts saying “what can I do to help?”
    I was not afraid of what he would do if I left, he always begged me to come back, that is why I stayed because I had convinced myself that he really did love me and I could fix him and us with my magical love. Yes I knew his actions were not the actions of a loving person but by the time the abuse escalated to that level I was long last consistent rational thought, I had accepted the totally unacceptable and was in so deep, dysfunctional had become my normal and my day to day struggle to keep my sanity and discern fact from fiction occupied my every waking moment.
    I could not leave without my truck it was the only way I could make money but I lost it eventually anyway and the abuse took an enormous toll on my health that i will struggle with the rest of my shortened life. Women often feel they have no choice, they made their beds and they have to lay in it now because they feel unable to leave.
    We need MUCH more education and understanding of the victims and society and once that is done then the police can do their job effectively

    • Paula Carrasquillo

      Thank you, Carrie. XOXO

  • CE

    She has no credibly at all. She did not study psychology or anything even remotely related. It is possible and proven that men who do programs and actively seek out help of a professional can change their behaviors. Which he did do. It is wrong to make statements about her relationship and to peg her as a typical “victim”. She may have stood by his side because she saw him getting the help he needs and supported that.. this seems to put down women and victims but making them out to be unintelligent and “addicted”. This is written by someone with no professional knowledge of the subject.

    • 90291

      Actually, this is a very commonly accepted and researched understanding of the psych of abuse victims. As a survivor of an abusive relationship, I can assure you, this article is highly accurate.

      • Acutally

        As another survivor of an abusive relationship, I disagree this article is “highly” accurate. While a mentally healthy individual will not stay in an abusive relationship, is it her unhealthy attachment affecting her ability to reason, or has the fame and money made it worthwhile? IMO, she is afraid of losing those. I also see a divorce coming later if he is unable to retain the lifestyle she has become accustomed to.

        • 90291

          This article is definitely accurate for my experience. My abuser was absolutely loving and doting, more so than anyone I had ever dated. When the abuse started and I tried to leave, he would cry on bended knee and profess his love and promise never to do it again. So I stayed. And the crazy dichotomy that this article explains unfolded again and again, we’d swing from amazing in love, to him physically attacking me and throwing me out in the middle of the night over some bogus reason he had made up to be mad at me that day. When I tried to leave him, he would show up at my door and convince me all over again. I was definitely addicted. I was still in love with the first man I met. I was in love with the way he had made me feel initially and when things started to go awry, I wanted to believe that that first love was still there. People don’t stay with people who knock them unconscious if they didn’t have that attachment first, money or no money. This article definitely explains my experience to a T, and I wish more people were aware of this information so they knew better than to get duped by outpourings of love right out of the gate that get you hooked. I know levy a much more gradual screening process and because of it, and the work I’ve done with therapists who said exactly what this article says, I am now in a healthy relationship.

          • Actually

            Each experience has similarities as well as differences. Congrats on your healthy relationship! May everyone know that joy!

        • Rick34

          As I mentioned in another comment: “While money can also cloud judgement, I think one’s judgement being clouded by love and the fact that Rice is her baby daddy can also be a factor. I also don’t think it’s fair to continue attacking Janay by calling her a gold digger. There are a lot of things at play here and it’s just kind of lame for you guys to sit on your computer and pass judgement on a woman who has clearly undergone enough abuse.”

          If you really are the survivor of an abusive relationship, then why are you attacking the victim here?

          • Actually

            Because IMO she is willing to continue to be abused for the money. I do not think this was the first time either, nor the last. What kind of message does that send to her daughter? In short, it is my belief that due to the fame, money and celebrity, she is willing to sacrifice her daughter to this lifestyle. Is she really a victim if she is staying for the big money? Not in my opinion.

    • ponds

      Um, first of all, the incident just happened, so any counseling hasn’t even begun to make a dent into Rice’s issues that led him to beat someone he supposedly cared for. Also, staying in a relationship with someone who beat you as badly as Rice beat Janay is definitely a sign that a person’s attachment to a relationship is affecting their ability to reason. It is not saying that victims are unintelligent, that is not what addiction is. Addiction and staying in abusive relationships has nothing to do with intelligence and everything to do with the pathways our brains build around a given situation or substance. Gambling and shopping are also addictions, but there aren’t any substances involved. There are many highly intelligent people who become addicts. I don’t care if someone is getting help or not, if they can do it once, they can do it again, and when I think about someone doing that to me, I don’t see a second chance in that person’s future. If my rational mind had been corrupted by the manipulations of another, though, then who knows.

      • CarlySimon

        Ummmm…….”…the incident just happened,…”?

        Oooookaaay, Rip van Winkle.

        • ponds

          Before you get all snarky, what I meant by “just happened” was that not even a year has passed since this has happened, which means that there really hasn’t been enough time for therapy or any type of rehabilitation to have really taken hold.

          • RevWarRev

            The incident happened in February. That is enough time for therapy to ‘take hold’, but only if he was committed to changing his behavior. They should both be in therapy, but he has supposedly completed the court mandated treatment.

          • ponds

            6 Months is definitely not enough time to repair the kind of damage caused by an incident like this, nor its root causes. The PTSD someone can experience after an attack like this can take awhile to surface and years to address.

          • CarlySimon


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  • mike

    Oh hogwash. She wants $ she’s just waiting for the next episode to file for divorce and take his @$$ for half his worth!

    • truth

      Awesome, just keep abusing the victim (who was knocked unconscious, dragged and spit on) by calling her a gold digger.

      • Degrin5

        She clearly has no respect for herself…..why should mike?

        • truth

          Wow. It is attitudes like these that let domestic violence prevail. That is exactly the rational that abusers use to keep their victims down, @Degrin5:disqus. Way to go.

          • Degrin5

            No, its attitudes like Janay’s that let domestic violence prevail. And sets a bad example for all other women.

          • truth

            Easier said than done, @Degrin5:disqus.

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  • Natural Mystic

    This is the dumbest thing I have ever read. Totally clueless!!! Janay married Ray for the money.. Nothing else!!!

  • Scott

    Here is my problem, All these attributes are being painted on to both parties here, without evidence. I have a lot of questions that remain unanswered, and if you have information that can answer these questions please direct me to it.

    1) Did Ray Rice have a history of abuse? or is this the first and only incident of this nature?

    2) are there any interviews or evaluations of his fiancee that show she fits this mold of “co-dependent victim” she is being labeled with? Do we feel comfortable just labeling her choices as that of warped “victim” thinking? Or is she a capable women who evaluated the situation and made the choice she thought best? don’t we have to respect her choice instead of labeling them in a way that implies she is incapable of making a better choice?

    3) has anyone obtained a statement from the DA regarding why no charges were filed?

    4) How have they been as a couple since the incident? have they seen improved results and interaction as a couple through counseling and outside help? If this was a one-time incident can they recover to have an actual healthy and loving marriage?

    I am quite concerned at how quickly we demand everyone fit a particular narrative. Relationships are complex, and yes, the video shows something quite monstrous, but as far as I can tell, we do not as a people, know their relationship well enough to paint it fairly using such broad brush strokes. I see this as “experts” painting these two humans on to stock character molds, in a way that fits a conclusion they arrived at long ago.

    I do not defend Ray Rice’s actions. But I do not condone the way we go after people with zeal, championing our own morality by ravenously pecking the flesh of easiest target.

    I have one more question, and this is not to justify anything that happened, but a call to be even handed in our outrage. Where were all these Domestic violence agencies when Solange was attacking Jay-Z on an elevator Camera?

    We all (the media and internet) let ourselves chuckle at the scene, but few agencies decried this an intolerable act. Yes degree matters, obviously there is a difference between a small female attacking Jay-z and an NFL player clocking a small female, but is the root problem not the same? If Domestic violence is to be taken seriously we must be just as harsh on all people who choose violent force as a means to solve problems in their intimate relationships, romantic or family.

    • sol

      If staying with someone who hit you so hard that you were knocked unconscious, and then dragged you on the floor and spit on you, isn’t a sign that this woman’s judgement may be overshadowed by the affects of an abusive relationship, then I don’t know what is. I don’t think this author is making a claim as to what specifically is happening in the Ray Rice case, but is instead explaining what generally happens in abusive relationships. Any man who would hit his woman so hard that she was rendered unconscious most certainly has deep seeded issues that go way beyond one incident. It all starts with emotional and verbal abuse that puts down and keeps down the victim.

      • Mike

        I think Scott made a very good point by posing the types of questions that are often overlooked when examining these types of scenarios. The fact he poses those questions is key to why your counter-analysis is in error. The author does in fact explicitly convey in several parts in the article (as do you in your not so slyly implicit reasoning) that this scenario is indicative of the typically lauded “deep seeded” abuser against a powerless and unwitting victim. The author suggests that Mrs. Rice is not stupid in the first paragraph and uses the remaining ones filled with clinical jargon wrapped in benevolence to state basically that she was/is.

        The fact that the couple has chosen to attempt to move past the incident is more indicative that external evaluations hold no foothold on the reality…regardless of how sound or even true they may be. The argument by authority (“i’ve done research”, “I was once a victim”…etc) only serve to maneuver around the fact that these two individuals possess full knowledge of the incident, context and mitigating factors.

        Of course, the affliction and crass behavior afterward exhibited in the video by Mr. Rice is unwarranted and can be described as brutal. The emotional impact of the footage however does not in and of itself give an opinion license to disregard the above mentioned context. It is also fallacious to assert that just because some domestic violence victims exhibit self-deprecation that Mrs. Rice fits that analysis because her judgement does not correlate to your own (or the authors).

        • Degrin5

          “The fact that the couple has chosen to attempt to move past the incident is more indicative that external evaluations hold no foothold on the reality…regardless of how sound or even true they may be.”
          This statement contradicts itself. You are saying that a true statement has no foothold on reality. Truth IS reality. I think that was the whole argument to begin with….

          • Mike

            Forgive me for not being clear. Truth can conflict with reality when context and perspective are included in the consideration (refer to the old adage of the different types of lies given by Mark Twain). Meaning that speaking just in terms of “external evaluations” ones ability to comprehend and the very qualification to evaluate is on shaky ground. In other words too often Truth IS subjective.

            …and yes that includes video footage without the context that none of us aside from the two parties in that elevator possess.

        • Shelly09

          As someone who has experienced domestic violence and worked with domestic violence shelters, I can say to the best of my knowledge and experience that there is a pattern when it comes to DV. These behaviors do not exist in a vacuum and a lot of research and studies have been done to identify these patterns so as to better treat, prevent and heal. Sure, we aren’t inside this relationship, but to deny that this isn’t a case of domestic violence, one where the victim blames herself and one where the victim has chosen to stay, despite the severity of the abuse and potential risk to her life, does fit the typical pattern of domestic violence relationships. No relationship disagreement should end with one of the people being rendered unconscious. This is pretty much assault with a deadly weapon, as Rice is a professional athlete, and I’m not really sure why he isn’t in jail. Unfortunately, many women come to their abusers aid, and deny the abuse or blame themselves, and unfortunately, this allows abuser to continue abusing.

          • Mike

            Thank you for your insight. As it happens I have been a victim not only of false accusation of DV but also a victim of DV myself at the hand of the woman to whom I am still married. While it can be granted the dynamics are somewhat different for w->m DV, many of the fear, control and coping mechanism are the same. There can be no argument that DV is a blight on civilization and the world would be a better place without it. Unfortunately, our opinions to that effect or our experiences that bolster that opinion one way or the other in and of themselves do not give us the authority to deduce if this relationship/incident met that threshold. To be clear DV is not typically a single event (battery) but a cyclical campaign that involves inflicting trauma (physical and otherwise) upon the other party.

            As the previous poster pointing out what you and others have done is attached a strawman precept of domestic violence to the Rice’s relationship matrix and assigned victimization when she herself has refuted that analysis. The only fall back is to suggest her perspective is faulty, ulterior or unimportant.

            Having said that I don’t disagree with anything you said about DV. I am sure this story will bring about further discussion and hopefully illuminate how serious and detrimental DV is. At the same time if the Rice’s claim that the episode was a point of regret of which they have moved past and are trying to heal I think we will be using them as sacrificial lambs to that endpoint.

    • Sarah1472

      I don’t quite understand your comment. What this article is doing is applying commonly acknowledged patterns of abuse to a publicly reported case in order to address the judging media and their questions with a more educated response and explanation of this vicious cycle.

      As someone who has had the unfortunate experience of not one, but two abusive relationships, one which ended up becoming physically abusive, and one that was emotionally and verbally abusive, I can assure you: the pattern is the same and is exactly the same as what this article describes. Abusers share common characteristics and I had to learn the hard way what these red flags are. I wish to god that I had read an article like this before I had starting dating so I could better gauge the warning signs. Unfortunatlely, the warning signs and patterns that this article discusses are not taught and made aware to the masses.

      As the article opens, abusers do not come with warning labels. We as a society need to better educate people of the symptoms and signs of abuse, as well as develop a better understanding of what is happening within a cycle of abuse, which is why I applaud this article. The most difficult part is that abusers are extremely charismatic, and like the article mentions, shower you with so much love at first, that it’s easy to get blindsided. It happened the exact same way that this article describes in both of my abusive relationships. You would have thought that I had learned after the first one, but the second was so charming and loving at first, and after my self esteem had been wrecked after the first relationship, I was duped again.

      Any person, male or female, who is an abuser, needs to be identified and avoided. Most abusers do not seek help, unless it is court appointed, or highly publicized. When my second abuser did agree to get counseling to “shut me up,” he manipulated the entire process to the point that my therapist pulled me aside and said that he would only see me one-on-one and that he felt he needed to say that I should end this relationship, because my partner was not going to change. Thanks to that man’s actions and therapy, I was able to get the help I needed to stop the cycle of abuse in my life once and for all. I am now in a much healthier and loving relationship. I never knew I could even have this.

      Sadly, many abusive men come from abusive childhoods, where they never learn empathy, something that can rarely be learned after a certain age. Both of my abusers grew up with abusive fathers who beat their mothers. And I felt sorry for them. I wanted to fix them. I wanted to help them overcome their past. What I didn’t realize is they couldn’t be helped. Not by me, and certainly my happiness should not be martyred in helping them. Not every man who experiences abuse growing up will become abusive, but the likelihood definitely increases.

      Any person who would hit someone they love so hard that they can’t stand up is an abuser, and abusers do share common characteristics. It’s all about power and control. There aren’t many things that can be easily generalized, but the patterns and characteristics of abuse are well documented. Healthy people do not hurt the ones the love.

      • bdrew

        You couldn’t possibly know any of what you are assuming about either of
        them or their situation. It is terrible when someone is a victim of
        domestic abuse, but not all altercations can be labeled as such even if
        there is violence involved. People make poor choices all the time
        because of rare or one-off situations, and there could be so many
        factors that lead to physical altercation, but that does not
        automatically mean this man and his family deserve to have their lives
        destroyed by this especially because there were no charges filed, and
        also because we don’t have all of the evidence. Say what you want about
        him being an jerk, but that doesn’t make him a monster. He was a first
        time offender as well in the eyes of the law, and we trust our laws and
        systems to make choices about these things on behalf of its citizens so
        we need to trust that they had all of the evidence. His little girl,
        Janay and Ray are all now headed down a very different path, possibly
        detrimental to the child, and their lives will never be the same. That
        is a very hard punishment to face, and I am sure they will both feel
        guilt and heartache for a lifetime no matter what the real situation was
        in the end. I don’t condone violence or abuse, but I also don’t
        condone destroying a person’s life based on speculation. Video or no
        video, we do not, and probably won’t ever, know the whole story.

        • Actually

          Seriously? Your argument indicates you identify with the abuser. Note: If there is violence involved, it IS DOMESTIC ABUSE. Yes, people make mistakes all the time, but if one of the mistakes is a physical altercation against a member of your family, your a domestic abuser. Then again, that’s not the only type of abuse, but that topic is for another forum.

        • slate

          He beat her unconscious. Then dragged her. That is abuse and yes he should face punishment because of it, and yes, that makes him a monster. I’m sorry, but I just have zero tolerance for people, male or female, who abuse people they claim to love. It is definitely a sign of a larger issue.

        • Tony90

          Excuse me, but if you beat your fiancé unconscious, that is domestic violence and it should definitely be labeled as such and the person who committed the assault most certainly needs to be in jail and have their life uprooted, as clearly the current situation isn’t working. HE destroyed his life and the life of his family. HE made a choice that resulted in this situation. Quit misdirecting blame here. I think we know enough to know that domestic violence took place, I don’t think we’re just speculating.

    • bdrew

      Completely agree with you. Way too many unknowns to be making blankets statements about their situation. I’m a woman, and I think women as well as domestic violence victims are done a great disservice by branding all situations the same and/or judging people without all the questions being answered first. People are way too quick to vilify someone or call people victims.

      • markmaker

        Sure, if there were just verbal accusations, I would agree that we don’t know the full story, and to back off. However… We can literally see him beating his fiancé unconscious, then dragging her and spitting on her. I don’t think we’re being quick to judge, I think we are calling a spade a spade.

    • bird

      completely agree w you scott. way too many oversimplified blanket statements, examples etc. as someone who has been abused both by family and partners, i think the questions you posed to be 100x more insightful and thought provoking than the author’s moralisitc, black-and-white message

    • Jabari

      Yeah, Scott. Your questions are the right one’s to answer. Unfortunately, many of the folks who are commenting on the incident have run up their personal “ladders of inference” — ladders that are informed by their own unfortunate personal histories (… as a former victim of abuse..) — and the average person is pretty much incapable of climbing down from that ladder and questioning their own assumptions. Especially on the Internet.

      It’s just maddeningly unfortunate that this family has been shattered because of a drunken fight.

      As a country, I wish we would all learn some modesty.

      • ponds

        This family was shattered because a man, who is a professional athlete and is physically dominant over 90% of the population, chose to beat his fiancé unconscious. This wasn’t a yelling match, shoving match, this was a brutal assault. I don’t know why everyone on this feed wants to downplay the severity of Rice’s actions as just a “bad night.” Regardless of what the surrounding circumstances are, that beating is something that no one can deny took place and it is severe enough to cause alarm. He could have killed her.

    • ponds

      I don’t think this article is trying to label Janay as feeble minded, I think this article is just trying to show how most people do not leave after an attack like this, because they are still in love with their partner, and how their partner most likely made them feel at the beginning, and want to believe the situation can be worked out. I think this points to a hopeful or wishful thinking nature, I don’t think this article is saying she is dumb. This article is saying she is could still be in love. I think this article makes many valid points, as to commonly shared understandings of abuse and is written to shine some light on a situation that others are more disdainfully judging. Love sometimes makes us do things sometimes we wouldn’t always do.

      Ignoring the fact that someone almost killed you and that statistics show that when someone does this, they are more likely to do it again, means a person is not weighing the safety of their lives with the information that is available. Even if this was an isolated incident, the severity of this particular incident is scary.

      You talk like this was just a bad night, a yelling match, a shoving match, but you gloss over the fact that Rice is physically dominant, not just over Janay, but over most people, and he chose to assert this dominance by beating her unconscious, instilling unquestionable fear of his power. He could have killed her hitting her this hard. You ask questions but really, isn’t it enough to know that he beat her so badly that she was knocked unconscious? Isn’t this cause enough for alarm? Should people get to beat someone so severely without reprimand just because the victim (and yes, Janay was the victim of this brutal assault, as I don’t see Rice lying on the floor unconscious) is too afraid to press charges?

      You make comparisons to the Jay-Z incident, but Jay-Z isn’t married to or engaged to Solange, nor do they have a child together or have to live together. I also doubt that Jay-Z is physically intimidated by Solange. Rice chose to use his power over a weaker person. Should anyone be allowed to hit anyone? No. Is there a difference when someone can drop someone like a sack of potatoes in a matter of seconds? Yes. Rice picked on someone half his size and half his strength. His fist was the end all be all. He chose to assert his dominance.

      It is bad advice to tell anyone that it’s a good idea to stay in a relationship after a beating this severe has taken place. This wasn’t a bad night, he almost killed her.

    • tracyp

      @Scott Without evidence? We can literally watch him beating her unconscious, then dragging her without remorse. You don’t see him hit her and then recoil out of shock for his own strength, and rush to her side to see if she’s okay. He knocks her out then drags her without care. She could’ve died. She could’ve been dead. He didn’t care. I think that’s all the evidence we need. These actions have no place in our society. There is always a way to resolve a conflict without hitting someone you love, and we most certainly as a society need to address this case for what it is if we ever want to put an end to domestic violence. I think every child, from day one, needs to be taught healthy conflict resolution. This needs to be taught every year. What happened here is not okay, no matter what the answers to your questions are. What happened here was abuse and Ray Rice should be in jail for it. The fact that he’s not in jail sends a message that beating a loved one unconscious is okay. It’s not.

  • leslie carlson

    why didn’t she leave? Because she’s an as*hole

  • PleaseCallSecurity

    and now you say?

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  • Working Man

    Well, she’s no longer married to an NFL player, just a wife-beater. Let’s see how long she stays with him now.

    • truth

      Did you not read the article? She will most likely stay by his side until either he beats her to death or she finally seeks help. Money pales in influence when the power of human bonds and manipulation are involved.

      • Working Man

        When the money runs out…so will she.

        • Actually

          I agree with you Working Man. She wants the semi fame and lifestyle. Otherwise, I think she will come to the conclusion staying with Ray isn’t worth it.

          • Rick34

            While money can also cloud judgement, I think one’s judgement being clouded by love and the fact that Rice is her baby daddy can also be a factor. I also don’t think it’s fair to continue attacking Janay by calling her a gold digger. There are a lot of things at play here and it’s just kind of lame for you guys to sit on your computer and pass judgement on a woman who has clearly undergone enough abuse.

          • Actually

            Your making an assumption as well as I am. It doesn’t matter why she is staying in the long run, because any reason isn’t reason enough for the damage it could do to her daughter alone mentally/emotionally. Also, don’t forget, plenty of abusers go on to abusing the children too. That is a variable many aren’t talking about.

        • RevWarRev

          No, she probably won’t. They are married and have a child, and the world is turning against him. She will stay with him as both an abuse victim and a martyr. It will be ‘her fault’; she will ‘be loyal’ while everyone elsevturns against him.

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  • D

    This article makes 0 sense. It’s doing the same thing other arm chair psychologists do: look to explain something it can’t. Why does anyone feel they know how Janay Rice feels, thinks, or wants better than she does? The public has not been a part of their relationship since it began and has no clue what it’s really like. She doesn’t have to be crazy, afraid for her life, a gold digger or “addicted to love” (really silly assertion) to choose to support Ray Rice. People are speaking for her and making her the face of something she may not want to be the face of. What if she doesn’t view herself as a victim? What if she does think that she may have actually played a part in this situation taking the massive turn that it did? What if there were things that happened before the video, things the public can’t possibly know that influenced the video? How do we know Ray and Janay were not trying to protect each other and keep their business in house? Maybe that’s why the rest of the video wasn’t released immediately.While I’ve never been involved in domestic abuse, I fully understand the desire to keep people out of the business of my relationship. Love and relationships don’t follow some basic formula for success. Everyone is different. These really can be 2 competent, individuals, with a long history of love between them with 1 bad night that went public. For them, that doesn’t have to erase their years together and what they’ve built. People are assuming she’s been abused before by Rice. How does anyone know that? The media coverage and the random articles about this situation are ridiculous, bias and click bait. No one knows more than the 2 ppl involved in that elevator that night. I don’t understand why they can’t be allowed to deal with their relationship in private.

    • truth

      Because, keeping it private is exactly what Ray Rice, and most abusers, want. My abuser had a lot of friends who defended him. He wore one face to them and one face to me, making me look crazy, limiting my access to support, isolating me from friends, and preventing me from getting away. I agree that we don’t know everything, but being hit that hard by someone you love isn’t just a one-time incident, it is the sign that something is very, very wrong. What happened wasn’t just a “bad night” with a argument and slight shoving match, what happened was VIOLENT ASSAULT by a professional athlete. Healthy people don’t hit the ones they love, no matter what the surrounding circumstances are. They seek help, they work it out, or they leave.

      By bringing this situation to light, people get the help they need. Sweeping it under the rug just enables a bad situation to get worse. Because of this silence, and beliefs that “what goes on in a relationship is private and no one else’s business,” many victims of domestic violence never get help. My abuser used that type of logic against me quite often. “Do you really want to ruin everything? Why would you want to embarrass us and embarrass yourself like that?” he would say. I became ashamed to admit that I was in an abusive relationship, because I had previously viewed myself as a smart, confident and capable woman. Surely I could fix this. I wanted to look strong and believe that we could work it out and have the crazy amazing love we had at the beginning (which this article accurately describes). I didn’t want to look like a fool by admitting anything was wrong. I was in denial. What I didn’t realize is that being strong is admitting what happened openly, identifying this behavior as wrong, holding the abuser accountable for his actions and moving on far far away from him.

      If this were just a case of accusations, then I would agree that it’s wrong to speculate. But we know for a fact that domestic violence has taken place and when a relationship has crossed this line, it is too much of a risk to stay in it. The choice to stay with someone who could potentially kill you is not a rational choice, no matter which way you slice it. If someone hits you, you need to move on. I don’t care what the circumstances are.

      • CarlySimon

        Sounds to me as though you ARE a smart, confident, and capable woman! Excellent commentary. Thank you for sharing. Rest assured that you have done some real good here today.
        My profound hope is that you have found someone that appreciates all that you are, and is as gentle, loving, and caring as I know you deserve.

    • RSL

      Loved the article, never experienced domestic violence but as a woman I just find myself very interested in reading more about it, since more and more women that I know of have come out and spoken about their experiences. People you could never tell. So when I heard one story I just found myself judging her and thinking, why did you not leave? And then the person spoke how it was emotionally and on all types of levels. And thats when I started realizing that unless you have been in that situation you will never know. But I find this article fitting to many of the experiences that I’ve heard of. Its scary but abusive relationship can be very addictive. And I don’t think that the writer is discussing this like she has been following the Rice’s situation, or spoken to them. Its just that this incident has raised much discussion about DV, which is a platform to discuss this problem, that is not being discussed often enough. What she is saying is more generally, and to what I’ve heard from victims themselves is very related to what the author is telling. Even if the author is not a psychologist, what is more valid is actually the real sources, the real people who have experienced it, it has to do with good valid research.

  • D

    Agree with the person who mentioned “where was the outrage when Solange was swinging at Jay Z?”. It’s not about justifying Ray Rice’s actions. Hitting her was uncalled for based on the video. However, if you’re gonna champion victims of Abuse, don’t be bias. We are literally making Janay Rice out to be this weak minded individual and now she looks worst than she did before. Before she just looked like a victim. Now she looks like a weak, feeble minded victim because the media says so. There is so much unknown. There are plenty of people who are in happy, healthy relationships after a traumatic experience. It’s not anyone’s right to determine the mind state or how much of a “victim” someone else is. People on here talkin about patterns? Come on lol How can you establish a pattern from a 30 sec video? Were you with them the day before the incident? Was anyone with them last month, last year, 3 years ago? Does anyone know what Ray Rice was like with his first girlfriend or what Janay was like in her last relationship? No one knows anything to establish any pattern. For those who say “oh well I was in an abusive relationship, i know what it’s like”, good for you. You went through hell and came out stronger, and wiser. But you also LIVED it. You know the things that happened to you repeatedly. You have no clue if what you went through is what Janay rice went through or is going through. Let actual, factual evidence come to light before you determine who these people are, were or what they are going through. No one has any clue.

    • truth

      Well, I think actual facts did come to light. He beat her unconscious. That is domestic violence. The pattern that people are discussing is the pattern that we have seen: defending the abuser, blaming herself and staying in a relationship that has clearly shown to be a risk to her life. If a man is capable of hitting his woman once like this, unfortunately, the statistics do show that it will usually happen again. Statistics do not show that most abusers will change, unfortunately, and it is bad advice to tell any person that it’s a good idea to stay in a relationship after someone has done this to you. I would agree with you that we don’t always know people’s situation, but in this case, I think we know enough to say that abuse has taken place, as well as typical patterns of an abuse victim. I don’t think anyone is saying that Janay is feeble minded. Not at all. People are blinded by love all the time. It doesn’t mean a person is weak or stupid.

  • experienced

    They just got married and its already bad, its gonna get worse.Take this from someone with experience. Im sure she stayed with him because of the baby, but guess what she better leave before the baby starts seeing the abuse behind closed doors, and yes it will happened cause now he has no respect for her they’ll be okay in public but he’ll still abuse her when no one is around.

  • Greencar

    He is just ur typical NFL player, no class and all violence and he is ur typical black.

  • DevilsAdvocate

    Typical gold digger. He can smack her around like a rag doll, beat her senseless until she falls to the ground…but DO NOT even think about stopping that money train which provides her with all she wants. She seems more upset about the canning than he does; I wonder why. Pffft. Next story…

  • rob420bie

    Maybe she stayed so she could soak him for half of his 40M in a few years. Domestic abuse is terrible, but I would take a couple smashings over the course of a few years to get paid millions. That is the only excuse for staying that is remotely logical/acceptable.

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  • Steve

    Wonder if he smacks his daughter around like he does his wife?

  • Scott

    Thank you for the well thought out responses to my earlier post.

    In light of recent news regarding the Instagram post of Janay rice, I feel more strongly regarding my stance.

    I hear what some of you are saying, and no doubt people who consistently abuse tend to follow certain patterns, this is not in question. I also feel strongly that your personal accounts deserve my full respect and I am glad you feel comfortable enough to voice them publicly. I do still have an issue with us saying, “because x happened to me, x is what is happening to them”. It is ok to use personal experience to empathize with others, but not to tell them who/what they are.

    My heart breaks for janay rice, because she has made what was no doubt a very tough decision, and would like to deal with it as privately as possible, but now she has to be dragged out into the spotlight as she is healing, and called crazy for staying with her husband, labeled as though something in her is broken and she obviously is making the wrong choice, or be shouted down as a gold digger only interested in money.

    Shame on us all. She is an adult female, and I would like to give her the benefit of the doubt that she is still of sound mind and it takes more than one punch to make her lose all grip with reality to the point that strangers know better than she does what is best going forward. I support her right to take a chance, I support her right to be treated as a reasonable and thoughtful human being, who does not need john/jane q. Public to label her or decide the fate of her marriage.

    I hope her choice turns out ok, perhaps it will not… But she deserves to be supported, she deserves to have her wishes respected, and the only people who need to tell her what to do are close friends and family.

  • grandma

    I think it’s just plain fear. She is afraid to leave him. Nowadays some men kill women who leave them.

  • nay

    This is amazing to me, I am survivor of physical verbal & emotional abuse. When I called the 800 number for help, you know a safe place to go after I leave the abusive partner. You know what I am told. “well we have no beds available, and our funds are depleted.” I was baffled. ALS raised over 40 million dollars on a few days. Breast Cancer fundraisers 200 mil. I can go on forever . Where is the funding for domestic violence safe houses, for a family to run to. Or if the shelter have no beds, connect with a hotel that have beds or rooms available for families. believe this its not just the woman who suffers, the children suffer as well. We underestimate our kids intelligence, they hear the arguments,the slaps the punches, it affects them as well. Hey Ray why not use your rep & open or start a safe haven for abused families.

  • mzuridini

    A good man doesn’t hit a woman. Never.

  • gemini

    I am so tired of the media and you writers putting a labels on men when they get into a altercation with there spouse. I don’t condone ray rice actions. They both were wrong for the fight. She just got the worst part of it because he made the wrong decision on reacting to her like she was a man. He’s wrong for that I get that. But stop down talker her for staying with him n making this some type of science project on y she stayed with him…she loves him period. If she forgave him for it then let her be. Domestic violence works both ways. As men we just have to learn how to contain ur girl if she’s hitting on u without reacting so harsh where it could hurt the women bad. Nobody deserves abuse. Women or men period.

  • gemini

    And Take off that picture up with the girl getting beat up n she’s looking all helpless and innocent. There are women that do go through that n it is sad..but there are women that do start fights n provoke fighting with there spouse. Always pointing to men when there’s a domestic dispute. It’s sexist One sided and stereotypical. The reality is it can happen to both men and women.

    • ponds

      It most certainly can happen to both men and women. It is never okay to emotionally, verbally or physically abuse someone you claim to love. In this particular incident, though, Rice is physically much more dominant than Janay. He is physically more dominant than most men. He dropped her like a sack of potatoes without hesitation. Clearly, he has the ability to weild more physical power to assert his dominance, which he didn’t hesistate to do in this situation. Intimidation using his superior physical strength like this is just outright bullying. If someone does something to upset you there are many alternatives to knocking them out cold.

  • Scott

    I know this will not be popular, but reading a lot of your comments I notice that we quickly leap to a few words. “Almost killed” and “beat her to the point of being unconscious”. This is a serious matter, and in a serious matter we should strive to be articulate and accurate in our assessments and descriptions, and free of hyperbole.

    I did not witness an attempted homicide. I witnessed a terrible event, where a strong man punched a woman in the head. This is detestable, it is sad, and it is plainy wrong. Punches to the head don’t often result in death, and this seems to be turning into a race for describing a video in the most horrifying way possible, packed with hyperbole.

    If I say, I watched a man savagely beat a person unconscious, nearly to the point of death, what picture forms in your mind? Is it a person being hit with a quick left hook as the start and finish of the violent act? I know I picture something far worse. The definition of beating is repeated striking. That is not what I witnessed.

    I like and respect accuracy and balance in discussions. This seems to be a site geared towards quality discussion, and I like and support that. I make my comments in an effort to preserve the quality of this discussion. Let us not spiral off course. Please do not paint me in as somehow supporting domestic violence because I’m resisting the dialogue getting carried away. The act itself was awful enough, it does a disservice to think it needs to be exaggerated to be taken seriously. What actually happened was quite serious, do not think it needs to be inflated to matter.

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