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Victims of abuse should not be silenced, deserve justice

I have never been an avid sports fan.

I played tennis in high school, I attend Falcon football games and I observe cheerfully as my family screams in joy and rage over touchdowns, goals and baskets.

I’ve never felt an obligation to like athletics; after all, I was the musical one in the family. I don’t attach emotionally to a specific athlete, league or team; I simply appreciate a good game when I see one.

But I like to believe that, regardless of my preference in my extracurricular activities, I stand up for what is right. And the NFL’s decision to re-instate Ray Rice to be drafted was wrong.

A lot of people might blame my flickering rage on my outward support of feminist movements, but I believe this is so much more than the simple equality of sexes.

By re-instating Ray Rice to have the opportunity to potentially play football once again, the NFL has single-handedly silenced the thousands of women and men who cry for peace and justice over domestic abuse and violence.

Janay Rice stood up for her husband with the statement, “… be strong when your partner is weak. I stuck with Ray because I truly love him.”

I admire Janay. I think she is a solid example of a

strong woman.

However, the case of Ray and his wife was lucky to be exposed the way it was, unlike so many cases involving normal people with seemingly normal lives who are not able to receive the type of awareness that is called for and needed.

This rare case, found by a fluke, was a horrifying loss.

I’m not a stranger to domestic violence and control. This is not the time nor the place to become personal, but when I see a case that had a chance to represent the women and men abused thrown away by their loved ones and the legal system completely missing the mark, I know that we let the

abusers win.

Janay was brave to stand by her husband in such a trying time, but this has now created a bar, a standard, of normalcy. It shows that abusers always have the opportunity to be forgiven and that there are no consequences to abusers’ actions. Abuse is hard

to recognize.

It hides in strong hands and nicely worded sentences. It hides in screaming matches and black eyes underneath concealer. It hides in scratch marks or therapy sessions.

You can take your pick, but it’s there.

Abuse destroys and ruins lives daily and sometimes forgiveness is not the remedy to a broken arm or a broken heart. Sometimes what the brave men and women need is the peace of mind that reported abuse is handled quickly, efficiently and correctly.

This is not a new topic discussed in the bright shiny light of celebrities and athletes. But it is a topic that needs the justice that it deserves.

No longer should a young adult have to feel like abusive behavior is normal and forgiveness is a part of the process and no longer should a person capable of abuse rationalize their behavior by the example set by lawyers and PR professionals that are trained on how to sneak out of a just verdict.

No longer can these abused voices stay silent.

Respond to Michele at

[email protected]

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