Will They Ever Learn?

By Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq. | October 1, 2014

By Dr. E. Faye Williams – I wanted to get off the subject of domestic violence, but these athletes just won’t help. The problem isn’t just Ray Rice, Ray McDonald or other abusive players in the NFL. Paul George in the NBA proved that with his silly tweets. Several times in recent weeks I’ve written about domestic violence—but I can’t let this subject go.It’s wrong to brutally knock out any woman. I’m alarmed by the increase of violence by law enforcement, gangsta rappers, athletes and others against women. Each time it happens, I feel sick, and the fear and sickness I felt for years after being abused in a similar manner come back as if it happened just yesterday.Any woman who’s ever been abused never forgets. No matter what she might say about wanting to work through the problem with the one who abused her, deep down she knows it will never be the same as the love she felt for him before he betrayed her trust. If he raises his voice when he talks to her, she feels the same fear she felt when he actually hit her. She panics if she finds herself backed into a corner, alone on a long hallway or when she can’t see what’s ahead of her around a bend. I’ve been there, so I know what it feels like and it happens whether you stay or whether you walk away. He’s likely promised that if you leave him, he will find you, and he often adds that he’ll kill you when he does. That’s always in the back of your mind as you try to move on with your life. One day, he dies and that’s the first time you feel relief since the first time he battered you.You wish you could erase the memory, but the violence continues and it feels like it happened to you again. Though you don’t know the woman involved, you feel like you know her. You feel what she feels. You know the pain all too well. Black women are especially vulnerable because of the extra stress race carries for many Black men. Black women have many of the same stresses, but learn to cope with them and carry on.Abusers never seem to learn that it’s not okay to punch someone out because you disagree with them or because you’re angry about something that has nothing to do with the woman. She just happens to be conveniently there. It’s especially egregious when the person beaten is someone you profess to love or who is pregnant as in the case of Ray McDonald in San Francisco. Michael Vick received greater punishment for abusing a dog than many abusers get for what they do to women.My heart is heavy for Janay Rice as she tries to relieve Ray of responsibility for his brutality. She’s the one who was knocked unconscious! As a Black woman who’s been abused at the hand of a spouse, I know how hard it is to see a Black man punished. Yet, I would say to one who decides not to have abusers prosecuted, this isn’t the way to stop the barbaric treatment. We must speak out no matter who the abuser is.Many of us have loved men through thick and thin and have swept this problem under the rug. We must rise up against anyone who abuses us–physically, verbally or mentally. We risk our own lives when we protect abusers. If they abused you once, chances are high they’ll do it again. We must be there for each other and help each other overcome the fear of leaving abusers. I love men, but I hate abusers. We can’t continue to just let it go.