By Amy R. Buckley
In her own words, Janay Rice has lived a “nightmare.” She has suffered not only the assault by her then-fiancé, but cruel scrutiny after TMZ posted the videos of her terrifying experience online. How many have forgotten that she is a person? Some have stood up for Janay, validating her suffering and challenging the public to become better educated about domestic violence. Others have pointed fingers and debated questions Janay Rice (or any victim of domestic violence) shouldn’t have had to face:
1. What Did She Do to Provoke the Attack?
I don’t know Janay Rice or the nuances of her relationship with her then-fiance now-husband. But years of listening to victims, researching and advocating has taught me not to jump to conclusions. Domestic violence is lot like a hall of mirrors—What’s obvious doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. For example, swatting isn’t always aggressive. Experts say a victim may swat an aggressor in self-defense, to retaliate, and sometimes in anticipation of danger (a word, gesture or look).
But when an aggressor swats a victim—or knocks her out—he usually means to exert power and control in the relationship. There is a big difference when comparing motives. It takes a professional to figure out who is and is not the aggressor. Law enforcement weighs this when deciding who is at fault; in this case they charged Ray Rice for third degree aggravated assault. Nobody should have asked Janay Rice why her bulkier, stronger fiancé assaulted her, and there is never, ever a provocation that warrants assault.
2. Why Did She Defend Her Abuser? Continue Reading in Relevant . . .
Amy R. Buckley, 2014