Ray Rice scandal leads to awareness of domestic violence and its impact

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Photo: Illustration by Lindsay Breslin

By Lindsay Breslin, The Flyer Staff

It can happen to anybody. It could be happening to someone you know. It could be happening right next door. It could be happening to the student sitting next to you.

In fact, it is happening every single day and has become a topic of much interest in America’s media and in social media. Domestic violence can take many forms, both verbal and physical, and is defined as abuse by one person to another in a relationship. It is the act of controlling someone through fear and pain while in a relationship, something that is supposed to be associated with love.

With the recent suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice from the National Football League, after a graphic video of him punching his wife was released, domestic violence has pushed its way to the center of American attention. It has forced people to face the issue head on and has brought out fiery opinions.

“I don’t think his actions were justified at all. In my opinion, he deserves to be out of a job, if not just now then for the rest of his life,” Fairmont senior Zack Altimimi said.

Domestic violence info graphic
Flyer infographic: Lindsay Breslin

Altimimi is not the only one to condemn Rice. The public, as well as fellow NFL players, have been relentlessly attacking him via social media websites like Twitter and Facebook, as well as on news programs and talk shows.

“As players we must speak up,” tweeted Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, “Stand up for what’s right. I don’t give a damn who you are or how much money you make. No place for this.”

Through Rice’s actions, people have become increasingly aware of domestic violence in society today.

“Domestic violence is horrible, for lack of a better word,” Altimimi said. “There’s a lot of people we look up to who are committing domestic violence, and they’re still in the limelight. Look at people like Floyd Mayweather, Chad Johnson, or Chris Brown.”

When Rice’s wife defended him and his actions, many found it appalling. But in an abusive relationship, it can be dangerous to leave. Victims often get attached to their partners as well and feel that they are doing something wrong to deserve the abuse.

“A lot of domestic violence goes unreported. Probably twice as many incidents occur as that go reported,” said Kettering Police Officer Carla Sacher, the resource officer at Fairmont High School.

Sacher said domestic violence can be extremely graphic and disturbing.

“Some of these can be very violent to where the female is hospitalized. There was one instance in which this female’s face was completely smashed and her recovery took over a year,” Sacher said. “In another, an abuser threatened to put a woman 10 feet under the ground.”

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime, and on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States.

Children are also deeply affected by domestic violence. The U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect suggests that domestic violence may be the single greatest cause to child abuse and neglect deaths in this country.

“There are probably about 20-30 cases of domestic abuse per month in the city of Kettering,” Sacher said. “It varies as to who it is. It could be a teen, mom and dad, brothers and sisters. As a community, I think we just have to spread the word that it’s not acceptable.”

For more information on domestic violence and its prevention, please visit www.domesticviolence.org.