I’ve seen the long video of Ray Rice hitting his wife. I’ve also read that some people associated with the Men’s Rights Movement are sticking up for Ray.
Now, I am firmly of the belief that abuse of men by women is a problem that needs to be taken more seriously.
My ex-friend Richard was and probably still is abused by his wife Tracy, including punches and slaps. (Story here.)
Mutual friend Chris also used to be abused by his wife (though current pictures/posts of them on Facebook as a happy couple, make me wonder if they got counseling and fixed that.)
But while I sometimes read the blog Shrink4Men, that doesn’t make me anti-feminist, and I do not agree with everything I see there.
I agree, basically, with the idea that women should not abuse, and that men need to get out of violent relationships. I love the many extensive descriptions of how women abuse, because they helped me a lot, back when I was still reeling from the things Tracy did to me and to others.
I did agree with Paul Elam’s statements on Shrink4Men that women should behave like adults in disagreements, and that they should not be allowed to behave like a toddler having a tantrum.
I saw for myself how Tracy could act like a toddler having a tantrum, and it was validating to find that this is not right, and that many others have experienced this with the abusive females in their lives.
But I don’t agree that feminists are the enemy. Feminism is not about women getting control over men, but about gender equality in every way. Some bad apples should not be seen as spoiling the whole movement.
Unfortunately, it appears that some men who are actually abusers, are using the Men’s Rights Movement as a cover.
Men being victims of domestic violence, does NOT mean that men are more oppressed than women, or that men should raise their fists to fight back.
Simple fact of the matter, is that men are usually stronger than women. You see in the video that Palmer does strike out at Rice, but that he barely flinches, while his blow knocks her unconscious. I also see Rice cornering Palmer before she strikes, making me think she was afraid.
This ESPN article describes more details, which make it clear that Palmer was protecting herself, and not the other way around:
One former staffer said Rice, the former Baltimore Ravens running back, spat in his then-fiancée’s face twice, “once outside the elevator and once inside,” prompting her to retaliate with movements that were ultimately countered with a knockout punch….
“When she regained consciousness she said, ‘How could you do this to me? I’m the mother of your kid,'” that same staffer told “Outside the Lines.”
With his fiancée still groggy, Rice dialed somebody on his cellphone and said, “I’m getting arrested tonight,” the staffer said. Police arrived in 10 to 15 minutes.
Reviewing the video a bit more shows that yes, he was spitting on, harassing and trying to hit her while she was trying to protect herself, that she did not slap him until he spat at her, that she must have been afraid from being trapped with him in the elevator, that she was NOT the aggressor.
Apparently she spit at him right before he threw the punch–but that was after he’d been spitting on and attacking her.
It reminds me, also, of how Richard once told me that if Tracy’s slaps and punches ever made it to his face, he would hit back. Richard is 6’5 and 400 pounds. Tracy is nearly a foot shorter than he, and probably half his weight. You do the math.
Richard said that no judge in Wisconsin would convict him. Yet a huge outcry has raised up against Rice, and he is being disciplined by the NFL.
No, it is NOT okay for a woman to abuse a man. But that does NOT mean a man should strike back. He could kill her!
The way to deal with an abusive wife is to get out. Sneak out while she’s asleep, if you have to. Get help. DON’T strike back. That’s a quick route to a jail cell.
For men to actually defend Rice for what he did, sounds like any man defending his actions after he has abused his wife, and trying to make himself the victim.
I do NOT support abusers who pretend to be the victim. I support true victims of domestic violence.
My husband and I would’ve been there for Richard if he ever tried to leave his wife and take his children away from her many abuses. I would’ve even been a character witness in court if he needed it.
But instead, he kept saying he loved her and would keep trying. Meanwhile, I kept witnessing and hearing about her abuses, while he kept making excuses for her. It was Battered Spouse Syndrome, or Stockholm Syndrome, playing in front of my eyes.
Tracy disgusted and sickened me with her many abuses, which she kept defending. I feared one day it would turn into worse. And I felt helpless to do anything about it. I am certainly no apologist for women who abuse men.
I wonder what else has gone on there that I don’t know about. You hear that what you’re told about abuse is just the tip of the iceberg. I wonder how long it’ll be before I hear that one of them has been charged with domestic abuse against the other.
Now Palmer is defending Rice. It’s the same thing. I’m not going to victim-blame her for staying with him and defending him, but rather wonder what drives someone to stay with and defend her abuser. Knowing the answer would help us concerned bystanders, know how to help.
Note: This is when I first began to realize that MRAs are not what I thought they were.