Does Ray Rice Need Counseling?

As a ther­a­pist, I work with abusers and vic­tims, though not at the same time. Nor does any­one fall into an easy cat­e­go­ry. No one is blame­less. Often vio­lence like an addic­tion breeds on itself. fam siloquetteWe’ve been hear­ing about the NFL and Ray Rice’s blud­geon­ing assault on his wife, Janay (née Palmer). Not only is it shock­ing the Rice punched and kicked his wife uncon­scious, but Rice showed a com­plete lack of care or remorse for her as she’s lying bleed­ing by the ele­va­tor. He also beat her up sev­er­al years ago. They got mar­ried the next day. He did it once with­out seri­ous con­se­quences, are you sur­prised that the mar­i­tal vio­lence con­tin­ued?

Domes­tic vio­lence is not just one or 2 phys­i­cal attacks. It’s a pat­tern of abuse. Abuse injects fear into the rela­tion­ship. Love shouldn’t hurt. Nor is vio­lent a per­ma­nent alba­tross. Many abusers have changed from con­trol­ling their part­ners to respect­ing their part­ner. Usu­al­ly ther­a­py or anger man­age­ment pro­grams are not enough. Ray Rice took a series of “Life Skills” train­ing in 2008 which was manda­to­ry for NFL rook­ies. He attend­ed every class of the 4-day train­ing, but that did not suf­fice.

In ther­a­py or treat­ment pro­grams, men who are vio­lent must take respon­si­bil­i­ty for what they did. I can under­stand social rules as well as Ray Rice and OJ Simp­son. But apply­ing respect to a lover is dif­fer­ent. I can blame her, ask for­give­ness, insult her, and deny that it hurts. Often I ratio­nal­ize that the per­son deserves the pun­ish­ment (read: abuse).silo girlsun

I thor­ough­ly appre­ci­ate the nation­al dis­cus­sion about The NFL and how we hold vio­lent peo­ple respon­si­ble. It’s a prob­lem we all must face. This is a com­mu­ni­ty prob­lem that can’t just be addressed in the ther­a­py room. We need to have it dis­cussed over tea, watch­ing com­mer­cials, while tweet­ing, and with our teens. We need to be more nim­ble at admit­ting mar­i­tal spats and talk­ing open­ly about prob­lems. These are not iso­lat­ed inci­dents. Pro sports has had oth­er trag­ic sto­ries. For­mer Chiefs play­er Jovan Belch­er mur­dered Kasan­dra Perkins before tak­ing his own life in 2013. Receiv­er Rae Car­ruth was found guilty in 2001 of con­spir­ing to kill Cher­i­ca Adams, who was car­ry­ing his child. Defen­sive tack­le Ray McDon­ald was arrest­ed this month over Labor Day week­end. The NFL will wait to see if some­one is charged before issu­ing any deci­sion.

Thank God we know how to stop vio­lence in the home. We don’t know how to install the soft­ware sys­tem called respect. We know the rules of fair fight­ing, every kinder­garten child learns them. But when some­one hurts us, do we know how to ask for help. Ther­a­pists can help. Uncles can help. Trust­ed girl­friends can help. Nurs­es can help. Don’t be afraid to ask. 877 – 785-2020 (24 hours).

Be Safe and Coura­geous.

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