The issue of domestic violence is never far from the surface of public debate, but it has come back into the spotlight in a major way in the past several weeks by virtue of the case of football star Ray Rice.
Rice’s caught-on-videotape assault in February against his now-wife and his subsequent firing by his NFL team has sparked broad discussion about all facets of intimate partner violence and culture. Included is a great deal of speculative debate about why Rice’s wife has not only stayed with him, but has been very publicly defending their relationship?
While a lot isn’t known about the particulars of the Rice relationship, The New York Times reports that the couple started dating in 2008. And, while she was still in college, she had a daughter by Rice. Then, in 2012, Rice landed a $35 million, five-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens.
What seems apparent from the news reports is that Rice’s wife doesn’t seem to perceive herself as a domestic violence victim. But some domestic violence experts suggest there may be more at play.
Given the background of their relationship and Rice’s pro athlete status, one expert suggests economic dependence may be coloring the situation. Another offers that the strength of her defense of their relationship might suggest that Rice’s wife can’t entertain the thought of life without him.
What’s clear is that domestic violence is a serious issue from sociological and public health perspectives. From a legal perspective, it can represent significant challenges not only for the victim, but also for the person accused. This can be especially true if the domestic abuse charge is somehow being used as leverage in a divorce to influence the outcome of any eventual settlement.
Enlisting an attorney’s help is the way to assure that rights are protected regardless of which side of events you might be on.
Source: The New York Times, “Seeing Abuse, and a Pattern Too Familiar,” Jodi Kantor, Sept. 9, 2014