. . . the right care at the right time

Shining a Spotlight on Domestic Violence

By Kevin Sendi, New Oakland Executive Director

Throughout humankind, those in power have always exploited those with less,  whether it’s strong nations attacking the weak; owners and bosses abusing those beneath them, or men physically overpowering the so-called “Weaker sex.”

Along those lines, the hot topic of late has been NFL running back Ray Rice delivering a one punch, Tysonesque knockout of his then fiance, Janay, in an

Janay Rice

Atlantic City casino elevator. Janay may have enticed, angered or even hit him first. But in a civilized society, there’s no justification for a man to use superior strength to blast his wife into next week. A month later, after defending him staunchly, Janay married Rice.

After seeing a video of Rice dragging Janay off the elevator,  the NFL suspended him a mere 2 games, an act that speaks volumes about the pervasive plague of men exerting physical and emotional dominance over women and downplaying it for any number of reasons. (i.e, “she asked for it.”) The NFL received withering rebukes for the soft sentence.

In a hurried response, the NFL upped domestic violence to a 6 game suspension,  and then, only after the video of the punch was released by the gossip site TMZ, did they suspend Rice indefinitely.

Abuse of women is much worse elsewhere in the world than it is in modern, civilized societies like ours where for centuries brave women have fought for equal voting rights, fertility rights, work place equality and many other fundamental rights issues. But it’s of no consolation that women in Africa and Muslim women worldwide continue to suffer socially accepted atrocities like genital mutilation,  wear masks and body cover and being denied basic education. Do the men in these societies suffer from a collective mental illness? Or are they simply deluded by old-world religious taboos? The answer to both appears to be “Yes.”

Sadly, many anti-women taboos remain in the U.S., religious and otherwise, that deny women their hard fought rights to contraception, abortion, and overall subjugation to men. Societal contradictions die hard, and men resorting to violence against women  is a psychosis that may never go away.

The physical violence, like the left hook that left his supposed loved one unconscious,  is most alarming. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls sexual and intimate partner violence a substantial “public health burden.”

These statistics are part of the organization’s 2011 survey:

  • 1 in 6 women have been hit with a fist
  • Nearly 1 in 3 have been slapped, pushed or shoved
  • 1 in 6 have been stalked
  • 1 in 5 have been raped!

New Oakland strives each day to repair all manner of mental and psychological abuse suffered by people of all ages and genders. It’s our hope, as well as that of society’s at large, to end stigmas and stereotypes and to empower the weak and oppressed against those who exploit them physically, emotionally or economically.

Just as the Robin Williams suicide helped reveal how mental illness can destroy even the bright, wealthy and respected, the long-held notion of “It’s a Man’s World” needs to end.

If so, people like Ray Rice will better control his urge for violence, and women like his wife will no longer accept it as her plight.