Dark Days for the Penis-Danglers

NFLpmIt seems like just last week I was lamenting the behavior of my fellow penis-danglers and their irresponsible and often reprehensible behavior towards women. In fact, it was last week, when I went off about everything from the miscreants stealing and posting women’s private pictures to the savages responsible for the epidemic of rape in this country.

Sadly, despite the aforementioned rant, the dickbags of this world may be down but not out. In fact, some of them are still swinging. Namely former American football player Ray Rice, who received a temporary suspension from the NFL along with losing his contract with the Baltimore Ravens after irrefutable evidence of spousal abuse was widely circulated in the news media. And while this sad saga has been all over the news, it’s gotten under my skin and I just can’t let it pass without some snarky comments.

Hitting the Down Button
The once popular running back was arrested back in February after video of him dragging his unconscious fiancee from an Atlantic City casino elevator made the rounds. Forty days later, he was indicted by a grand jury of third-degree aggravated assault as a result of the elevator incident. The next day, Rice and his victim got married. Love is blind, indeed.

These charges were later dropped, as his now wife stood by her husband and claimed some degree of responsibility for the incident (as many such victims do). The NFL suspended Rice for two games and required him to seek counseling.

That all changed earlier this week when the footage from inside the elevator went public. Rice clearly struck the woman with a brutal, intentional blow to the head, knocking her to the floor unconscious. Rather than showing any concern about her well-being, he dragged his fiancee’s lifeless body from the elevator like a sack of potatoes, which was the initial footage that had made the rounds back in February.

Punch-Drunk Love
His wife continues to stand by his actions, as is often – albeit bizarrely – the case in incidents of domestic assault. She has even offered the argument that she initially attacked him, and can indeed be seen slapping at the much larger man in the video footage.

But Ray Rice is 206 pounds of solid muscle. Couldn’t he have found a less violent way of subduing any threat – real or imagined – from the woman he claims to love, other than striking her in the head with such force that she was knocked to the ground unconscious?

Of course he could have. And he would have, if he wasn’t the kind of man that beats his wife, a gutless perpetrator of spousal abuse.

The incident occurred on a Saturday night, the day after Valentine’s Day. Was this a lover’s quarrel? Hell no! Lovers don’t knock each other out. There’s always another way. WWJZD? Indeed, what would Jay-Z do? He was on the receiving end of an apparent elevator beating from his sister-in-law recently, and he sucked it up and took the hits. And he’s not even a muscular professional football player in his prime. At least in this regard, the rapper seems tougher than the running back.

Shedding Light on the Darkness
Rice’s behavior was in no way typical, responsible, excusable, or forgivable. I know his wife has forgiven him and publicly attacked all those who have condemned his behavior towards her. But she is wrong.

I’ve known a few women over the years who have unfortunately been the victims of domestic abuse. And I almost said “confessed to being the victims” in the previous sentence because that somehow seemed more natural. But being a victim of abuse shouldn’t be something that one has to confess to. They are the victims. Confessions are for the perpetrators, not the victims.

No matter how many times domestic violence is explained to me, I never can quite understand it. I don’t understand why a guy like Rice would resort to such violence. I have never even felt the urge, let alone the perceived need, to strike a woman (unless, of course, she was begging for a spanking, but that’s a different thing entirely).

Violence has its place, but not among your family and friends. Personally speaking, no matter how loud and out of control I may become (and I certainly have tested the limits over the years), no matter how bat-shit drunk and disorderly I might get, none of my friends and family have ever had to resort to physical violence to bring me under control.

A high-powered blow to the head is the kind of thing you deliver to someone who is seeking to do you imminent harm. Was Rice’s fiancee that great of a threat to him? Certainly not. An argument with a friend, let alone someone you love, can always be settled by less violent means. In this case, a man as strong as Rice could have easily used a simple bear hug to subdue her until calmer heads prevailed.

Yet even more baffling for me, and I suspect for many of my fellow penis-danglers, is the behavior of the victims in these incidents. I wasn’t entirely surprised by his fiancee’s allegiance because I’ve seen that all too often, where the victims inexplicably feel like they deserved to be belted in the head, lying unconscious in a casino elevator the night after Valentine’s Day. Many blame themselves and believe they deserve what they got. It boggles the mind.

The Painful Truth
This was not an argument. This was not a lover’s quarrel. This was not marital problems. This was aggravated assault. Domestic violence. Inexcusable behavior. Criminal behavior. I understand why perpetrators of such crimes fail to understand that, because they don’t want to accept the fact that they are violent criminals. But I remain baffled as to why the victims often don’t realize that, or at least not right away.

And maybe that says a lot about the roles we have shaped for one another in our society, that women and children can be made to feel at fault for someone else’s aggressive and abusive behavior. With all the violence and troubles we are facing around the world, it’s horrifying to think that we are a so capable of (and willing to) hurt the ones we supposedly love here at home. This violence, this abuse, and this disrespect towards women must stop. We cannot go on like this. Damn it, men, I want to get back to writing about doughnuts!