Take It on the Chin, Janay (Trigger Warning: Domestic Violence)

Sorry, sorry, sorry. Now, with the hashtag #WhyIStayed, suddenly the PC thing is to become collective enablers to abusive relationships. I hope I never have “friends” like that. When my parents found out that my live-in relationship had turned abusive they helped me get out. I was trapped because of money and wouldn’t have been able to get out of the relationship if other people didn’t come to help me. Not only my parents, by platonic male and female friends all reinforced the notion that it was not okay and it was important to leave.

In subsequent years I found myself on the other end that sob story and I told my friends in no uncertain terms, “Get the fuck out!” I remember one conversation where a friend was blubbering, “But I love him.” “Stop being a fucking doormat, ’cause I’m simply not going to listen to this anymore,” sometimes being a real friend can make you feel like a meanie.

Yeah, it’s good to get out of an abusive relationship.

My mother always told me in no uncertain terms that I was to never ever let a man hit me. She drilled that into my head over and over throughout my adolescence. And it goes in reverse as well. Gentlemen, if your girlfriend or wife is hitting you, get the fuck out. There’s no excuse for that.

Normally, I wouldn’t write about this sort of celebrity stupidity. Janay is obviously punch drunk if she married a man who punched her out cold. However, I am concerned about the messages society gives. Young, impressionable girls are reading your pathetic “Why I Stayed” tweets, making it sound so romantic. “Oooh, this is what true love is.” One of my friends’ mother, when I was in high school, used to pull me aside and give me little mini-lectures about how I needed a man who could control me because I was too willful and independent. Let’s not pretend that this isn’t about how some people perceive gender roles.

A cousin of mine once told me that she stayed with her abusive husband because that’s what she saw growing up and she thought it was normal. “I didn’t know it wasn’t okay for a man to hit me.”

The friend’s mother who used to give me lectures? She left her husband when he knocked out her teeth.

I feel very sorry for women who would like to leave but can’t because they don’t have the means, but that isn’t what Janay said,

No one knows the pain that hte media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass of for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific.

“THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is!”

If that’s real love, then I don’t want love. She makes being a human punching bag sound romantic, and that’s worrisome. She should be embarrassed. She married her abuser. It’s sad, pathetic and sick, and little girls growing up today need to know that. This isn’t romantic and it sure as hell isn’t “real love.”

She also said that she’s “feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend,” which I really have to say sticks in my craw. I AM mourning the death of my closest friend. I’ve never stayed in an abusive relationship, but I left one, and I have to say the two things are not alike.

The woman who created the hashtag? Well, one of the reasons why she stayed was:

I stayed because my pastor told me that God hates divorce. It didn’t cross my mind that God might hate abuse, too. #WhyIStayed

God! Why am I unsurprised. How sad to allow yourself be abused in the name of a God that probably doesn’t exist. If this is feminism, then, like love, I don’t want it either. I know that relationships can be complex. I was married and am now divorced. Two other times I’ve tried to live with men. Explaining how I got into such bad relationships requires a blow-by-blow portrayal. What shouldn’t be complex, however, is the message we’re sending to younger women and men. There are some bright shining lines that are easy to see. Physical violence has no place in a relationship. It has no place in a family.

I’m glad my mother gave me a clear message about that. It helped me overcome the more muddled messages given by the rest of society. Why did she feel so strongly about that? Her father abused her mother.

We judge people’s behavior all the time. This is how we work as a society to decide what is moral, to decide what is right and wrong. When Eliot Rodgers shot a bunch of people in Santa Barbara a few months ago, people had no problem judging that behavior. We judge Ray Rice for hitting her and we can judge Janay Rice for staying.

I like to believe that people are redeemable and can be rehabilitated. I’d like to think that both Ray Rice and Janay Rice could somehow go on to have a healthy relationship that doesn’t include violence, though I have my doubts that such a transformation could happen so quickly. However, I don’t have to “respect” her decision. In fact, I don’t respect her. There, I said it. I don’t respect women who stay in abusive relationships. Pity, yes. Respect, no.

#WhyIStayed – I didn’t.

As I said to my cousin, “All men don’t hit. You don’t have to put up with that. It’s not normal and it’s not okay. There are good men out there.”

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3 comments
  1. makagutu said:

    I heard this on radio a few days ago and was like, what the hell!

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