Quoting Quiverfull: The Ray Rice NFL Scandal Is A Good Opportunity To ‘Spread The Gospel’?

Quoting Quiverfull: The Ray Rice NFL Scandal Is A Good Opportunity To ‘Spread The Gospel’? September 17, 2014

rayriceby Voddie Baucham from his Facebook statuses

For those of you who don’t follow the news or football or NFL let’s summarize this: Ray Rice, running back for the Baltimore Ravens NFL team, beat his then fiancee and was suspended for a couple of games until the website TMZ posted the video of the incident. In the video Rice hits his fiancee so hard she’s knocked unconscious in a hotel elevator before he drags her out of frame. After the NFL was chided for their slap on the wrist of Rice they then suspended him indefinitely and the Baltimore Ravens team cut him from their team.

Between this and the situation with Adrian Peterson and others in the NFL only receiving punishment when the media makes a stink about players committing criminal acts it’s clear that the league covers up for their own. The NFL needs to come up with a consistence behavior guidelines and stick to them in the future obviously but in the meantime Voddie Baucham sees this as a chance to witness to non-believers and has some interesting, sometimes poisonous, things to say about the issue of domestic abuse.

Voddie’s original statement:

“Ray Rice cut by Ravens, suspended by NFL indefinitely” This was because of the video… NOT the morality of the NFL

Again, what is the standard? Where do we find the list of ‘sins’ that are worthy of such treatment by the NFL? Where does this end? What about serial adulterers who father children and don’t care for them? What about abusers of drugs and alcohol (who currently get more chances than Rice got)?

I’m all for morality. However, in a culture that has adopted the postmodern ideal… In a culture that constantly asks Christians, “Why is it alright for you to pick and choose from the Law of Leviticus”? I think we need to demand an explanation as to why it is suddenly acceptable to drop the hammer on those who hit women or say bad things about preferred minority groups, but it’s evil to say that homosexuality is a sin.

This is a great gospel opportunity! It’s an opportunity to show people that they actually DO agree with us on the need for an objective standard of morality. They DO agree that it is acceptable to enforce such a standard publicly. They DO agree that it is acceptable to call sin sin in an open, public way. Now we just have to show them that their standard is personal, subjective, unreliable, and inconsistent, while ours is founded upon the changeless, timeless, perfect Word of God.

Get out there and engage!

After some dissension by his followers he had this to say:

I think there’s a bit of hypersensitivity going on here. A couple of you have jumped on the “The Church is not doing enough about domestic violence” bandwagon, which demonstrates a disconnect. Please note that I said, 

“This is a great gospel opport
unity! It’s an opportunity to show people that they actually DO agree with us on the need for an objective standard of morality. They DO agree that it is acceptable to enforce such a standard publicly. They DO agree that it is acceptable to call sin sin in an open, public way.”

In other words, I am not saying knocking your girlfriend out in an elevator is ok… I’M SAYING THE EXACT OPPOSITE!!! Don’t be so sensitive that you find foes where you have friends! Don’t be one of those people who thinks, “If he says or does ANYTHING other than condemn Ray Rice, then he’s not on the right side of this.” 

This is not about whether what happened was sinful. No one questions that. This is about whether we believe in objective morality, and whether a reactionary decision by the NFL is something to celebrate. 

The can of worms that was just opened will have severe consequences. It also gives us an opportunity to engage on the apologetic front. And, yes, it gives us an opportunity to address domestic violence… Not an emotional, reactionary, PC conversation, but a real gospel-centered, fact-based discussion.

As a pastor, I’ve had to deal with this on more than one occasion. This is not an issue about which most pastors are ignorant, or silent. It’s easy to blame/bash the church. However, that’s neither the cause, nor the cure in this case.

….and this….

First, this is NOT a strong message against domestic violence. If it were, the tape would not have been necessary. This is a message against embarrassing the NFL.

Second, my point still stands. There is no objective standard here.

Third, abusers do NOT just “target good, nice, kind, Christian women.” They target bad women, mean women, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist women…

Fourth, I agree that we need to continue the discussion about domestic violence. And that needs to include the fact that women are the perpetrators of violence in half or more of the domestic cases (see here:http://womensenews.org/…/women-are-aggressors-in…). This is NOT a ‘men abuse women’ issue.

Sloganeering and victimology must not be substituted for honest discussion about this sin that plagues both men and women. And I have a very realistic, informed view of the prevalence and nature of the issue.

What do you think dear readers? Does Voddie have a legitimate point or is he verging into victim blaming or spiritual abuse here?

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull and Spiritual Abuse honestly and thoughtfully.

Comments open below

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M Dolon Hickmon


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  • Brennan

    He’s not “verging” on spiritual abuse. He’s plowed right over the “verge” like Thelma and Louise. His original argument seems to be that since people are publicly objecting to domestic violence, this is the perfect time to publicly object to homosexuality since (in his twisted mind), being gay is exactly as bad as giving your girlfriend a concussion. And when he got push-back (some of it likely from domestic abuse survivors), his response amounted to “Don’t get so emotional! What I meant was . . .” with strong undertones of “I’m the expert, not you, so go do as you were told.” The second response continues that theme (he’s “realistic and informed,” his critics are “emotional and reactionary”) while throwing in that most classic of derails: “What About Teh Menz?!!” And I don’t know what to make of that “bad women, mean women, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist women.” Coming from any other source, this would have been a much-needed chiding about the dangers of advocating only for one class of “perfect victims,” but given that it’s Baucham, I suspect it’s more of a “This isn’t a problem with *my* culture! It’s mostly a problem with the unwashed heathens’ culture!” On any site but his own, I’d call him a run-of-the-mill troll. He’s an abuser because people will actually take his “shut up and go spew homophobia” advice seriously.

    And then a non-zero percentage of them will go out and spew homophobia because he told them to. A higher percentage will shut up about domestic violence within their own communities because he told them that’s not the “real” problem.

  • Joyce

    So many things to rip him apart on here, but I’ll start here:

    Fourth,
    I agree that we need to continue the discussion about domestic
    violence. And that needs to include the fact that women are the
    perpetrators of violence in half or more of the domestic cases (see
    here:http://womensenews.org/…/women-are-aggressors-in…). This is NOT a ‘men abuse women’ issue.

    Right. Please send me a list of men’s shelters in your city–places that exist specifically to assist men who are escaping from abusive partners. Oh, you’re town is too small for one? How about the next big city? Shall we branch out farther? Let’s compare the number of women & children’s shelters to men’s shelters. Any clue that your 50/50 claim isn’t all that equal after all?

  • Trollface McGee

    Nice of him to toss some homophobia in there.
    Where in fundamentalist Christianity is domestic violence a “sin”? They advocate beating children, they treat women as children, they push the idea of wifely submission and obedience, say that marital rape doesn’t exist, tell abused women to stay in their marriages and pray and obey more?
    The system he advocates only means less domestic violence is reported and prosecuted.
    And if this were a man who’d been beaten up by a woman and it ended up in the media, I guarantee a large amount of fundies would be calling him a sissy and telling him to man up.

  • Astrin Ymris

    It seems that Voddie Baucham is outraged that beating a woman unconscious receives a more severe punishment than drug infractions or alcohol abuse. After all, getting high is just as bad as roughing a woman up a little. /sarc

    Then there’s his pique that “…it is suddenly acceptable to drop the hammer on those who hit women or say bad things about preferred minority groups, but it’s evil to say that homosexuality is a sin…” Somehow, he doesn’t realize that saying “God’s going to sentence gays to eternal torture in the afterlife because they’re so evil” or “God’s punishing America with natural disasters for tolerating homosexuals.” IS saying extremely hateful things about a minority group.

    If they taught instead “We believe sex between two people of the same gender is against God’s Will, so Christians should not do this”, then they’d be expressing a religious belief. Saying that simply TOLERATING gays will bring God’s wrath upon the entire country IS hate speech, and it should be called out as such.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    Strangely, that link goes to nowhere. I checked.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    I’d like just once, for one of these people to stick to the ONE ISSUE. You know, the domestic violence. Not domestic violence….. & drugs, or homosexuality, or women do it too, or adultery, or deadbeat parents. The incident with Rice has NOTHING to do with homosexuality. Nor does it have anything to do with serial adulterers. Or drugs. It has to do with domestic violence.

    Until he can address just the issue at hand, without trying to bring in a bunch of other issues that he thinks are “the same as”….just *no*.

  • Guest

    Strangely, that link goes to nowhere

    Well, isn’t THAT convenient!

    <img src="http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/db/db451cc550126738b8f31033ede9591fbfe31aaf7c45c9a5775c40e0e871d554.jpg&quot; ,

  • Joyce

    Excuse the double post please (first nothing showed up, and then both show up. How annoying)

  • Independent Thinker

    “First, this is NOT a strong message against domestic violence.” File this in sentences men should never say. Like telling a woman she should get a C-section or telling your significant other that her sister looks better than her.

  • SAO

    We atheists believe in objective morality. We have consistent standards. We condemn hurting others. Being gay, having consensual same-gender sex doesn’t hurt anyone. Hitting does.

  • What does little Dougie Phillips have to say about it?

  • That_Susan

    You’re right that there is little to no support for men who are victims of domestic violence. When I volunteered at a battered women’s shelter in college, I learned in my training that there were battered men, too, but that because our shelter was focused on women and needed to be a safe place for women, that meant that no man could ever set foot in those doors.

    Abused men with children are often stuck having to choose between getting out and protecting themselves, and staying in order to protect their children and have a relationship with them. There’s not currently the same support in place for a man to take his kids and flee from an abusive spouse.

    I see abuse as a human rights issue — not specifically a women’s or men’s issue.

  • That_Susan

    In the video, it did look to me like she had hit him at least a couple of times. He backed away from her when she hit him in the elevator, and then she was coming at him aggressively, when he gave her one punch that knocked her unconscious. Did anyone else see anything different?

    If Rice had been the one behaving the way his fiancée was behaving, including coming at her aggressively after she backed away from him in the elevator, and then she’d somehow managed to knock him unconscious — would you see her behavior as abuse or self-defense?

    I should add that I see any and all hitting as completely unacceptable. I don’t hit my husband, he doesn’t hit me, and this works out really well for us. It would have been better if Rice had had his wits enough about him to avoid getting in the elevator with her in the first place.

  • That_Susan
  • Em

    It’s kind of a good point that it doesn’t take a certain type ( a demure, soft spoken, christian lady, with downcast eyes) to be a victim. I knew someone who was feisty, and even a little aggressive in her personality who still is emotionally abused by her husband. Also when I was with my ex, I was being severely gaslighted and emotionally manipulated (not sure if it exactly qualified as emotional abuse) and I adopted some very questionable ways to cope. I had in my head I was a bad person, and deserved what was happening to me, because I wasn’t the meek, blameless victim. Maybe this wasn’t the point he was actually trying to make, but victims shouldn’t have to qualify as martyr saints.

  • That_Susan

    Yes to everything you said, including the part that I’m quoting here: “And if this were a man who’d been beaten up by a woman and it ended up in the media, I guarantee a large amount of fundies would be calling him a sissy and telling him to man up.”

    I think many people will make fun of a man for taking abuse from a woman, but I also think that knowing their own superior physical strength, many abused men are genuinely scared to hit back, even in self-defense, because of the greater harm they might cause if they lose control. They’re probably also scared to seek help because of how easy it would be for the woman to say that she was only hitting in self-defense: without any video or witnesses, the police and everyone else are simply much more disposed to believe the woman.

    Even with the video footage showing Rice’s fiancée hitting him and rushing at him, he is still viewed as the sole abuser. This is very different from how it’s viewed if one male is bullying another male, and the bullied male retaliates and ends up doing more harm to the bully than the bully did to him.

    Back in high school, a kid came to my brother’s workplace and was egging him on for a fight. When my brother finished work, the kid was waiting for him in the parking lot. They fought, and the other kid ended up needing some medical care. His parents tried to sue my parents for the cost of the care, but the case was thrown out of court because my brother’s coworkers were willing to testify that the other boy was clearly the instigator.

    Just because my brother was apparently stronger and more capable of winning the fight, he wasn’t automatically blamed for the injuries that resulted. But I imagine it all would have been viewed much differently if the aggressor had been a girl. He’d have been laughed at if he’d let a girl beat him up, but condemned as an evil abuser if he’d knocked her down or something.

    And people would have assumed that he must have done something really horrible to make her attack him like that, because we see it as “women’s nature” to be loving and nurturing — and never violent without a really good reason.

  • I’m all for morality. However, in a culture that has adopted the postmodern ideal… In a culture that constantly asks Christians, “Why is it alright for you to pick and choose from the Law of Leviticus”? I think we need to demand an explanation as to why it is suddenly acceptable to drop the hammer on those who hit women or say bad things about preferred minority groups, but it’s evil to say that homosexuality is a sin.

    “How dare you all criticize us for criticizing a social minority while at the same time criticizing those that say bad things about minority groups!”

    ours is founded upon the changeless, timeless, perfect Word of God.

    Really? If someone were to say, today, “I’m taking my kid to this mountaintop and I’m going to sacrifice him because God spoke to me and told me to,” I’m sure no Evangelical–let alone any secular or more liberal Christian citizen–would be like, “Okay, that’s hunky dorey, let’s go ahead and hold you up as a paragon of virtue and morality.” Also, there’s a significant shift between Numbers 5–where ritual abortion is allowed to answer accusations of infidelity–and today where abortion is absolutely murder.

    I am just saying…we are more than willing to accept that morality has changed, AND IT SHOULD. It should evolve as we evolve and understand ourselves better.

  • teaisbetterthanthis

    Rice, Peterson, and ANY OTHER professional who abuses people or animals should lost the privilege of a career beyond being the guy who has to go into sewage systems or port-a-potties to fish out valuables that have accidentally been flushed. By hand.

  • That_Susan

    Here is a link to a really interesting article posted at Feministing. It’s interesting to me because the author seems to be saying that Rice’s fiancée’s behavior prior to him knocking her out with one punch should be considered irrelevant (and anyone who sees it as irrelevant is a woman-hater); if a man has knocked a woman unconscious, no one should need all the facts — he’s guilty, period.

    And yet, I can’t imagine any scenario wherein people would see it as irrelevant that a man had hit a woman, and that when she’d backed away from him, he’d rushed at her, and that this was the context in which she’d knocked him unconscious. I seriously can’t imagine ANYONE saying that she should just be presumed guilty without even considering the extenuating circumstances.

    http://feministing.com/2014/09/11/how-to-know-that-you-hate-women/

  • That_Susan

    I wasn’t able to play the video you linked to, but the one I saw on YouTube (link below), seemed to be showing her hitting him (though admittedly not hard) when she passed by him on the way into the casino, then, after they got into the elevator, I must admit that the beginning action happens so fast that I probably missed him hitting her and just saw her hitting him. I’ll take everyone’s word for it that he hit her first after they got into the elevator, after being casually smacked by her out in front of the casino (and of course I have no idea what either of them might have done before that)…

    But what seems pretty clear to me is that he STEPPED BACK and then she came at him. Even if I pare it down to the most negative assumption about him, that he struck the first blow in the elevator — I still think this would be viewed completely differently if the situation were reversed.

    If SHE had struck the first blow in the elevator after being casually smacked by him in front of the casino, and then he’d hit her back, and then she’d stepped back and he’d lunged at her and she’d knocked him out — I think people’d still be saying, “Well, he shouldn’t smacked her in front of the casino, and he shouldn’t have hit her back, and he definitely shouldn’t have lunged at her after she’d stepped back” — and no one would be calling them man-haters for immediately thinking about how the man should have behaved differently.

    As to the Feministing article, I realize the author started out by saying that he didn’t think the WHOLE focus should be on how the woman should have behaved differently, but he then moved on to quoting people who were saying stuff like “Well, he shouldn’t have…., but she shouldn’t have….”

    And he seemed to be saying that in cases where each person has a different level of power, it’s wrong or showing hatred towards the less powerful person to look at both sides, or to treat both parties like adults with equal responsibility for their own actions.

    What gets me is that it doesn’t seem indisputably true that men are in a more powerful position than women when it comes to being believed if they’re victims of domestic violence. I think this may be one area in which female victims are taken a lot more seriously.

    https://www.google.com/#q=ray+rice+video

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    It makes me wonder what percentage of men are being abused by a female partner. I seriously doubt the numbers are as high as male to female violence, but there’s no doubt men get abused too.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Looks like the rates of victims are according to some CDC numbers I’ve seen that for every five domestic partner violence incidents 2 victims are male and 3 are female

  • Astrin Ymris

    I wonder if they’re counting divorce filings in which men as well as women make allegations about “mental and physical cruelty”, including various forms of violence?

    I find it hard to believe that things are that close to even regarding domestic violence. Yes, I’m sure that some men ARE in abusive relationships, but I’m wondering if the CDC isn’t distinguishing between trauma bond relationships and Couples Behaving Badly.

  • That_Susan

    Well, if they’re counting the abuse allegations made by both women and men in divorce filings, it don’t see why this would make the proportions inaccurate. I realize that some woman and men do make false allegations and get really nasty while going through a divorce, but I’ve yet to see any proof that one sex is any more likely to be dishonest or vindictive than the other.

  • That_Susan

    “No, because they are not asking the man how he could have behaved better in order to change someone else’s behavior.”

    I think you’re right that a lot of people suggesting that Rice’s fiancée should have behaved differently were probably blaming her for how HE chose to behave. But in my own case, I felt like it was wrong for her to smack him on the way into the casino, and then to lunge at him after he’d backed away from her in the elevator, because I simply believe in treating people, whether male or female, they way that I’d like to be treated. And yes, he was wrong to hit her and knock her out, too.

    I don’t believe that my husband would retaliate violently against me if I hit him, and he doesn’t hit me anyhow, so I don’t see not hitting him as some magical way of changing or improving him.

    But I guess for a lot of people, the rationale for saying that women should behave better is that if they behave better they’ll be treated better, while the rationale for saying that men should behave better is that women deserve to be treated better.

    And I do see what you mean about the power differential — and yet I don’t see each and every man as inherently more powerful than each and every woman. My husband and I grew up in very different circumstances and I honestly think that I’ve gone through life feeling much more empowered, and actually having a lot more power, than he has.

    Along a similar vein, I think that black men in particular have to deal with a lot of negative social attitudes. For example, Project Innocence seems really jam-packed with cases where poor black males who just happened to be in the vicinity when a crime was committed were picked up and basically railroaded into serving time for crimes they never committed.

    I haven’t done enough research to be able to objectively state that, in general, black women have a better situation than black men — and I also realize that this probably doesn’t pertain to athletic superstars like Rice — and yet, I don’t know what he or his fiancée’s lives were like prior to his football career.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Because women are far more likely to be murdered by a former or current intimate partner than men. This makes me think that maybe not all the “domestic violence” counted by the CDC meets the criteria for an abusive relationship.

    http://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/

    This source says 95% of all domestic violence is reported by women– and that when men are battered, it’s more likely to be a male love interest than a female one. (NOTE: LGBTs are no more likely to be abusers than straights.)

    http://www.dvipiowa.org/myths-facts-about-domestic-violence/

    I’d just like to know how the CDC is defining “domestic violence”. I’m willing to change my mind if offered persuasive evidence– I simply want to be sure that it IS valid evidence.

  • That_Susan

    Yes, it would be good if there were figures specifically comparing female-to-male violence versus male-to-female. And I don’t dispute the fact that, even in cases where both the male and female partner are violent, the woman is generally much more likely to suffer severe injuries and even death.

    I’m hoping that the growing trend of parents using gentle,
    non-punitive discipline techniques will result in a society where fewer and fewer children will grow up to resort to violence as a way of processing their negative emotions. I think not hitting kids is a much better abuse prevention technique than censuring abusive adults, even though I understand that something has to be done.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Re: “…I’m hoping that the growing trend of parents using gentle, non-punitive discipline techniques will result in a society where fewer and fewer children will grow up to resort to violence as a way of processing their negative emotions…”

    Amen!

  • Astrin Ymris

    Um… I haven’t seen the video, but is it possible that she wasn’t “lunging at him” but trying to make a break for the elevator door to escape him?

  • That_Susan

    My impression was that she did indeed come at him. the back of his head was facing me (and the camera) and the elevator door was to the left. But maybe others have a different impression.

  • That_Susan

    “Possibly, but the upshot is, men are not held responsible for women’s behavior the way women are held responsible for men’s behavior, and degraded and dismissed when they fail at that.”

    Yes, I completely agree with you there.

    “No one is asking what Rice did to deserve to be smacked by Palmer, and what how he could have behaved better so as not to provoke her, doesn’t he know what her peeves are and how to avoid them already?”

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I only recently heard about this case, and I did indeed think that he must have done something to provoke her — but I guess my interpretation of our cultural milieu is a little different. I think most people actually assume, upon hearing that a woman attacked her husband or boyfriend (or even burned him in his bed) that he must have done something really bad to provoke her.

    Whereas there’s this really weird acceptance of the idea that there are just tons and tons of men with anger problems — and men who don’t feel comfortable expressing any negative emotion besides anger, and that it’s somehow “normal” male behavior for men to keep silent about anything they might be scared or anxious about, and just inwardly transform all their negative emotions into an angry rage.

    So the rage may be about something going on at work that has nothing to do with their wife. but they take it out on her because they don’t feel safe blowing up at work. And this is somehow just seen as normal male behavior by a lot of people, which is really insulting to men, in my opinion.

    By the time I heard about the case, Rice had already been cut from the team, and then I saw the Feministing article, which I interpreted as saying that anyone who criticized Rice’s fiancée’s actions must really hate women. Then I saw the video and was like “They were both wrong.”

    I definitely understand that since he was the one in the public spotlight, his career was the one people were focusing on. I don’t know if she works, but if she does, it doesn’t seem to be a public job so nobody’s really focused on whether or not she should be allowed to keep her job.

    And I guess it would be kind of hard on their family if both of them suddenly became unemployed overnight, so I’m glad nobody’s going after her career.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    I have been hit and had things like clipboards and shoes thrown at my head for simply not having the facial expression my ex wanted me to have at the moment. I wasn’t smiling or anything, in fact, once he was calm later on it was that I was “expressionless” that set him off. Of course, my ex (who wasn’t my ex when he was abusing me) never said he was sorry or that he wouldn’t do it again, rather he just kept me in absolute terror of what he would do not just to me but also to my parents and any other family members he could get to if I were to leave.

    I stayed (more like let him stay because he lived in *my* house) way longer than I should, until my parents moved out of state and I was no longer worried about what he might do to them and willing to take the chance of what he might do to punish me for leaving. I got the sheriffs involved, had friends that took “shifts” sleeping on my couch for the first few months. I’d also gotten a home security system installed the day they arrested him.

    My point is, when the actual violence is taking place, it’s a choice on the part of the abuser to do what they are doing. Size of each person involved doesn’t matter, what she/he did leading up to it doesn’t matter, it’s a CHOICE to hit or punch or throw things or yell. Your husband doesn’t hit you nor do you believe that he would hit you back if you hit him…you’re lucky to have a decent husband then. From my perspective, if they haven’t gone through an abusive situation, then that’s someone who can’t really say much except from the narrow view they have from the outside view on the limited portion of what’s going on inside that they are getting to see.

  • That_Susan

    I’m very sorry about everything that you went though, and I’m very glad you got out. I also agree that everyone who abuses another person is making a choice to do so, though I think there are variations in the degree of choice and other options that each abuser has to work with, depending on their personal background.

  • That_Susan

    The angle of violence-as-foreplay hadn’t occurred to me either, but given the popularity of Fifty Shades, maybe it should have. I haven’t read Fifty Shades, but I have heard that it’s been denounced by the BDSM community.

    Apparently getting off on violent or rough sex and having consensual sex are NOT mutually exclusive. People who are serious about wanting to act out certain fantasies and roles, while being equally serious about protecting the mental health of everyone involved, are finding ways to do this. And they’re NOT getting their guidance from Doug Phillips. That would be too scary, though I suppose he may be looking for a new platform.

  • Emily

    “I still think this would be viewed completely differently if the situation were reversed.”

    ………

    I don’t know what the situation being reversed would look like.

    The situation isn’t reversed by Ray and Janay switching places unless she also magically becomes twice as big and several times stronger than he is. (Which still leaves you with Big Person beating up Small Person, which looks really familiar.) Because no matter who hit who first or who backed away and who lunged …I just don’t see us all having a conversation about Janay knocking out her fiance with a single blow to the head, because I seriously doubt that she’s capable of it.

    “he seemed to be saying that in cases where each person has a different level of power, it’s wrong or showing hatred towards the less powerful person to look at both sides, or to treat both parties like adults with equal responsibility for their own actions.”

    No, it’s wrong to make the assumption that having equal responsibility for their actions means that their actions have equal consequences. If you hold these two people accountable for the amount of harm their actions caused, ain’t nothin’ equal about it.

    In the comments I’ve been reading, the people saying ‘Well, he shouldn’t have X, but she shouldn’t have Y’ seem to think that X and Y balance each other out.
    ‘Looking at both sides’ and seeing two adults who bear equal responsibility, that’s awfully warped.

    It does make a difference, regardless of who started it (which we don’t know in this case anyway), how the much larger, much stronger person involved handles him or her self. When the weaker person, even if they’re the instigator, could’ve been subdued by one tenth of the force that was actually used, it’s not unfair to focus on how the [more powerful person] should’ve behaved differently and to resist the urge to blame the one who’s lying unconscious on the floor.

    I can’t point to an example of how our society typically reacts when a large woman knocks a small man out cold with her bare hands because I don’t know of any.
    But we generally frown upon big people pounding on small people, and I think most of us would still see that as wrong regardless of gender and regardless of who started it.

  • Emily

    Then I saw the video and was like “They were both wrong.”
    ……….
    But not anywhere near equally wrong.

    “nobody’s really focused on whether or not she should be allowed to keep her job.”
    ………..Possibly because it’s so far beyond appropriate to even ask that question that even the people blaming her entirely for what happened haven’t thought of it yet.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    Variations in the degree of choice – like what? If we believe that each of us is personally responsible for our own actions, and how we choose to react to a situation, then there shouldn’t be any variation on how much of a choice we’re getting to make. Coping skills and the ability to separate from the emotions of a situation and employ critical thinking generally go out the window during disagreements without major effort to prevent that by those involved.

    In my experience, I learned pretty quickly that if I wanted to be allowed to leave his physical presence with my purse, keys, and cell phone sooner after one of his assaults, I could not allow myself to get emotional in response. I was getting assaulted for things like not being able to get him up and out of bed for his doctors appointments, for being late coming home from school, or just because I happened to be around when he came in and was pissed off at someone else. To prevent me from being able to call for help/the police, he’d take my purse, keys, and cell phone and not even allow me to use the bathroom without his supervision – the only thing I had control over at that point was for how long he’d keep those things and insist on supervising every move I made. Oh, and he knew that hitting me in certain places like on my head where my hair would cover would make it difficult for physical signs of his abuse to be detected. When he gave me 2 black eyes then I had to stay home while he went out with friends. I haven’t dated since him, because I still haven’t been able to give a guy the benefit of the doubt to make it past date 3. If they seem at all interested, I worry that it’s about to become a push to get really serious really fast and then totally cut off all contact.

  • That_Susan

    Again, I’m just really sorry about what you’ve endured, and what you’re still enduring now. I don’t know him and can’t speak to how his particular mind worked or what degree of choice he had in how he acted. I honestly don’t understand how an abusive mind works.

    From what I remember from the training I went through all those years ago in college, the general theory is that abusers are really scared of not being loved and of being left alone — which, I know, sounds really dumb because they’re turning around and behaving in such awful, unloving, unlovable ways. But at any rate, the idea I remember from that training was that their fear drives them to seek total control in relationships.

    This doesn’t mean that an abuser isn’t responsible, because he is. But maybe it’s easier to think of different people having different levels of choice when we’re talking about victims — some victims stay in abusive relationships a lot longer than others, and it’s not because they’re less intelligent or like being abused, but because of having, or perceiving themselves as having, less power to be self-determining.

  • That_Susan

    I know that it’s a lot less likely for a small person to be able to knock out a big person, and of course the situation ISN’T reversed. But it doesn’t seem completely stupid to me to try to imagine how people would have responded if Ray had been behaving like Janay and Janay had been behaving like Ray.

    So here I go again: Ray walks past Janay on his way into the casino. She (later edit after seeing something I’d missed in the video) spits in his face, and he turns around and smacks her face with the back of his hand. Then she follows him and hits him when she gets into the elevator. He hits her back, and then she steps back away from him…

    At which point he lunges at her and she somehow (big imagination here, I know) manages to hit him in the face and knock him out. I just think that in this scenario, most people’d be more likely to see it as an occasion to applaud the underdog than to want her fired from her high-profile, public and taxpayer-supported job, supposing she had one.

    And even though Ray happened to be the one who got knocked out in this hypothetical scenario, I think people’d still see him as the abuser simply for back-handing her face on the way into the casino — (later edit) or maybe they’d see her more as the abuser because she spit in his face before he backhanded her.

    But I agree that as the bigger and stronger of the two (and definitely NOT the underdog), the burden was on Ray to have more self-control (Spiderman, great power, great responsibility and all that).

    Still, I am a very large woman — just under 5’10” tall and weighing in at over 200 lbs. — so I’m probably a lot stronger than a tiny woman like Janay, but if she launched herself at me, I’d probably be scared to death and thinking more about my own survival than about controlling my strength so that I didn’t hurt her.

    But then again, I’d never have gotten into an elevator with someone who’d backhanded me in the face in the first place. I’d also (later edit) never have spat on her. Spitting is gross.

  • That_Susan

    Oops, I just watched that crazy video again and realized I’d been missing something crucial. Janay didn’t backhand Ray’s face because he wasn’t quick enough to follow her – she did it because HE SPAT IN HER FACE. So yikes…

    And I suppose that no one would be that critical of a man who backhanded a woman for spitting on him. After all, spitting is just yucky.

    I guess I better not quit my day-job and become a video reviewer for the police