Sunday, September 21, 2014

You're Kidding, Right?

Top of the evening all...

News of the recent goings-on within the NFL has been all over every media out there.  Said news has nothing to do with the scores and the standings.

Apparently, a player for the Ravens flattened his spouse (might have been girlfriend at the time).  There is video.  The player was appropriately fired from his team and suspended from the NFL.  This is the right response, even though it should have happened months ago.

Several people have asked the appalling question: why does she not just leave?  Let's analyze this question before answering it.

A parallel situation: a person walks into a store with a gun and robs the place.  The storekeeper calls the police.  The police come.  They take a statement, and then go and look for the alleged perpetrator.  The case goes to trial.  The defense lawyer questions the storekeeper.  Oddly enough, no one suggests to the storekeeper closing up shop and moving elsewhere.  The Crown pursues the case as though the storekeeper is innocent.  The reason for that is very simple: the storekeeper is innocent!

Now that we have analyzed our parallel situation, let us come back to the question at hand.  Why does she not just leave?  It is her home.  She was attacked by someone who is supposed to keep her home safe.  She should not have to leave.  Why does he not just leave?  He committed the assault.  Asking the original question says that she, and she alone, is responsible for her own safety.  She, and she alone, holds the keys to preventing such threats to her body.  She must suffer the loss of her home after having been assaulted. 

Furthermore, all of the statistics will tell us that the most dangerous time for an abused woman is when she leaves.  With that in mind, let us rephrase the question: she has been assaulted.  Why does she not increase the danger to life and limb by leaving?

A few other notes are in order.  Physical abuse is usually only the tip of the iceberg.  Prior to that, there is often sexual abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, and social abuse.  Leaving becomes far more difficult when one has already been so beaten down prior to the actual punch.

Furthermore, the question itself takes no other circumstances into consideration.  A society that asks the question about her leaving is not exactly going to provide the support she needs when she finally does.  Beyond that, where will she go?  Leaving is easy.  Going somewhere is not so easy.  What happens with her children?  She cannot leave them in a home where she is unsafe.  Now the question becomes: where will they go?  That question becomes even more acute as summer draws to a close.  We had days last year when it was -18 C/0 F last year.  It is remarkably easy to ask where someone will go when the weather is lovely.  As of mid-February last year, Toronto had 19 days of extreme cold weather alerts.  Baltimore, where this couple lives, had 26 days.

Folks, we need to ask the right questions on this.  What are we doing to prevent this man from ever punching another person?  What are we doing to protect those who have been abused?  What are we doing to support those who have been abused as they come through the ordeal?  These are better questions.

Have a good evening everyone.


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