Saturday, August 16, 2014

Response to Governor LePage's Letter Regarding Ray Rice

I would like to applaud Maine’s Governor, Paul LePage for his stance on domestic violence. Governor LePage sent a letter to NFL Commission Roger Goodell telling him the punishment given to the Baltimore Ravens running back sends the message that it's OK "for professional athletes to beat women, just for the sake of ratings."
He goes on to say that "Taking thugs and wife-beaters off the field may be bad for business, but you are playing games with people's lives," said LePage, who was beaten by his father when he was young and has made domestic abuse prevention and awareness a priority of his administration.
I was extremely disappointed when I heard of the punishment given to Ray Rice for knocking his then fiancĂ© unconscious in an elevator.  I only know what I have read in the papers but what I read is text book domestic violence and I know that the only way we will ever stop domestic violence is to hold the perpetrators accountable. Domestic violence is about power and control and in this situation it feels very much like Ray Rice continues to have power and be in control and his work place is enabling it to continue. The justice system response in my opinion was light and more of a slap on the wrist, not what you would expect for someone who beat someone so brutally. It was so difficult to watch the video—I wasn’t able to watch it all the way through.
 I have to wonder what would have happened if it would have been a stranger or perhaps another team member he knocked unconscious. Would the punishment have been the same? I think not. From my experience it would have been severe but when we are talking about a spouse or intimate partner, for some reason, in our society the guidelines change and it isn’t as much of a problem or, worse yet, it is her fault. I have said this numerous times when it comes to domestic violence, we as a society are so quick to blame the victim rather than hold the perpetrator accountable. I find this appalling.
I would hope that we could come to a place where we say no matter who you are, no matter what your position, no matter how much money you make it, doesn’t matter. If you are a perpetrator of domestic violence you should be held accountable for your crime. Remember, domestic violence is a crime, it isn’t a family issue, and it isn’t the victim’s fault. Responsibility lies with the one committing the crime.
I ask that we all work together to end this vicious crime and keep people safe. Hold perpetrators accountable through the justice system and in our policies in the work place.
Domestic violence is not ok, period.
Read more here.

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