Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens has recently been suspended from the NFL. Video footage from back in February revealed him punching his fiancée unconscious with a single hit, then dragging her limp body out of the elevator. It is sickening, horrific.
What is more shaking, however, is Rice’s then fiancée, Janay Palmer, is now Janay Rice, his wife.
One in every four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. It is estimated that 42,420,000 victims of such violence live in the United States alone. The vast majority of these will never be reported.
The song comes on the radio and we feel the passion of the words. We are strong, unshakable, titanium! It is a nice thing to pretend. It is a lie. We are not bulletproof, we are human.
These ladies, they hurt. They are broken, crushed–crushed beyond belief they can even be put together again. They accept their broken fate, believing a lie that they will never do better, never be able to find a way out.
They are someone’s little girl.
They too had dreams and hopes, twirling in their pink dresses, imagining their Prince Charming. They giggled at his attention, ached with passion in his sweet touch. Then, he struck. As time went by, they learned to accept the blows, the dreams pushed beyond reach, a far off memory of foolish imaginings.
They may be grown, they may be “big.” Inside, they are just like all us “big” girls: fragile. They still deserve the world.
My heart is broken and yet what can I do?
As a mom to one little girl, I can start here. I do not mean with simply my daughter herself either. Many friends will enter her life as the years go by. Many girls will come across my path, sit at my kitchen table, sleep over at my house. I will have the opportunity to converse with countless numbers of these precious souls.
One in every four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
How many of these 42,420,000 victims will I encounter?
When I am tired and do not want her friends over, may I stop and remember this number. When the friend is annoying, disrespectful, unlikable, may I embrace her with open arms. May I somehow find a way to plant a seed of confidence, a self worth in their hearts. To know they are priceless, to be treated with nothing less than respect and love.
To all those out there today, victim to this undeserved abuse: I am praying for you. You are not alone.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.