In recent months there have been several high profile domestic abuse cases in the NFL, namely Ray Rice slugging his fiancé in an elevator and Adrian Peterson beating his son. Both of these acts led to severe penalties to both players, as well as a campaign by the NFL against domestic abuse. This is an excellent starting point for ending domestic abuse, which is an epidemic that is far more widespread than most think.
The unfortunate misconception about domestic abuse is that many people think it only involves physical abuse, while the reality is far more horrifying: it doesn’t. Domestic abuse comes in several forms including verbal, mental, and physical. Verbal abuse is probably the most common form. It involves cursing at someone unnecessarily, and with horrible language that is extremely inappropriate, especially for a child to hear. Verbal abuse in itself comes in many forms, all of which are equally damaging.
Mental abuse is arguably the most damaging form of domestic abuse. This is where control freaks gain their power. They use subtle tactics to get what they want, and revert to verbal or physical abuse if they do not get it. For example, my dad is a massive control freak, up to the point that he calls my friends trash every time I text then when I’m at his place for visitation. He also says I don’t have ambition (I’m in marching band, and I’m captain of my tennis team, as well as my other endeavors) and calls me a slug as well, but only when I either have things going on that don’t involve him, or I’m just talking to my friends. A few years ago one of my best friends moved into the apartment next to him. He then made numerous complaints against them and almost got them evicted if they didn’t “shut the (explicitive) up.” He also limits my food intake because he thinks I’m overweight. I’m 5 pounds over what I should be, but that’s all muscle. It gets to the point where I genuinely start to feel like I’m a failure (despite the fact I’m in the top 10 in my class out of over 500 students) and I’m not going anywhere in life. I’m one of the lucky ones though. My mom is the polar opposite of my dad and I live with her most of the time. Not all kids are this lucky. My mom went to court a few years ago to help me get away from the monster. The attorney couldn’t do anything because the abuse was not physical. To this day, I still am forced to go to his apartment by the law. The law is broken.
There is one more form of abuse: physical abuse. This is the most obvious form and is the most brutal. Bruises may heal, but the fear of not knowing when the next beating will occur is what is so horrible for those abused, as well as the memories of what happened. The memories are eternal. My mom was literally on the brink, twice, when the police showed up and saved her life. One of the times, one of the two responding officers took my dad’s side. I’m sorry if I’m naive for thinking this, but when a woman has bruises all over, isn’t it obvious she is the victim?
This is why I have made it my goal to bring help to all those poor kids and spouses that live through the horror that is an abusive relationship. There is one sentence that is so ignorant, but yet I hear so often about Ray Rice’s now wife:
“She knew what she was getting into.” She may have known, but it is extremely difficult for anyone in that situation to leave. The abuser makes it seem like they deserve that and they will never have anything better than what the abuser is doing to them.
This is why we need to change the law. We need to help all those who are living in hell on a daily basis, and we need to stop abuse in order to improve lives, and in many cases, to save lives.
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