Domestic violence is a horrible crime that occurs everywhere-from Smalltown, USA to San Francisco, CA. Domestic violence is committed by people from all walks of life-teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicans, nurses, scientists, chefs, cashiers, celebrities*, restaurant employees, and as has become more apparent over the years-members of the NFL. Ray Rice, Kevin Williams, Santonio Holmes, Frostee Rucker, Randy Starks, Brandon Marshall, Cary Williams, Tony McDaniel, Chris Cook, Erik Walden, Dez Bryant, Daryl Washington, A.J. Jefferson, Greg Hardy, and Ray McDonald are 15 examples, but there are likely more (and that’s just the NFL-I know on the college level there are likely a great many; and that’s just one sport**). While both women and men can be the victims of domestic violence, women are at greater risk of homicide by an intimate partner than men. Annually more than 4 million women experience domestic violence. Also, men and women are not the only ones affected by domestic violence. More than 3 million children a year witness domestic violence at home and those children living in such homes face a greater risk of child abuse and neglect. (source)
Let me drive the severity of this problem home even further:
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families.
In New York City, 25% of homeless heads of household became homeless due to domestic violence.
Survivors of domestic violence face high rates of depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety, flashbacks, and other emotional distress.
Domestic violence contributes to poor health for many survivors. For example, chronic conditions like heart disease or gastrointestinal disorders can become more serious due to domestic violence.
Among women brought to emergency rooms due to domestic violence, most were socially isolated and had fewer social and financial resources than other women not injured because of domestic violence.
Without help, girls who witness domestic violence are more vulnerable to abuse as teens and adults.
Without help, boys who witness domestic violence are far more likely to become abusers of their partners and/or children as adults, thus continuing the cycle of violence in the next generation.
Domestic violence costs more than $37 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, and lost productivity at companies.
Perhaps one of the scariest facts about domestic violence is this: most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police (source).
Given that Americans love football, and the Powers that Be in the NFL probably don’t want to be seen as being tolerant of domestic violence, it makes sense that they would address the issue, no? It seems they’re planning to do so-tonight. From Jezebel:
Tonight — finally! — ESPN is going to have an in-depth discussion on the NFL’s domestic violence problem. The discussion will feature the opinions of up to 11 men and zero women, in a remarkable showing of the exact flavor of dumb meathead that ESPN is so adept at that it should trademark.
That’s like having an all-white panel discuss racism.
Or having an all cisgender panel discuss transphobia.
Or having an all heterosexual panel discuss homophobia.
You don’t do this. If you want to have a frank, open discussion about a problem of this nature, you need to have people involved in the discussion who are directly impacted. These are going to be the people who’s perspective you need to fully understand the breadth and depth of the problem. I anticipate mansplaining going on. What a fucking boneheaded move.
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*77 celebrities accused of domestic violence.
**Major League Baseball players have committed domestic violence too.
So have National Hockey League players.
I’m sure NBA players are not exempt either.
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For more information or to get help, please call:
THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE at 1-800-799-7233
THE NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT HOTLINE AT 1-800-656-4673
THE NATIONAL TEEN DATING ABUSE HOTLINE AT 1-866-331-9474