Friday, September 12, 2014

When Your Opinion Is Not Helpful

 Ray Rice, Running Back with the Baltimore Ravens, and his wife, Janay Rice
Ray Rice, Running Back of the NFL Baltimore Ravens, and
his wife, Janay Rice
Social media has made far too many of us talking heads. In an anonymous fashion and sometimes with cruel words, we post opinions on any and every thing. When we were young and one of our "friends" offered an opinion that the majority did not agree with, we would say, "So what, it's a free country!" Yes, free speech is definitely a right. However, when it comes to #domesticviolence and the victims of domestic violence in particular, our words can have more of an effect than we are aware of. Remember, when you publish something on social media, it lives on in perpetuity.

One in three women have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner. The next time you are walking down the street or sitting in a movie theater or church, count the women you see and think, statistically, every third woman has experienced some form of #domesticabuse. Further, 3.2 million women have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner. (1) Unfortunately, approximately 1300 people per year will lose their lives to domestic violence. (2)

I, like some of you, have family members and friends who were in physically abusive relationships and it was not an easy thing for them to just get up and leave. As Beverly Gooden said in the video below, they were emotionally attached to their abuser. Thankfully, they all survived the domestic abuse and they are not in those relationships today. 

Contrary to what social media would have you to believe, everyone in these types of relationships are not stupid or "crazy". The victims span all races and socioeconomic groups. Criticizing their choices or calling them (the victims) stupid is not helpful and does not encourage them to make positive changes in their lives. Negative reinforcement is not helpful to abuse victims. In fact, it may cause them to be more depressed and stuck in their current situation. It also may force them to take the side of the abuser. (See the video below for some advice from Beverly Gooden, a former domestic violence victim, and Dr. Phil on what abuse victims can do to get out of their situation and how someone can be helpful to an abuse victim.

On my soap box...

No. 1--Some (not all) of the negative things we say on social media about people should be reserved for the "ears" of our nearest and dearest friends and not published for the world to see in perpetuity. Words have power, use them wisely. 

No. 2--While I will not offer an opinion on Ray and Janay Rice's situation because its not my place to make a judgement on their marriage and family, I do believe that people should never stay in abusive situations. One's personal safety (and the safety of their children) should be the most important factor in their decision-making. 

No. 3--People can change. We have the power to make changes in our lives. I believe that God can change a person's heart and mind. God can also empower us to do the things we need to do to make lasting changes in our lives. Counseling, prayer, discipline and accountability to a partner or group are tools that can help us sustain the change we seek.

...Off the soap box


Beverly Gooden, Domestic Violence Survivor talks about her
experience on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts
1. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Website--Fact Sheet 

No comments:

Post a Comment