Speaking as someone who experienced domestic violence first hand, I concur with John’s decision to post the animated gifs and video footage to Jon Green’s earlier story about the NFL’s inaction regarding former Baltimore Raven’s star Ray Rice knocking his girlfriend unconscious, on tape.
One of the reasons abuse and violence happens and is allowed to continue to happen is because people don’t see it happening in front of them.
“He hit her. He punched her. He dragged her unconscious from the elevator and then acted like it was no big thing.”
These are descriptive but ultimately abstract statements. People will analyze them in a subjective way. Most people haven’t actually witnessed such things happening, and so in nearly every case the mental image they’ll come up with won’t be nearly as bad as the reality.
The video… well, it doesn’t lie. Ray Rice and his fiancée are having an argument. And yes, the clearer video before they got onto the elevator does appear to show Rice spitting on her (or some similar motion), and she responded with a rather lame backhand slap.
In the elevator, he shoves Janay a few times. I and several others think it shows him spitting on her a second time, she pushes back, then he appears to slap her face. She then puts her hand up to protect herself.
She then comes towards him, and he decks her with a punch so hard her head appears to bounce hard off a metal railing in the elevator.
And then — this is the part that gets me — he spends the next several seconds just standing there, waiting for the elevator to stop. Doesn’t bend down to check on her, doesn’t show the least concern that she’s unconscious. And then when the doors open, as John remarked, Ray Rice dragged her out like a rag doll, not caring that her dress was hiked up, drops her on the hard tile floor (even though she’s just had a head injury) and even at one point shoving her leg to one side with the toe of his shoe.
First, he knocks her out.
Then he does nothing, initially. Finally he bends down to pick her still-unconscious body up, like a rag doll. He doesn’t check her vitals. He doesn’t loving touch her face to see if she’s okay. He just picks her up, as if this kind of thing happens all the time.
Then, he appears to change his mind and drops her on the ground. Note her head landing on the right side of the frame, not guided by his hand — she simply appears to have been dropped.
Next comes the rag doll drag and kick. Note the little kick he gives her at the end, after he picks up her shoe:
And then, after the kick, check how many times he bends down to see if she’s all right. Zero.
The important thing as we’ve learned isn’t that Ray Rice was accused of assaulting his fiancée (now his wife, and about-to-be-statistic). It didn’t matter that there was incontrovertible proof the assault happened. The NFL and the Ravens didn’t particularly care about more than a token gesture — a suspension shorter than if he’d been caught smoking grass — until the video came out and Rice (in their eyes) committed the far more serious offense of embarrassing the league. According to NFL standards, if you want to beat your girlfriend, fiancée, or wife, sure go right ahead, it’s no big deal — just don’t be SEEN doing it, and most of all don’t be videotaped doing it. Or then, we gotta let you go.
So yeah — this stuff needs to be seen. It needs to be experienced and witnessed, or else people will continue to talk themselves into believing “he assaulted her” or “he punched her” can’t possibly be as bad as some might describe it. Once you see the spitting, and the punches, and then see Janay’s head bouncing off the railing, and Rice’s apparently indifference and disdain for her condition — you can’t unsee it. And no one should.