The discussion over Baltimore Raven player, Ray Rice alleged domestic dispute with his then fiancé Janay Palmer has popped off a fiery discussion on domestic violence. Although, the topic has drastically changed from a teachable moment on anger management and accountability to whose fault is it anyway the victim or the perpetrator? That’s the head fake.
I honestly believe Stephen A. Smith intentions were well when he attempted to express his views on ESPN2 “First Take”, July 25th, 2014. However, when he injected provocation he eluded to the implication that women who are victims of domestic violence can also be the cause to the violent reaction they receive from their significant others. Steven A. Smith stated in one breath how ‘a man should never hit a woman” and then in the next how he “tells the women in his family they should never provoke a man.” A man who already has the inability to manage his anger often is very easily agitated. A person’s level of annoyance could be as subtle as a wife serving chicken instead of steak or as extreme as being popped with a Solange Knowles windmill. However, if one is going to assert that it’s never okay to hit a woman then they need to stick to their conviction and not agree with it under any circumstances. This sort of rational has been the norm because a man is generally more physically stronger than a woman. It’s the same reason why some fathers opt not spank their daughters in fear of their own strength. It’s the reason we don’t have co-ed physical sports in order to maintain equality.
Whoopi fell for the head fake hard, vehemently defending a man’s right to hit a woman back if he is struck and then generalizing that right to anyone being struck by anybody, which sounded more like someone advocating for more violence. In the real world, if you want to teach someone a lesson to not hit you, you don’t strike them back, you call the police and press charges.
Some more sound advice that both Steven and Whoopi could have given is learning how to “WALK AWAY”. We have to find better ways to communicate and resolve our issues and that starts with developing positive conflict resolution skills. Men and women need to have thicker skin and we both need to learn when to back down before things become too escalated. People who are in toxic relationships that can place their freedom and or reputation in jeopardy need to let it go!
Unfortunately, the opportunity to hone in on accountability and transformation was intercepted by provocation, thanks to Steven’s small exemption to domestic violence and Whoopi’s co-signing. Now abusers who were already in denial and don’t take accountability, have receive some validation for their actions through their own definitions of being provoked. All week people have digressed on all the different scenarios that could happen that justify being violent. What if she hit me? What if he cheated on me? But the issue isn’t rather someone can be provoked but rather a person has the ability to maintain control over there emotions.
Whoopi didn’t have to fall for the head fake, instead of justifying violent reactions she could have elevated the conversation with amicable solutions. I am also a victim of violence and it only adds insult to injury when people throw out red herrings that not only distracts people from the real issue but also reduce empathy toward the victim. We all have the ability to maintain a level of self-control. It is solely the individual’s choice on rather or not they will maintain civility or act a fool. No one can make you do anything. Even with a gun to your head you have a choice to obey or defy. So make no mistake your actions are your own and the consequences of them you deal with on your own. However, that’s what I think. I want to know your thoughts on this issue. Join the conversation by writing your comments below.