My granny sometimes commented on our behavior when she wanted to reinforce what was not acceptable around her.  She'd say, "Now that's uuuugly," packing in a whole lot of shame as she stretched that word into four syllables.   The leather strap that hung on the wall was a silent reinforcement of the threat stating we kids should be mindful of our p's and q's.

Fast forward to 2014.  Why did it take so long for the NFL to take serious action against Ray Rice when he knocked out his fiance last February?  Why did it take seeing a second video to know that what he did was inexcusable?  The first video showed Rice dragging Palmer out of the elevator while she was unconscious; wasn't that enough?

And how indicative is the attitude of the NFL in line with the American public?  Do most Americans believe that a slap on the wrist is justice?  My guess is most Americans don't believe that the NFL was appropriate in how they handled this situation, and the backlash is what caused them to change their policies  in general and to change the ruling for Rice specifically.

But let's go back to that strap that hung on the wall in my Granny's house.  Violence begets violence.  What we are taught when we are children shows up one way or another.  Does everyone who is whipped or spanked as a child end up beating women?  Of course not.  But I'm guessing that most who had this discipline done to them repeat it themselves when they are parenting.  There is something about pain that fuels violence to go farther afield.  And while some are able to control that anger, others are not so successful. Being raised with this type of discipline, we might minimize the damage that domestic violence causes.  According to CNN, the football team owner, Bisciotti, had the scenario in his head of what occurred that night,  "the way he pictured it in his mind Janay Rice was "wailing" on her then-fiance when he slapped her and she was close to the wall and hit her head, knocking her out."  Bisciotti says, "So why did I conclude all of that? Because I wanted to, because I loved him, because he had a stellar record."

That strap symbolizes "Might Equals Right", and our culture today glorifies violence: in sports, war, business, politics, television and movies - even in our language.  Try going for a day without using adjectives that have violent overtones by listening to what others say and to your own words.  I dare you.  (See, even that challenge has an illicit feeling.)

The next blog explores why those who endure domestic abuse continue in those situations. Palmer married Rice during this debacle.



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    Renee has been around the block a few times and has some opinions on how we interact with each other. She's bringing over the blog posts from My Peace of the Earth, and will be adding more.


    December 2015
    May 2015