Janay Rice's Defense of Her Abusive Husband Is Not Surprising At All

ray and janay rice
We already felt horrible for Janay Rice, wife of NFL running back Ray Rice, who was beaten to the point of unconsciousness by her husband in February. Shocking video of that attack, released this week by TMZ, has resulted in Rice's termination by the Baltimore Ravens and an indefinite suspension by the NFL. 

But we are even more concerned for Janay, who married the athlete one month following the beating, after she issued a statement through her Instagram account Tuesday morning defending her husband. 

While we feel compassion for victims of domestic violence, it's incredibly difficult for those not walking in their shoes to understand why they often share in the blame and, even more upsetting, why they choose to stay in the relationship. 


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Janay Rice wrote: 

I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I'm mourning the death of my closest friend. But to have to accept the fact that it's reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that [the] media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass [off] for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific.

Based on her statement and past behavior, it seems unlikely Janay will leave this abusive relationship. Sadly, she's not alone. 

According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline's website, most female victims of intimate partner violence were previously victimized by the same offender, including 77 percent of women ages 18 to 24, 76 percent of those between ages 25 to 34, and 81 percent between ages 35 to 49.

"Like other women who suffer domestic violence, Janay Rice’s perception of the abuse she suffers -- and her abuser -- is dramatically distorted in two directions," explains Licensed Professional Counselor Terri DiMatteo of Open Door Therapy. "She greatly minimizes the degree of the abuse and the extent of her own pain and suffering."

The fact that Janay’s public statement included the words "we regret" suggests that she experiences shared ownership and responsibility for his act of violence against her, DiMatteo adds. 

"The first step in helping victims break free of their abusers is to challenge -- and then correct -- these dramatic and harmful distortions," she notes. 

DomesticAbuseProject.com explains that many women who know they are in danger face the additional fear that if they leave, they will be hunted down and killed. Still others feel they have no way out if they are financially dependent on their abuser and can't provide for themselves or their children. 

In her post for the Survivor Series on the National Domestic Violence Hotline's blog, author Kathyrn Robinson explains. 

Financial issues can make you feel stuck, like your whole world is on hold. For someone leaving abuse or thinking about leaving, this can be one of biggest factors that gets in the way.

While there are no easy answers to solving the problem of domestic violence, help is available.

For immediate assistance, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. For a list of advocacy organizations by state, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline's website.

Have you or someone you know been able to successfully end an abusive relationship?  


Image via GettyImages/RobCarr

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