Janay and Ray Rice: The Vicious Cycle of Abuse

I’ve read, watched video footage, and viewed images of two people, Ray and Janay Rice, both working very hard to protect the one they love the most, Ray Rice. I won’t join the voices of thousands who cry out to Janay warning her of what’s to come, or trying to convince her to leave her now-husband. I won’t join those voices because I know that our voices don’t matter to Janay, not in the way we would hope, and especially not right now. Right now the only thing she is focused on is protecting Ray and trying to lessen the blow that he has now received after his heinous attack on her. She’s trying to help him with his self-inflicted wounds. I won’t even join any of the voices that criticize her for doing so. See I understand the place and space she’s in right now. She’s both in survival and denial mode. You can’t fault her for that. Look at the symptoms and not the person.

Look at the symptoms of a Floyd Mayweather who thought it wise to add his voice to the mix and say, “I think there’s a lot worse things that go on in other people’s households…it’s just not caught on video, if that’s safe to say.” Floyd Mayweather believes that the NFL was too harsh with their sentence against Ray Rice, and that they should have stuck with their original two-game suspension. Interesting…especially since Mayweather had to serve time,  plead to reduced charges in a domestic violence case involving his ex-girlfriend, and is now involved in a civil lawsuit brought on by his former fiancee. Um, Mayweather, you might want to self-impose a gag order on yourself right about now. It’s amazing how Mayweather found a way to turn Ray into the victim here as though Ray got knocked out in the elevator.

Look at the symptoms and not the person. Let’s take Ray and Janay (and definitely Floyd) out of the equation and look at the symptoms of the disease. Abuse is a disease. For the balance of this post I will use their names, but I want you to simply visualize Janay and Ray as just random people that you just saw on the street, and not a pro football player and his wife highlighted in the news. Are you ready? Okay let’s do this…

Janay unfortunately like many other victims of domestic violence, now has to carry around the badge and burden of her abuser’s insecurities and inadequacies. So she turns into Ray’s biggest supporter and advocate. Janay took to social media, blasting the media and others because “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.

That my friends is the classic remorse displayed by a victim of abuse when they aren’t prepared and empowered to stand strong (and instead feel blindsided) when their abuser is unexpectedly exposed. Had she been the one to request the video footage to pursue prosecution, then she would have no regret, but because a stranger brought forward the footage without her or Ray’s knowledge, she feels ashamed and victimized—but not by Ray. Why oh why do we lean towards trying to protect the ones who hurt us the most? It’s because we’re conditioned to fix, nurture, and help.

For those of you who are dumbfounded and confused by Janay’s responses on Instagram, let me shed some light on things for you. Have you ever witnessed a couple fighting and when a good samaritan steps in to help the person being attacked, the couple turns their anger towards the samaritan and then begin to attack him or her? That’s what’s happening right now with Ray and Janay Rice. The public and media are the good samaritan under attack for trying to help Janay.

Look at the symptoms and not the person. 

Janay stated that she and Ray both have regrets about that day. But what could Janay possibly regret about that day, other than not leaving Ray when she regained consciousness? Considering the cycle of victimization, and adding a bit of sarcasm to help really highlight how deeply intense and serious this situation is, let me share these possible regrets that many abused people would have (that many of you would find absolutely absurd and intolerable). Most likely, her regret was

  • not immediately apologizing for being upset with him for whatever he initially did or said to her,
  • for being the ’cause’ of his anger,
  • being the ’cause’ of him losing control,
  • not de-escalating the situation, and
  • being the ’cause’ that made Ray’s lack of control turn into the purest form of violence and total disregard for her life, wellbeing, and dignity.
  • She most likely regrets wearing a dress and sandals that day, because when Ray flung her out of the elevator like a sack of potatoes and let her lay limp with her legs wide open,
  • she then inconvenienced him once more because then he had to make the effort to pick up her purse and go back in the elevator to grab her other shoe that fell off when he knocked her unconscious. Gosh and had she held on tightly to her purse, then maybe it would have stayed on her and then Ray wouldn’t have had to hold it while he moved her body.
  • Then her regret goes deeper because then he had to struggle with moving and positioning her slumped body out of the path of the soon-to-be closing elevator door.

What are Ray’s regrets?

Does he regret hitting her? Does he regret knocking her out, or is it that he regrets knocking her out in the hotel elevator? It would have been easier to wait until they were in a room, so that when he knocked her out she could just lay there motionless until she regained consciousness. In my opinion, you don’t see remorse when she hit her head on the elevator railing. You don’t see remorse coming from him when he dragged her and then propped her up while yelling something at her, as though she were responsive. He seems more concerned with getting her and her stuff out of the elevator, but not holding her in his arms and trying desperately to get her to wake up, while screaming for someone to get help. 

So what exactly does Ray regret? Hmmm…maybe getting caught on tape?!? Just speculating.

I say this because if there was true remorse then he wouldn’t have allowed an outsider to oust him, he would have ‘manned up’ and taken ownership for his assault on his then-fiancee’, and he would have went to their families and friends and went to his employer and admitted his wrong. He would have self-surrendered to the police and self-enrolled in domestic violence counseling while awaiting his fate. No, instead he narcissistically sat back thinking that his actions were already punished to the fullest extent, probably thinking that a two-game suspension was severe enough (just like good ole’ Mayweather thinks). Some may speculate that he even thought as many other abusers do, that his apologies, flowers, gifts, and walking down the wedding aisle was good enough to make things right between he and Janay, and anyone else looking in at their relationship.

What message are we sending to girls and boys out there? What message are we sending about the value of a woman? Can men simply do and say whatever, treating women worse than anyone would a stray dog?


Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. The Paradigm Life. All Rights Reserved.

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