Janay, I am so sorry.
It's not fair because, god dammit, you already struggle with control over your own life. When a person is abused by someone they love, control over personhood becomes shaky at best. Sometimes it simply doesn't exist. I do not want to add to the voices of the internet telling you why you are to blame. Janay, you are NOT to blame. Please, erase the trolls and the venom coming from this sick and twisted society. Please, allow me to remind you that this is not your fault. Please hear me when I say that you are worth respect. You are worth love. You are worth everything you dream of being. I know that you might not believe that right now, but it's true.
It's so true.
Think about this, if I walked into the bank and screamed at the teller or behaved in a way un-becoming a bank customer, would that teller then have the right to punch me in the face? Of course not. So what is it that happens when those we love violently attack us? What does it mean when we don't leave? Why would anyone stay in that kind of violent relationship?
Janay, I know why you do.
Janay, I understand. I know that when the violence happens, it is sometimes a relief. Most will never understand that but its true. Sometimes the burst of violence comes after hours and sometimes even DAYS of fear and tension. You know the violence is imminent. You KNOW you will be hurt. But the waiting. Oh, fuck, the WAITING is excruciatingly painful. How many of us push to end long and drawn out fear? All of us do. But so many will refuse to understand why YOU do. Even though we do the same under different circumstances.
And I know why you do, Janay.
It's because once the explosion is over, your loving, wonderful, attentive and amazing love returns to you begging for your forgiveness and wanting to make things right. He returns as the man you fell in love with. He begs you to forgive him. He reminds you of the love he is capable of. He convinces you that he can do better. He convinces you that he won't hurt you again. That he will FIX this!
And you believe him.
You believe him because he once WAS that person. You loved him that way. You fell for him that way. And your heart's desire is to know that loving, kind and gentle man once again. We ALL seek the love we fell for. You believe that you can help him get there. You believe that he will change.
Janay, you need to know that he may not change. He may not ever be safe to love. It's hard to hear, I know. TRUST me, I know. But he needs to change HIMSELF. You cannot change him. For if we could change people, there would be no suffering in this world. If we could change people the world would be SUCH different place, you know?
But for now, tonight, that isn't my point.
Janay, I pray you stay safe. The news today about Ray's termination hit me in two ways.
First, I was happy. I was happy because he doesn't deserve to be a hero in the NFL. I was happy because the NFL needs to send a clear and direct message to its players and fans that abusing women will NOT be tolerated. It was a bold and needed move. Abusers need to know that beating women is not going to be ignored so that giant conglomerates can make millions of dollars. I was proud of the NFL for finally taking a stance today.
But.....I was also sad. And afraid.
I am afraid FOR YOU. Just you. I am afraid that because Ray was fired over this that he will take it out on you. I am afraid for you, Janay.
I am afraid for you because I want you to live a beautiful and violence -free life. I want you to realize all of your dreams. And, fuck, I know. I know, that when an abuser is humiliated because of what they have done, they tend to retaliate. Abusers, do not OWN what they have done. They find ways to blame others. They tell you that if wouldn't have done this or that, then they wouldn't have HAD to hurt you.
Janay, he is lying. I know you have no reason to trust me, but Janay, he is lying. It's not your fault.
IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT.
Tonight I am praying for you. I am praying for your safety. Even if that means you stay with him. But I hope that someday you know in your soul that you CAN live free from him. You can have the things you dream of.
You are MORE than his. I swear to you, Janay. You are MORE than his. You are MORE than Mrs. Ray Rice. You are Janay. And your dreams are real and they matter.
May you live every day of your life free. May you live every day safe. May you know the joy of living free from violent pain. That is my prayer for you.
With love, no judgment and so much understanding,
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xoxo, Mama Pants