Ray Rice’s domestic abuse video needs to be shared

The fallout from the Ray Rice incident has reached world-wide proportions. It has been discussed in our White House and in periodicals across our oceans. Football is getting attention for all the wrong reasons as the 2014 season of America’s favorite past-time begins.

But if you believe this all about football, you’ve got it all wrong. This goes beyond sports. This issue paints a telling picture about our culture. Right now everyone is attempting to pass blame to someone else for letting domestic violence be lightly cast aside due to stardom, or a bottom-line, or for a championship.

What we should realize is that we as a society have been guilty of sticking our heads in the sand for decades if not centuries when it comes to domestic violence. We never see it happened. We just see the aftermath. However, with the world we now live in, domestic violence can be video-taped and televised. With this type of transparency, we can see it for all of its ferocity and savagery. No longer can you ask the question, “What did they do to deserve this?”

Photographer Dorthea Lange in 1936. (Wikipedia)
Photographer Dorthea Lange in 1936. (Wikipedia)

Yes, we did have to see it – sad to say. We, as a society never look inward until we actually see the things that are tearing us apart. It took Dorothea Lange to take photographs and show America the plight of the migratory farm workers of the Great Depression. Television news forced us to look at dead bodies in Vietnam when war seemed so far away. Television also brought into our homes captions of attack dogs and water cannons turned on peaceful activists who were just looking for equality during the Civil Rights Movement.

These visuals are still with us today and we should at least take satisfaction in knowing that those images helped to bring about change.

And now the issue of domestic violence is coming to light all because of what we saw Ray Rice do.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month called sexual and intimate partner violence a substantial “public health burden.” The statistics are part of the organization’s 2011 survey of the problem which found 1 in every 4 women has been severely physically assaulted by an intimate partner.

Did you know that? I didn’t.

When more statistics are released and we as a culture are more aware of this societal illness, domestic violence will become the national campaign everyone wants to be associated with and bonded to.

Like it or not – whether you think it’s fair or unfair – Ray Rice will be the face of this problem.

In this $9 billion entity we call the National Football League, the brand means everything. The Ravens or the National Football League could not have the new poster boy Domestic Violence be a associated with the brand. Yes, winning means everything to NFL teams. However, corporate sponsorship for the League trumps even that.

This is a watershed moment in our society and this issue can no longer be swept under the rug. We can no longer use as an excuse “we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors”. Because of Ray Rice, we have now seen what goes on.