The reality is that domestic abuse is far too common in society and that includes Canada. According to a Statistics Canada study 50 per cent of women in Canada have experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. Think about that for a minute. Look around your office, your classroom, the street your walking on; statistically every second women you see will have suffered violence. And domestic violence is not just limited to people we don't know or people we don't see. Think about your friends and your family, your co-workers, and your classmates -- any of them could be victims of domestic violence.
This isn't Ray Rice's story of fame to public shame. It's the story of Janay Palmer, Anthea Mari and the many faceless women who have suffered through the same tale. Sadly, the NFL could have used better judgment from the moment the first video was released to the public. The original two-game suspension seems like after-school detention or a fleeting time-out in the corner, a small price to pay for what should be an incredibly adult crime.
To these women this isn't just the monster who kicked them down the stairs or told them they were worthless. He's also the man who romanced them and won their heart, the man they sleep next to, the man they make love to, the man who may be the father of their children, the man they build a life with together. To walk away from him is to walk away from the good moments, from the dream of that life. The possibility of what might have been, if only he could change and see the light. Abuse victims didn't "ask for it" or "like it" or "cause it." They are victims, and asking "why didn't they just walk away" -- whether unintentional or not -- blames those victims.
What's lost in all this is that a woman was beaten unconscious and was ignored because we apparently love sports more than we have compassion for others. No player, no matter how famous or rich, should be excluded from full punishment, counseling, and reconciliation. No woman, no matter who her abuser is, should be shamed into silence, isolation, or fear. If you're a sports fan or not, please join with me in demanding better from those who flood our TVs and ask us to love them. The people who make millions of dollars for our entertainment aren't immune to our criticism and should be held to the highest of standards. The sports world is an amazing place with amazing people but we can and must do better than this.