I am really angry—and sadden by how the media and the National Football League handled the domestic violence incident of Ray Rice against his fiancé, Janay Palmer, who is now his wife. For those of you who don’t know the details, here is a recap.

On Monday, September 8, 2014, the Baltimore Ravens football team released their running back, Ray Rice, from his contract not long after TMZ published on their website a video that showed running back Ray Rice hitting and knocking out in an Atlantic City hotel elevator on February 15, 2014, his fiancé at the time, Janay Palmer, who is now his wife. The National Football League Commission Roger Goodell suspended Rice indefinitely.

Another video of the incident that was published months ago came from a camera that only showed the couple outside the elevator. When the elevators door opened, Rice dragged Ms. Palmer’s motionless body out of the elevator.

In March, 2014, Rice was charged with felony assault, but Janay Palmer Rice would not testify against her husband. The court’s decision was court-supervised counseling. Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Rice from two games.

This new video prompted criticism of the Ravens and Goodell’s handling of the incident previously. The Ravens had not, at the time of the first video, disciplined Rice publically.

Apparently, unsportsmanlike behavior is nothing new to the League and Goodell, who has the freedom to choose penalties. In the past, according to a New York Times article by Ken Belson, there have been incidents involving bullying, drunkenness, weapons, drugs, and steroid use.

This information is very disturbing, but what troubles me the most is what the Ravens allegedly said on Twitter about Ms. Janay Rice’s alleged comments about regretting the role she played in the incident in the elevator.

In addition to the domestic violence, here are some things that are really disturbing me about this entire event.

Let’s pretend for a moment that she did say these words. Is it possible, we wonder, that such a huge and physically powerful man had no choice but to punch and render motionless a far less physically able woman? So, just how big does Ms. Rice think her part in this abuse could be?

And, oh, how come the scene outside the elevator where Rice was dragging—dragging—the body of his then fiancé Ms. Rice did not ignite outrage?

And, another oh, how come Rice was only given a two-game suspension?

And a bigger oh, what about the Ravens defending Rice after the first video and actually rallying around him during training?

Just how is a person supposed to speak out—and believe—in domestic violence when major organizations downplay it? Or when the media does not collectively speak out either?

When the world seems to conspire against the truth, then it is easier for victims of both sexes to doubt and minimize their abuse than to acknowledge it and protect themselves. Ray Rice and his willing deniers make me think of one of my favorite children’s books, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” No one wants to speak out and say, “The Emperor doesn’t have any clothes on.” Everyone looks the other way—or simply doesn’t “see” it any more. You can’t see what is not allowed to be thought.

So, here are my tips for victims of domestic violence. It’s the least I can offer. These tips are based on findings and tested solutions from the thousands of women I researched for my book, “Smart Relationships.”

1. Don’t be afraid to be “judgmental.” Women are often too accepting of unacceptable behavior in a partner. The women often get trapped into the false logic of: “I am not perfect. Who am I to criticize or reject someone?” Don’t think in terms of rejection. Think in terms of whether your partner’s treatment of you is respectful.

2. Get a safety plan now. Consult your local women’s organization to learn what to do in case you need to leave an abusive relationship. For example, you will learn to do things such as:

  • Open a bank account—and do not sign up for emails
    Open a safety deposit box to keep credit cards, passport, cash, and copies of documents
  • Learn the location of safe houses
  • Know whom to call in an emergency

3. Objectify your feelings to get in touch with them. For example, pretend that your incident with your partner were the headlines in your local paper—or on the electronic headlines at Times Square in New York City! Would you want the words to read: (Your name) allows partner to shove and punch again. Or, imagine an email or social media posting with the same words going out to all your contacts.

4. Know your first thoughts and feelings about your partner with each incident and afterward. Usually, these spontaneous reactions tell you a lot about you! For example, the women in my study often thought and felt: “Oh no, not again.” “One day I’m going to leave him.” “He says he’s sorry, but he doesn’t mean it.” Pay attention to these cues about your relationship. Write them down and then read them.

5. Volunteer for a charity. You will feel valued, you will learn skills, and you will make connections that could lead to a friendship or even a job or safe place! Many partners of victims don’t like the other person to work outside the home—or take on more work responsibilities. You don’t have to lie about volunteering.

6. Finally, ask yourself these questions:

Do I want to set a bad example for my children?

Do I want to be part of these statistics:

  • 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
  • Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.
  • Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men
  • Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
  • Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.

I hope these tips help. Your story could be featured in my next book: Becoming Your Own Intuitive Angel: How to Know What You Already Know.

Just supply the following information. Tell me in a few sentences or paragraph about:

1. When did you listen or not listen to your intuition about anything—a job, a relationship, friend, health, a decision or warning, or something else?

2. How did you sense the signs, cues, feelings or thoughts from this intuition?

3. What happened?

Send your information to me: dr.l.b.wish@comcast.net

Author's Bio: 

Dr. LeslieBeth (LB) Wish is a nationally recognized psychologist and licensed clinical social worker #7132, honored for her pioneering work with women’s issues in love, life, work and family. The National Association of Social Workers has named her as One of the Fifty who has contributed to the field. She is the subject of biographical entry in many Marquis’ Who’s Who publications. Her latest self-help, research-based books are Smart Relationships and The Love Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie, the cartoon companion book where you can follow a year of Cookie’s love missteps and learn about yours! Discover more and check out her books by signing up on her website. Visit www.lovevictory.com