Domestic Violence is a Global Issue

Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) has seen his world turn upside down after his domestic violence incident.  Photo Credit: J. Gaede
Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) has seen his world turn upside down after his domestic violence incident. Photo Credit: J. Gaede

Domestic violence doesn’t just come knocking on the door of the NFL. There are other areas of society with people from all walks of life that have been afflicted with domestic abuse and domestic violence. Elected officials have perpetuated it. Some in Hollywood have lost their lives because of it. Neighbors whom you know in the community get a jail sentence from engaging in it. College students are hurt by it. It can take place in your own backyard.

No, domestic violence is not about football and the NFL. This is a deeper and wider problem than a hundred yard football field. However, with the NFL being the most popular among all sports leagues in this country, the spotlight on a societal issue is magnified a thousand times. Hall of Fame running back O. J. Simpson was acquitted in a criminal trial but found guilty in a civil trial of killing two people.

The Rae Carruth incident in which the former Carolina Panthers wide receiver ordered a hit on a woman he impregnated, still haunts us. Beloved NFL quarterback Steve McNair was stolen from the world when his girlfriend shot and killed him when he was asleep before reportedly then turning the gun on herself in a murder-suicide wish.

Just last year, former Kansas Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher went AWOL and killed his girlfriend and took his own life. But as I mentioned earlier, domestic violence comes from all walks of life.

The so-called ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius was just found guilty of culpable homicide for the shooting death of his girlfriend.  Sadly, it doesn’t end there.

The face of domestic violence.
The face of domestic violence.

I’ve lost friends because of it. My mother survived it.  Some people like Myra Carmichael couldn’t escape it.

Myra Carmichael was a striking, beautiful young woman, who, at the age of 17, had the world at her feet. She was thoughtful, kind, warm, and had the kind of smile that lit up a room.  Every guy in the neighborhood where I lived in Long Beach, California, swooned at sight of Myra. Like everyone else, I had a crush on Myra.

Unfortunately, Myra never made it to adulthood. She was shot dead on the front porch of her parents’ home by a boyfriend she had dumped.

Myra Carmichael is not the only person I’ve known to lose their life to domestic violence. I lost a friend and a co-worker whose vibrant life was cut short by a boyfriend who stalked her.  I vividly remember speaking with her before she was shot to death.

She was always telling me how scared she was of her ex-boyfriend, and that even with a restraining order, she felt her life was in jeopardy. I was off for two days, and came to find out she was permanently taken away from this world.

I cried for weeks after losing my friend, thinking what could I have done to save her from that monster who took her life.  Domestic violence is not a subject for politicians to rally behind now so they can elected or re-elected into office. People shouldn’t just come out of the woodwork to voice their opinions about because it is easy to pile on a celebrity or a famous athlete in a comment section of a website.

It is a topic as real as this article is being written.

Singer Chris Brown (right) at a 2013 press conference with Chris Tucker, had his domestic clash with Rihanna go global. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman
Singer Chris Brown (right) at a 2013 press conference with Chris Tucker, had his domestic clash with Rihanna go global. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman

Domestic violence is a society issue. Everyone has a thought or an opinion about former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and the acts he committed against his then-fiance (now wife, Janay Palmer Rice). Domestic violence, however, isn’t limited to the actions of football players or the NFL. Tragically, it happens everywhere.

We see it on our television screens. It’s there on the big screen (Sleeping with the Enemy, What’s Love Got to do With It, The Color Purple, and The Burning Bed). We know how rampant and prevailing the domestic violence theme runs in some of the most popular video games (Grand Theft Auto). Reality shows have become almost the biggest perpetrators of domestic violence or acts of violence against fellow human beings (Love & Hip Hop, Basketball Wives, and Atlanta Housewives).

The domestic abuse carnage is highly exemplified on the Maury Povich Show and Jerry Springer, where catfights and arguments turn into full-blown violent acts between spouses and couples. This stuff has almost become must-see TV because of the outrageousness of the violence and drama that is played out on these shows.

The tragic part in the wake of the Ray Rice/NFL debacle is that what has been overlooked is how society as a whole has sort of embraced domestic violence when it is in entertainment form, but become hypocrites and condemns it when it becomes almost convient to do so.

It is important to note that any type of domestic violence should be a red flag for everyone to take notice. When Beyonce’s sister Solange attacked and beat the heck out of Jay-Z in an incident that was caught on video much like the Ray Rice episode. Long before the Rice video was released, Solange is seen on videotape smacking and kicking Jay-Z in elevator.

No U.S. Senate representative sent letters out publicly condemning domestic violence as they did in the case of the Rice incident. Do members of Congress have a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for its own members?  There wasn’t a peep about it from the National Organization of Women, an organization that has made sure their voices have been heard throughout the Rice and NFL saga.

Again, domestic violence is not an NFL issue. Domestic have knocking on the door of Hollywood in various noted cases.  Lovable actor and comedian Phil Hartman was shot dead while asleep by his wife, who then committed suicide after shooting husband. Where was the outrage then about domestic violence?

Actress Emma Roberts was reportedly arrested for fighting her boyfriend. However, the temperament from the public wasn’t as galvanized as it has been around Rice.  There was a lot of outrage around the Chris Brown-Rhianna fiasco. The point in making these observations is that domestic violence is everywhere.

The antidote to eradicating domestic abuse or domestic violence is through education. In the grand scheme of things, domestic abuse and domestic violence is a societal problem. This is not about the rich and famous. The blame game and all the finger-pointing going on are not solutions. The solution is educating our young men and women about it, counseling and developing real dialogue around the issue, and not speaking about it with an agenda.

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1119 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (San Diego Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). As a professional journalist, Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a graduate of Howard University.