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Domestic Violence - Is it Out of Control? asks Work at Home Grandma

Updated on September 18, 2014

Football is a favorite

Are we holding our football stars accountable?

I recently listened to a debate on talk radio regarding the Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice debacles. It was fascinating to hear the various viewpoints as to what constitutes violence and what action should be taken about this violence. I guess I have to ask myself the question we all should be asking: why are some people made to be accountable for egregious behavior while some are not? Are we really holding these perpetrators accountable?

We can't let the glamour cover up the violence

Domestic Violence on the Rise

Some people will argue that men are taught in the sports arena to be physically aggressive thus should be excused or “understood” for their behavior because is difficult to turn off these tendencies in their personal life. I submit that if they are so weak that they cannot separate moral behavior from a game of sport they should take a look at the misplaced muscle in their brain.

Society is quick to condemn a child molester, a physical abuser or a rapist, but somehow the criminal justice system is very negligent when it comes to sports personalities. I often think of soldiers who are sent away to war and taught to kill. Statistics show that soldiers returning from war are responsible for 21% of all domestic violence charges while college athletes account for 35% of domestic assaults on college campuses. The Veterans Administration contends that PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is responsible for the high rate of domestic violence as women involved with veterans suffering with PTSD are two to three times more likely to suffer abuse than their female counterparts in a relationship with soldiers who do not have the disorder. Why there is there so little being done about domestic violence from veterans when there have been over 700,000 veterans diagnosed with some sort of stress disorder or physical ailment after returning from war?

Where is the accountability? What has our society become when we overlook a serious criminal act committed by a sports persona and push under a rug all the veterans whose mental and physical ailments prevent them from living a normal life.

We are a country that abides by the rule of law, except when it comes to athletics. Look at Michael Vick, for example. His time in prison is served and now he is back on the ball field. Ray Rice wasn’t even arrested for rendering his girlfriend unconscious. It was only when video of the incident surfaced that he was finally removed permanently from football. At first sight the Vikings chose to allow Adrian Peterson to play ball but after a public outcry he was benched indefinitely.

All this says a great deal about our society and the magnitude of rules that are being overlooked. It is a well known fact that domestic violence committed once is often committed again and again. Once an abuser, always an abuser is a slogan that has been proven true over and over. So what is the answer and can it be stopped?

The Love of the Game

Is Abuse Overlooked for the Love of the Game

Along with domestic violence comes the improper discipline of children and the abuse that follows. Unfortunately, as in the case of Adrian Peterson, he claimed to be following a learned behavior from his father before him. This is often the case in domestic violence. If the child sees his father hit his mother, he in turn will often abuse his wife. If the child is disciplined harshly he will often become a strict disciplinarian. The rule of the thumb, however, does not always hold true. There are documented instances of parents never striking their child in any way because of the abuse they suffered and because they do not wish to inflict the memory of a reprehensible action upon their own child. These parents have made themselves aware of the potential danger to their children and do something to prevent an incident from happening. Parents that bury their head in the sand and blame their poor parenting skills onto their upbringing need to examine whether or not they should even be a parent. Loss of self control when disciplining a child is like stepping on tiny animal when it cannot defend itself. It should never be allowed to happen.

What is the middle ground?

I do not believe that children should be raised without any sort of discipline. As the old saying goes, “spare the rod and spoil the child”. People often think this comes directly from the Bible but the actual version we use in everyday speech was written by Samuel Butler in his satirical poem first published in 1662. The verse should not be taken literally but in essence means a child is better off when constructive discipline is used to convey right and wrong. Disciplining a four year old child with switch swung by a 250 pound man is never acceptable.

As a parent I had no problem allowing a much needed spanking or some other form of discipline. My son received a belt whack on his bottom a couple of times during his adolescent days. Of course he was a teenager and not a four year old child. My daughter never received any more than a verbal reprimand as she was too fragile to withstand a man’s strength. I can recall shaking my daughter by the shoulders when she was a teenager. I will always remember the one spanking received by my granddaughter from her mother. She stood washing her hands at the bathroom sink and suddenly turned to me and said, “You know what, Grandma? My mother spanked me on my bare bottom last week.” My amusement hidden, I replied, “Well, if she spanked you she probably had a good reason and a good swat probably hurt your feelings more than it did your bottom.”

That one simple incident was remembered well by the little girl and it gave her a healthy respect for her mother but not a fear. When questioning my daughter it was very apparent that the spanking was a necessity at the time but not a habit that was cultivated. If the child shows physical evidence of your spanking, you have over-stepped your bounds. A child who lives in fear of a parental beating is not a happy and healthy child. A child who respects the authority of a parent and learns to abide by rules is the child that will grow up to respect the rules of society as well as the rules of the family.

As parents we must make a decision together just how our children will be disciplined. Poor judgment can often reap havoc on the lives of your children. When parenting decisions are removed from the home and put into the hands of government bureaucracy mistakes of magnitude proportions are often made with serious consequences. The damage has been done and lives are often ruined. Where is the fine line between the legal system and the parent? It is a gray area worth examination by all of us.

What Do You Think About Abuse

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Is the Legal System Fair

So What About Accountability?

We will all have things happen in our lives from time to time that are unpleasant. If we are a public figure, the media is quick to report any indiscretions. Everyone will know the sordid details of the calamity that has befallen us. We are made to be accountable by the criminal justice system, but who makes them accountable? If you check statistics you will see a great discrepancy in punishments given to sports persona verses your average citizen. In fact, not very many of them even served out their full sentence. Currently, two major NFL players have committed a crime and have been dismissed or benched by the NFL but little is said about the legal ramifications of their acts. In fact, according to recent news sources, Rice will not have to serve any jail time.

Why do cases of domestic violence committed by the average person result in incarceration, probation and fines. Often it is determined that the violation was a mere push by a hand where no physical injury was even sustained. Police were called and someone was arrested. Their lives were turned upside down for nothing. The courts are flooded with domestic violence instances that cost taxpayers and those involved thousands of unnecessary dollars and court time. Yet blatant documented abuse by a sports personality is overlooked in many instances. It is very interesting that many of these men were abused themselves as children and because of that people look to excuse them. Being abused is no excuse for abusing others. Hopefully they will get the help they needed to conquer their demons and become better people for it.

We can’t leave the discussion without reviewing the other kind of abuse that plays into this sordid tale. The mental abuse that often occurs along with the physical enhances the severity of the situation.

Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse can render a person helpless when they are constantly listening to slanderous remarks and criticism. They listen to vindictive remarks so often they soon begin to believe them as truth. This is when they mentally crumble and are able to be successfully manipulated by the abuser.

Emotional Abuse

Children more than adults can become victims of this type of abuse. The abuser uses psychological methods to intimidate and convince the child they are only loved by the abuser themselves. When victims are isolated and alone, they become extremely vulnerable to this type of abuse. Child abusers and kidnappers often convince children to behave in a certain manner to protect people they love. Why do you think Ray Rice’s fiancé is so determined that he not be punished? Perhaps he has manipulated her into forgiving him and starting over. Perhaps she is afraid to testify against him. She doesn’t even want him punished for what he did. Unfortunately, as in the case of Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice, forgiveness can be given but consequences must be faced.

We all know the two high profile murder cases involving sports personalities OJ Simpson and Oscar Pistorius. The facts said they were guilty. Both were found not guilty or guilty of a lesser charge by courts.

What Part Does the Media Play?

Do we hold the media accountable? How many people have lost everything because they were put on trial and convicted by the media? I recall when Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading and was degraded and demoralized by her ordeal. Paula Deen lost everything she had because of a racial slur she made 20 years ago. George Zimmerman was convicted by the media before he even went to trial. Of course Stewart and Deen will bounce back but George Zimmerman’s life is ruined. Something about all that doesn’t seem fair.

I read a recent essay from Robert Ringer, one of my favorite motivational experts. It is a little off from his current style but rings true to what has happened to the NFL in recent days. It was an interesting discussion about appearance as well as behavior of football players. It has changed drastically over the years from clean shaven, short hair to dreadlocks and massive tattoos.

What can you do?

We can be thankful that in the case of Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice the public has stepped up to the plate and said enough is enough. It is only by doing just that will things change. If abusers are allowed to be forgiven without any consequence, where is our rule of law? Every day common people are forced to abide by the rule of law. We need to make all people accountable to that same rule. If all those accused of a crime were named John and Jane Doe and punishment was based strictly on facts, I wonder how many famous people would be behind bars today.

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    • profile image

      sheilamyers 2 years ago

      I hate hearing any excuse people use for abusing other people. Yes, statistics say a person abused as a child will often become an abuser. But what I often hear is people like that saying they thought it was wrong for either themselves or one of their parents to be abused. Then why do they turn around and do something they hated back then? It's just an excuse. I won't rant and rave about the professional athletes who get off the hook. All I'll say is they should face the exact same penalties as anyone else who does it. This is especially true when there's no doubt they did it because the act was caught on tape.

    • Sandra Eastman profile image
      Author

      Sandra Joy Eastman 2 years ago from Robbinsdale MN

      Thanks Sheila. I share your sentiments exactly. That is why I wrote the hub because I was so frustrated about how these guys are getting a pass on everything. Unfortunately, I must have stepped on a few toes as I won't get any ads on this one but at least I spoke up.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I believe it is very important that writers raise awareness through articles like this one. Abuse is an epidemic in the nation, and it is time that everyone speak out about it. Well done!

    • Sandra Eastman profile image
      Author

      Sandra Joy Eastman 2 years ago from Robbinsdale MN

      Billybuc

      Really appreciate the read and thoughts. Thanks also for the follow. Looking forward to reading your hubs

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