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I am not a sports fan. My husband is a huge football fan, but I manage to tune most of it out,
lumping it in with the steady drone of the washing machine, iPod games and
endless requests for cookies. But when I
heard about the recent suspension of Baltimore Raven Ray Rice, I instantly
became VERY interested.
We all should be interested in the Ray Rice situation.
If you are unfamiliar with what is going on, the NFL issued
Ray Rice with a two-game suspension and a $529,411.24 fine,
which is the total of his salary for three games. And if you’re thinking that a person earning
that much money in three games is outrageous, wait until you hear why he’s
suspended in the first place.
On February 15 of this year, Rice was
captured on video, dragging his unconscious girlfriend (now wife) out of an
elevator in Atlantic City. Rice
apparently knocked her unconscious during an altercation and has pleaded not
guilty to aggravated assault. He avoided
trial by being accepted to a pretrial intervention program in May.
How nice for him.
Many are outraged at the leniency of
his punishment and have called for stricter NFL penalties when it comes to
domestic abuse. But others? Upon release of the video, “I need to
know more first” was thrown around quite a bit.
I need to know more.
Having grown up in an abusive home, the
phrase “I need to know more” is offensive to me. “I need to know more” is “I want to know if
she did something to deserve it,” disguised as being thoughtful and fair. It’s unacceptable.
This isn’t just about this particular incident, the NFL or Ray Rice as a human being. This is about the world we want our daughters and wives, girlfriends and sisters to live in.
“He seems like a good guy, I’m sure he
just messed up.”
I hear that one a lot too.
Let me tell you a little secret — abusers carefully craft their public personas. It is important to be liked and important, as many abusers have egos
that demand to be fed. How else can you
justify hurting a woman, unless you think you deserve to?
You see a good person because it is
what they want and need you to see.
This isn’t just about this particular
incident, the NFL or Ray Rice as a human being. This is about the world we want our daughters
and wives, girlfriends and sisters to live in. This is about the fact that every time a Ray Rice gets a slap on the
wrist, it’s just another piece of the narrative whispered in an abused
Rice has since apologized to the
public, saying "I let my wife down, I let my daughter down, I let my
wife's parents down, I let the whole Baltimore community down,” and swearing
that it was an isolated incident.
Can Ray Rice be a better man? Does he deserve a chance to turn over a new
leaf? Possibly. But does he deserve to be paid millions of
dollars playing for the NFL? Does he
deserve to have his name plastered on jerseys worn by adoring fans?