Reality of domestic abusers like Ray Rice – can they be fixed?

A video that was released showing NFL player Ray Rice knocking his then fiancee, Janay Palmer, out cold in a hotel elevator and then dragging her unconscious body out generated new discussion and new action.  But the problem is, why did it take a video to make people believe what Rice did?

Ray Rice Press Conference

Some NFL players who rarely criticize each other publicly on these matters communicated were commenting on Monday, 9/8/14.  Find comments from other professional athletes and others at

Durham NOW’s Marena Groll’s really captured our outrage on the NFL commissioner’s original terrible, barely a slap on the wrist so called punishment in her 7/28/14 article.  At first, the NFL gave Rice a ‘slap on the wrist’ (in the form of a 2 game suspension and fine), and the NFL was selling sparkly pink jerseys with Rice’s jersey number on them, Marena Groll wrote “NFL’s “Beat Her Unconscious” Pink Jersey Sale! $59.95” at

(New location –

As part of Groll’s coverage (and other coverage), we know that if it weren’t for the security footage – inside and outside the elevator – nothing at all would have been done. Originally in this case, the police charged both Rice and Janay Palmer!!  Then, as Groll states, “full scrutiny of the evidence of the interior elevator footage, which was not publicly released, resulted in the charges against her being dropped. The charges against him were upgraded to aggravated assault. ” Pretty clear what happened here, thanks to video.  Even if the public didn’t see it.

Now that the elevator video is available online for everyone to view, the NFL has had to face the truth and extent of the attack, and their own glossing over (or coverup) of the attack.  The reverberations continue.

A friend of mine who’s a lawyer believes that people can be fixed. My friend believes that Rice will see the error of his ways, and he deserves help and another chance. My friend is an optimist, and unfamiliar with domestic abusers.  I believe Rice is going to attack his new wife again anyway, and she should get out now, asap.

There are many experts on Domestic Violence who have statistics on the likelihood of people being able to stop abusing. According to the NNEDV, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (, and other organization that work to end DV, it is hard for people to change, and doesn’t happen often. Specifically, a FAQ sheet answers “Is it possible for abusers to change?” as follows.

• Yes, but they must make the choice to change.
• It’s not easy for an abuser to stop abusive behavior, and it requires a serious decision to change. Once an abuser has had all of the power in a relationship, it’s difficult to change to a healthy relationship with equal power and compromises.
• Sometimes an abuser stops the physical violence, but continues to employ other forms of abuse – emotional, sexual, or financial. Some abusers are able to exert complete control over a victim’s every action without using violence or only using subtle threats of violence. All types of abuse are devastating to victims.

The FAQ sheet is available at  

Rice is going down because of his own arrogance and bad choices, and some societal issues as well.  Thank goodness there was video of the actual punch – because nothing else brought the righteous outrage and forced the NFL to face the truth.  

Janay should run like the wind.

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