It’s hard to ignore all the media around Ray & Janay Rice and I rarely feel encouraged by social media to blog, mostly because I don’t want to come off as using someone else’s struggle for blog hits. I don’t make money off my blog so I’m not really pandering to the lowest common denominator if I choose to discuss high profile news stories such as this one but it’s never felt right to me, until now.
The problem that I have with the media, comments on social networks, bloggers and the like is that everyone has their opinion on Janay Rice and why she stayed. Opinions are dime a dozen, everyone has one, and most people won’t shy away from giving theirs.
Anyone whose read my blog or knows me personally knows that I’m a domestic violence survivor. Domestic violence is topic that I read about daily, I’m drawn to other people’s experiences and stories but reading about Janay’s story feels intrusive. I’m not bothered by the factual reporting of her abuse, I’ve shared those on social media myself, more so the opinion pieces and comments on social media.
Maybe in the future Janay will decide to tell her story, until then it’s not our story to tell or speculate on. As participants on the internet who choose to inflame her or speculate on her story we are silencing her right to tell her story in her time, taking away her voice and her power with our judgmental opinions; much like an abuser would.
We should respect her decisions (even if through our own experiences we disagree with them) and her right to privacy. When she’s ready to tell her story I hope we can learn from her experience and choices. Who knows in the future maybe she will choose to use her platform to reach out to other victims of domestic violence, to use her story as an example on how to overcome this epidemic, to progress as a society beyond the need to abuse our spouses and our children.
Until then it’s not for us to decide when she tells her story or when, if ever, she justifies her choices to us. Right now she has to find the strength to work through what happened to her and her family. The healing process is a long journey, sometimes the wounds never heal, and maybe she will never tell her story. No matter what her choice is I feel as though the rest of us should stick to factual reporting and leave her story to her to do with as she pleases, when she pleases.