Domestic violence

#WhyIStayed Domestic Violence

While domestic violence is far more often than not brushed aside when it comes to millionaires, the video of Ray Rice's literally knocking out his fiancée Janay Palmer has taken a different turn.

This lady posted her photos on Facebook to draw attention to domestic violence

At first, the court was not even very impressed by the incident. The football player who also shoves his fiancee from the elevator after the knockout emotionless like a bag of salt, got away with a two-game suspension, a light fine and following a program on how to deal with aggression. 

Thanks to TMZ that inexplicably managed to obtain a copy of the video, the public has literally been able to speak out about this case with all the consequences that entails. Ray Rice the great football star is not only unemployed today, he has been banned for life from the NFL and dropped by Nike and all other sponsors. 

The video is painfully painful to watch, not just for women, but for any normal human being. Whatever happened before, it's not okay to knock someone out like that. Even if it were because his fiancé had lashed out at him, the disrespectful dragging of her body speaks volumes. 

What's most baffling, though, isn't shown in the video. It's the fact that this same woman, his then-fiance Janay Palmer, married him after that knockout in the face! The reason why Twitter is full of #whyistayed and #whyileft. 

Through this hashtag, women share their personal experience in 140 characters about why they stayed and what ultimately made it possible for them to leave domestic violence behind. This is a subject that has touched me from an early age.

In the small town of Wageningen where I grew up in Surinam, I have heard stories from childhood of women who could not escape domestic violence. I was not yet ten years old when the story of an Indian woman who had left her village made the front page. Due to domestic violence, she had run away and was later found lifeless. The other cases were even more poignant. A Hindu woman who hid herself in a washing machine for three days for fear of being debilitated, then committed suicide. Since then, there have been almost regular cases of Hindu women committing suicide because of the unbearable domestic violence. All young mothers, in the prime of their lives. Not normal.   

Ray's case has made me think further about domestic violence. The cases that made the newspaper in Suriname were all super sad but they all had one thing in common. They were all women who had not chosen a life of violence and were brave enough to flee a life of regular beatings. These women did not take abuse for granted and chose to risk their lives rather than settle for domestic violence. #respect!

What makes these cases heartbreakingly sad is the idea that these women had nowhere to go. They found no hearing, let alone protection or help from close relatives or friends. Domestic violence was part of it somehow, it was normal in that environment or culture. Very, very bad. #societyfail

On the other hand, I had an acquaintance, an attractive young woman from a good family who is knowingly married to a man she knew in advance was "loose hands". My honesty compels me to say that I suspect she was blinded by the jewelry he could afford as well as the so-called "status" she thought she would acquire when married. 

After her desired beautiful wedding day, the violence not only continued, she was even hospitalized once. Amazingly, she returned to him after that, too. Out of love, he was sorry, because of the children they now had and he would change. #natural. 


I don't need to tell you how painful it is to see someone you know go through this misery. It was the hardest for her parents and immediate family. Thank God she got through that misery and, admittedly, after being badly beaten up many times, she finally left him.

Although I don't know either of them, this situation seems to match that of Ray and his wife. It would be easy to judge that Janay stayed for materialistic reasons. It is clearly much deeper than I will ever understand. The tweet "#WhyIStayed: You think you know but you have no idea" is therefore the most telling to me. 

There are plenty of psychological arguments of manipulation, oppression, didn't know any better that explain why victims of domestic violence stay, but I will never, ever understand why a woman stays with a man who has ever beaten her. Once is too much. Apparently the women themselves don't even understand why they stay.

Janay's last message does not surprise me at all. In short, she puts the blame on the media, the NFL and the rest of the world. According to her, the perpetrator, her husband, and herself are the victims. This behavior is typical for women in these situations.

Helping women who choose an abusive partner is absolutely pointless. They are the only ones who can change their situation. Try an intervention and I'll give you a note that she's going back. You really look crazy.

All you can really do is indicate that you are there for her. Until then, you have to face the suffering and only hope that she comes to her senses before the violence becomes fatal.

To save the image of the sport, the NFL has now introduced a clause that imposes severe penalties on athletes found guilty of domestic violence. Although it is not a noble starting point, I think we can all be happy with this measure because it contributes to a better society. 

Men with loose hands have just as much of a problem as the women who stay with them. What I know is that these figures who beat up women are often very well aware that they have a problem but they will continue to deny it until they are confronted with the facts. From a 9 million contract to zero point zero salary and sponsors that drop you is a very good way to let that awareness sink in and take responsibility. Multiple employers should follow suit. I am convinced that it would contribute to less female violence. A 

Research shows that 45% of the Dutch population has ever been a victim of domestic violence. Of these, 10% has to deal with this form of violence on a daily or weekly basis. In more than 20% the violence lasts longer than five years. 30% sees life drastically change as a result of the violence. In 80% of the cases, the perpetrator is a man. Every year in the Netherlands an average of 70 women, 25 men and 50 children die as a result of domestic violence.

If you are a woman who is a victim of domestic violence or if you know someone, you can contact one of the authorities below. 

Domestic violence: 030 789 20 00 

support Center Domestic Violence: 0900 1 26 26 26 

Victim help:Â 0900-0101