Dr. Helen

The NFL's Domestic Violence Problem

Many readers have written me to ask what I think of the Ray Rice situation. I have a few thoughts. Yes, perhaps the NFL does have a domestic violence problem, but does it only go one way? How much of the violence in many relationships, like that of the Rices, is reciprocal? And where was the outrage on the domestic violence front when Tennessee Titan’s player Steve McNair was slaughtered by his 20-year-old girlfriend:

Police recently concluded that former NFL star Steve McNair was fatally shot in his sleep by girlfriend Sahel Kazemi in a murder-suicide. Yet while there are more than 10,000 media entries on Google News for Steve McNair, only a few of them even mention the phrase domestic violence.

Violence by women against their male partners is often ignored or not recognized as domestic violence. Law enforcement, the judicial system, the media and the domestic-violence establishment are still stuck in the outdated “man as perpetrator/woman as victim” conception of domestic violence.

Misandrists like Amanda Marcotte and others lament that domestic violence is always a man’s problem. No, it is not. It is so much deeper than that and pretending that only men can stop domestic violence is foolish and adds to the problem. Linda Mill’s important book Violent Partners: A Breakthrough Plan for Ending the Cycle of Abuse “challenges the prevailing orthodoxies and maps out a plan to change domestic abuse treatment programs. Drawing on case studies and research from her abuse prevention programs, Mills reveals that intimate abuse is far more complex than we realize, and develops a program for healing that engages everyone caught up in a violent dynamic.” The book discusses how much domestic violence is reciprocal (both partners participate) and how this can escalate violence. Addressing both partners in the intervention can often be more beneficial.

Our misandric, PC society is determined to use the NFL, the military, colleges and any other places that men congregate to prove that men are perpetrators and women victims in all interpersonal situations. It is not that simple, as the McNair case above demonstrates. If the NFL chooses to address domestic violence, then so should any place where women congregate as intervention is fruitless without both sexes being involved. Phony domestic violence programs are always about putting men in their place. Real solutions look at the complexity of the problem and seeks solutions, not vengeance against all men.