This is why your Ray Rice jokes aren’t funny…

Once there was a time when I felt uneasy about sharing my opinions, especially on hot button, polarizing discussions. I was afraid speaking out would make me look like an uptight, humorless person who took things “too seriously.”

A person that society tries to quietly “hush up” by ways of an eye roll, or passing remark (“dude, it’s just a joke…lighten up”).

And though, I am sure I won’t ever fully be ready to hop on my soap box and preach my opinions on the injustices of the world, I think I have finally found it in me to speak up on something that really gnaws very deep inside of me.  And for those closest to me, they most likely know why.

Recently there has been a lot of discussion surrounding Ray Rice, his now wife, and domestic abuse. I’ve heard many passing remarks on this situation. Some turn it into a joke (“Don’t make me Rice you”). Others find a way to place blame on Rice’s then fiancee (“She hit him first, plus she was drunk…so…”).  Others don’t quite seem to hit the nail on the head (“If it was my sister, my daughter – I would be outraged”).

Here is the thing, every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten. Every day in the US, more than 3 women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women…more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.

Domestic abuse has been a long-standing problem within our society for decades upon decades. But yet, we as a society find it necessary to pass jokes, victim shame, or downplay a serious societal problem. Is it because we do understand domestic abuse?  Or is it too uncomfortable for us to comprehend the situation?

We joke, shame, and blame all rather than work toward a solution to change a long-standing problem. We do this rather than talking about domestic abuse with our daughters AND sons. Rather than CHANGING the way we talk about domestic abuse, we boycott with no results. We place  focus on institutions and situations that have nothing to do with the root cause.

And perhaps, this is is where the problem starts. As a society it is easier to look away, make a joke, or skirt around the initial situation. Perhaps it’s easier that way.

However, I’m not going to take an easy stance on this particular dialogue and this is why I will tell you why your douchey Ray Rice joke isn’t funny.

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29 Things I Have Learned in 29 Years

In honor of the last full day of being in my 20s.

  1. Don’t tamper with the recipe that makes you the person you are today.
  2. Exercise is important and running is hard. 
  3. Hope and the pursuit for happiness will be what help you through your darkest days. Only you can make your situation better.
  4. Your journey is yours, comparing it to the path of others will only lead you the wrong way.
  5. Spaghetti-Os are a great source of protein.
  6. Amazing memories very rarely come from following the rules. 
  7. Don’t get caught. Don’t get arrested and if you do, let it be by an apartment security officer catching you drinking an old Fuzzy Navel…underage. 
  8. Go to the dentist regularly. Seriously. Dental insurance is awful. 
  9. Ask for help when you need it. No matter how hard it is.
  10. Let people in. Be honest to yourself first. Love hard. 
  11. Your parents are much cooler then you thought they were when you were sixteen. Cherish their advice, most likely they will be right. 
  12. Surprisingly, when you get older your siblings will become one of your closet friends. 
  13. Everything is a learning opportunity. The hardest obstacles are oftentimes the best lessons.
  14. You will never look as cool dancing as you did when you were 18.
  15. The more you follow the news, the more you will be let down, afraid for, and pissed off by humanity.
  16. Knowledge is power. Follow the news to help humanity. 
  17. A quiet moment can be found in the pages of a book.
  18. Be kind to animals. Always. 
  19. It’s always okay to have a cupcake.
  20. Respect yourself to get the respect of others.
  21. There will be people out there who vehemently disagree with choices you have made in life. That is okay. You are still a good person and people love you. 
  22. You will never feel ugly wearing red lipstick. Ever.
  23. Passive aggressiveness gets you nowhere.
  24. Take time to write for yourself. Your words make you unique. 
  25. Stress is debilitating. Stop stressing so much.
  26. You aren’t letting anyone down. You are doing your best. Keep doing that. 
  27. Those who change your life will come unexpectedly.  
  28. Don’t hate the wrinkles on your face. They line your face because you have laughed, cried, and are experiencing life how it should be experienced. But…don’t forget to moisturize.
  29. You will always be that little girl with the big glasses and the big smile. Be good to her.
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