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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