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Abused Women: Why They Stay, Why They Leave

Ray Rice and Janay Rice

Ray Rice and Janay Rice

By Jameelah Medina, PhD

We have all heard about (former) NFL player, Ray Rice, receiving a 2-game suspension for a domestic altercation with his former fiancée. Janay Rice, who is now his wife, explained that she was partially at fault for the violence that led to being unconscious in an elevator; however, most did not know the extent of the violence. We all know that it takes a serious amount of force to render someone unconscious, but the recent release of the entire surveillance video showing how she lost consciousness set off a storm. In short, the video shows Mr. Rice reaching for her before they enter the elevator. Once in the elevator, he strikes her. She responds by pushing him, and he hits her again hard enough to knock her to the floor. On her way down, her head hits a handle bar in the elevator. Once on the floor, she does not move; she is unconscious. He is forced to drag her seemingly lifeless body from the elevator and out of the building.

While many were appalled at his violent actions, many chose to focus on  Mrs. Rice. They asked questions like, “Why did she stay with him?” “How could she marry him?” “Why would she lie for him?” “How could she sit at that press conference and support him so publicly?” While it is very easy to judge an abused woman, her behavior and choices; it is actually better to try to understand the psychological nature of abuse and the psychology of the abused and battered.

Relationships hardly ever start out abusive. There is a process of breaking in and breaking down a victim. This process involves possessiveness, isolation, verbal and emotional abuse, and other tactics. Women who have experienced physical, emotional, sexual or other forms of abuse as girls are at greater risk for entering into an abusive relationship. For many, become accustomed to seeing violence as a way in which love is shown. Others may have low self-esteem in general or at least when it comes to romantic relationships. While others see potential in the abuser and believe that they can help the abuser change.

Many women, especially in the African American community, also have an aversion to involving the authorities in domestic disputes; they would rather take the abuse than offer their abusive partner up to the criminal justice system. Within the African American community, there is also the stigma of being seen as weak and the stereotype of “the strong, black woman.” This often keeps African American women silent about the abuse they suffer.

Over 85 percent of domestic violence (DV) or intimate partner violence (IPV) is against women, and one in every three women will experience IPV in her lifetime. More than 33% of teenage girls already report experiencing violence in a dating relationship. Abused women are often killed by their abusive partners, and the most dangerous time is when she is leaving or has just left the relationship. Roughly 72% of all murder-suicides are the result of IPV. It also takes roughly 7-8 attempts at leaving before the woman leave for the final time. Many often wonder why these women stay and judge them harshly for doing so. Just because a woman stays with her abuser does not mean that she does not want to end the abuse or leave the relationship. Most times, she has carefully weighed her options and the safest one is remaining where she is. She may remain in hopes of changing the abuser or simply to buy herself more time to plan a safe exit. Most people think of leaving as a one-time event. However, leaving an abusive relationship is a process. Once a woman is committed to leaving the relationship, it may take her months or even years before the process is finalized. And, until the very end, she runs the risk of losing her life to the abuser. If there are children involved, the leaving process is further complicated.

I do not particularly care for the NFL nor do I think they deserve applause for ending Ray Rice’s contract. However, I believe that this case represents an excellent time for our community to openly and honestly discuss DV and IPV, especially with our pre-teen and teen population.


“Let the Devil Know That ….It’s going to take more than that!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

In this life, if you choose to follow God’s assignment and God’s call on your life, know that it won’t be easy. It will not be a bed of roses. The reality is, there will come times in your life, rather than whining about how bad things are, you have to develop the resolve to square your shoulders and look the devil square in the eye and tell him, “It’s going to take more than that.”

In the Scripture, Paul tells about all the things he went through. It is a litany of experiences from one extreme to the next. Out of the context of this crisis, he talks about how he went through it all to help us understand that our assignment in the earth realm has to be GREATER than our assault in the earth realm. The Apostle Paul had to face all sorts of threats and dangers. The detailed plots on his life, angry crowds, and storms at sea, shipwrecks, all the forces of hell seemed to have been intensifying their efforts to keep him from reaching Rome.  But after two weeks of hurricane storm at sea, he survived the storm; he made it through the shipwreck; he made it through the rain. He survived the snake attack unharmed, and then he turned around and healed a number of sick people on the island. What the devil intended for evil, God turned into good.Tell the Devil, “It’s going to take more than that!”

What makes us who we are is our resolve to tell the Devil that we are not rookies at this thing. That it’s going to take more that that to break us.That it’s going to take more than that to make us walk away. That it’s going to take more than that to uproot us. For we have been at this thing too long and we have seen God turn situations around and we believe in our Spirit that God is able to sustain us. Tell him that you have chosen to look to the hills from which comes your help. The Preservation of God. He preserved Noah and his family. He preserved Abraham when he went down to Egypt. He preserved the children of Israel in Egypt and in the wilderness. He preserved Jonah in the fish’s belly. He preserved Joseph in prison and made him prince in the palace of Egypt. He preserved Peter in prison and from death and He will preserve me. I tell you, “It’s going to take more than that!”

Can I testify for a moment. The devil tried to take me out and the crowd was watching and waiting happily to see me drop dead so they could get a kick out of it and throw themselves a devil’s party. But God kept me; He preserved me, and I’M STILL HERE. I refuse to die! I’m never going to quit! “It’s going to take more than that!”

What’s the point of all this?  Don’t be ignorant. Make no mistake about it; the Devil wants to deprive you of love and of life. He wants to destroy and do away with the very reason you were created. He wants to muffle and neutralize your glory unto God the Father. He wants to get you to neglect your purpose by allowing things and situations in your life to become distractions. He will speak lies and say you have no purpose here. He will begin to make you feel as if your life is useless, that everything you do is ineffective. I tell you, The Devil is a liar!  Even though he is powerful and he is out to kill our purpose, by trying everything in his power to get us to neglect and turn away from our purpose, “It’s going to take more than that!” “Greater is He that is in us, than He that is in the world.”


Event Honors Faith-Based Shorts in “The Year of Christian Film”

Kelsey Scott

Kelsey Scott

Feature film star Kelsey Scott has just joined the star-studded line up at the 12th Annual 168 Film festival, a red carpet awards show designed as an international celebration of faith in film. The event takes place Saturday, September 13, at the Aratani Japanese Theater in Downtown L.A., located at 244 S. San Pedro Street. (Red Carpet, 5:30pm-7pm; Awards Show: 7:30pm-9pm.)

Highlighting the power of story to change culture, the 168 Film Festival showcases the work of worldwide filmmakers competing for top honors and more than $25,000 in cash and prizes. The event is presented annually by 168 Film, an organization founded in 2003 to train and equip filmmakers in the how-to’s of making God-honoring films. The talented Scott will take the stage as a Presenter this year.

Before starring opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor as “Anne Northrop” in director Steve McQueen’s Academy Award-winning 12 Years A Slave, Scott’s credits spanned a wide range of projects, including; True Detective, Grey’s Anatomy, House M.D., NCIS, Treme, Army Wives, and The Young and the Restless.  On working with McQueen, Scott says: ”Up to that point, I don’t believe I’d ever felt so trusted as an actor. He has a way of placing the scene into your hands, folding your fingers around it, and stepping back.”

This year’s festival takes on additional importance as the press declared 2014 as “The Year of Christian Film” following a host of box-office hits that grossed record numbers while dealing with faith-based themes (“God’s Not Dead,” “Heaven Is For Real,” “Son of God,” “Noah”).

According to 168 Film Founder and Executive Director John David Ware, “We in the media are in the culture-changing business. With ten amazing scripts, we could sell them all in the current climate.”

Scott joins an already all-star line-up including four-time Emmy winner Michael Learned (The Waltons); Nathan Kress (iCarly, Into the Storm); this year’s Host, comedian Kerri Pomarolli (The Tonight Show, Comedy Central, Lifetime); Vincent Irizarry (All My Children, Heartbreak Ridge, Homeland); twice Emmy nominated actor Max Gail (Barney Miller); Writer, Director Sean McNamara (Soul Surfer); Melissa Biggs (Baywatch, Dreamz: The Movie); Allie McCulloch (Homeland, Finding Amanda); Kim Estes (NCIS, Law & Order: L.A.; The Closer, The Matador, Rake, How I Met Your Mother); Melissa Disney (As Told By Ginger; Superman: Unbound); and Bryan E. Miller (film composer America, American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, Next Top Model, Access Hollywood.)

The “168 Film Festival” is a two-day affair, Sept. 12-13. Special programming for Saturday, September 13, includes “168KIDS!,” where kids ages 5-15 are invited to walk the red carpet and mingle with celebrities including Nathan Kress (iCarly), Carmina Garay (React To That), Nay Nay Kirby (Who’s Watching the Kids), Noah Dahl (Mr. & Mrs. Smith), Mandalynn Carlson (Machine Gun Preacher), Kiana Lyz Rivera (Immigrant) and Tara-Nicole Azarian (It’s Supernatural). The “Pastors & Producers Media Forum,” will bring Southern California pastors together with Hollywood leaders to discuss “Capitalizing On The Year of Christian Film,” from 3pm-4pm.

For interviews with actors, filmmakers or 168 Film Founder, John David Ware; or to obtain press kits, B-roll, stills or film clips, contact the 168 Film offices at 818-557-8507. For the full schedule or more info, visit www.168film.com.