Conservative darling Ben Carson: Stop “demonizing Ray Rice”

And here’s conservative darling Ben Carson weighing in on the brutal assault of Janay Rice at the hands of her then-fiance Ray Rice with a defense of the perpetrator.

Former John Hopkins neurosurgeon and conservative activist Ben Carson weighed in on the termination of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s contract, warning people not to “jump on the bandwagon of demonizing this guy.”

Carson made the remarks on Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show” only hours after the football player’s contract was ended by the Ravens on Monday, and his suspension was extended by the NFL indefinitely.

“Let’s not all jump on the bandwagon of demonizing this guy,” Carson said. “He obviously has some real problems. And his wife obviously knows that because she subsequently married him. So they both need some help. ”

I also wanted to address questions many may have about why Janay Rice has not only defended Ray Rice, but actually ended up marrying him. It goes without saying that while it seems counter to common sense for a victim of domestic violence to stay with her abuser, as this article rightly notes the reasons why victims often stay with their abusers are numerous and can be complicated.

Janay, who has since married Rice and taken his last name, has indicated that she regrets the “role” she played in the now infamous incident. On Tuesday, she posted a statement on Instagram criticizing the unwanted attention from the public and declaring that “we will continue to grow & show the world what true love is.” Her decision to remain loyal to her husband has confused a lot of observers — including several Fox News hosts, who claimed that women like Janay and singer Rihanna are sending a “terrible message” by remaining with their abusive partners.

But, at the end of the day, domestic violence experts say that’s the wrong way to approach a very complicated issue.

“When we solely focus on whether a survivor stays with or leaves their abusive partner, we place all the responsibility on the survivor rather than holding an abusive partner accountable,” Chai Jindasurat, the programs coordinator for the Anti-Violence Project, told ThinkProgress. “Intimate partner violence is about power and control, and leaving can be an extremely dangerous and frightening option for survivors.”

In fact, according to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, the victims who leave their abusers are actually in even greater danger than they were before. Statistically, separating from an abuser increases a victim’s risk of being killed by 75 percent. Black women specifically account for a disproportionate number of intimate partner homicides, and half of these victims are killed while they’re in the process of leaving their abuser.

On top of the physical risk, there are countless other well-documented reasons why domestic violence victims struggle to break the cycle of abuse. Many of them are financially dependent on their abuser. They often have kids or other familial expectations to consider. Many victims don’t want the relationship to end; they want the violence to end, and their abuser has given them hope that it will. Women of color in particular may resist seeking legal protection because they’re more worried about how the police will treat their partner than they are about their own safety within the relationship.


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