I am sorry.
I am sorry that what you went through is repeated for others to analyze, visualize, and capitalize.
I am sorry that while you may not have been in a position to speak up for yourself, whether from shock, or fear or something unexplainable, you shouldn’t have had to. Because the reality is, that tape spoke for itself, and the choice was made to silence it. And they silenced you in the process.
I am sorry that we could care less what you think and don’t want to hear any of your support for your spouse, because we clearly know for a fact that you are so abused that you lack all judgment, right? I am sorry that even those who claim they are defending “women’s rights” conveniently turn a deaf ear when you repeatedly ask for your privacy (because why would we respect your wishes and rights in full?)
I am sorry that people assume you are dumb and weak. Oh, they may not utter those words, but we can feel it after the many posts of “Oh, she is stupid not to leave,” or “oh, she is only defending him because she is so abused…she does not know how to do anything else.”
I am sorry that we think your situation is so simple. That we don’t factor that you have known your husband since you both were teenagers in Westchester, NY. That you both went to school just a block from each other. That you both have a child, named Rayven–almost identical to the name of your husband’s former team. I am sorry that we feel you should forget all those things at this time. I am sorry we don’t recognize how hard it is to dismiss those things.
I am sorry that we think we know better than you. I am sorry that we assume you haven’t thought about pressing charges, or packing your things and leaving, or publicly telling Ray to “go to hell.” I think you have thought of doing all those, and more. I am sorry others haven’t given you that credit.
I am sorry that you went through that pain–the physical, emotional, and mental. One than many have experienced. One I have experienced. I am sorry that people don’t think you know that THAT punch in the elevator….could have been the last thing you felt. I am sorry people think you don’t know how serious domestic violence is.
I am sorry people do not understand that even a hurt woman has strength. I am sorry that people talk about you through a one-dimensional lens, completely ruling out that both you and Ray are a work in progress. I am sorry that your actions have also been put on trial, and we stand as the jury to determine whether or not you are operating from a stance of forgiveness or weakness.
I, for one, do not think you are weak. I do not think you are dismissive. I do not think the decisions you make are for anyone to critique but God. I simply want you to be safe and whole. Whole in mind, body, and spirit. I DO want you to know that seeking whatever help you need is a sign of strength, and I applaud you and your family for whatever counseling you have already undergone. I encourage you all to stick through it, recognizing that the goal is not to stay married, but to stay safe. But EVEN if you do not stay within the marriage, know that THIS sister does not find you to be weak if you still care about the well-being of the man that is the father to your daughter…the man that you used to ride bikes with…the man that you said “I Do” to. And yes, the man that almost killed you. The reality is, your memories of this man is mixed and complex, more complicated than a blogger would ever know. But ALL of these memories belong to just one person: YOU. Prioritize them, and continue to walk in strength. And pray that Ray finds such strength as well.
I find no joy in debating your ordeal, Janay. None. You may feel that you all have lost the security for your daughter, your football family, and the dream you shared with your husband. None of this is your fault—I don’t care WHAT the argument was about. And I know no amount of me, or anyone, telling you that will help the situation, but it’s the truth. What I do give you credit for is for the doors I believe are opening up for you, which are far more serious than a 2-pt conversion, field goal, or touchdown. Your life will redefine the way we look at a “safety.” I believe you have that power. And I can’t wait for you to use it.
You don’t know me, but I am here. Every feeling you have, from love to rage, I’ve been there. Feelings of “I need help,” to “eff therapy, yall don’t know me,” I can relate. They are all valid, and part of the fibers we call emotions and feelings. Do what you need to live (which is different than doing what you want; you and your daughter deserve to live a long life. So make sure that happens by any means necessary). Pray for all those who judge your next moves. All your steps will not be perfect, but I do believe you are strong enough to not stay where you are. And know that God would never create you to be hurt by any man. Seek what God wants, and all with start to fall into place.
I applaud your strength. I pray you get stronger.
Your bold and fab sis,
If you have ever experienced violence from a loved one, even if it was just once, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).