Ray Rice didn’t begin abusing his fiancée (now wife) out of the clear blue sky. He learned that behavior somewhere. We don’t know where he saw this behavior modeled.
What we do know is that in Santa Barbara County last year, there were almost 1,000 domestic abuse calls where children were present in the home. We do know that children who witness family violence are much more likely to be in abusive relationships — either as a victim or perpetrator. The numbers of reports lead us to deduce that there are probably 18,000 children in our county who witnessed or were victims of domestic violence in the past year. We know that children who witness domestic violence are as traumatized, as damaged as if they themselves were the one to be beaten. CALM has its work cut out.
A vast majority of the children we see in treatment have experienced violence in their home. We know that we can make a difference to break the cycle of violence.
It may be late, it may be for the wrong reason, but we applaud the NFL for making it clear that this behavior is intolerable. We know that changing attitudes can indeed change behavior.
Many fewer people use corporal punishment against their children because there has been education that hitting is not effective discipline. We need to talk about domestic abuse, the damage it inflicts on children, and make it completely unacceptable. Then we need to do everything we can to help those children, male and female, who have been exposed to violence in the home to heal from their wounds so that they can make different choices as adults.
CALM executive director