TIME domestic violence

13 Thoughtful Tweets About Janay Rice’s Instagram Statement

The wife of disgraced NFL player Ray Rice stunned observers on Tuesday by lambasting critics of her relationship and her husband

Many were quick to applaud the firing of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was unceremoniously suspended from professional football Monday — likely spelling an end to his career — after a video of him violently attacking his then-girlfriend Janay Palmer went viral. Some criticized the NFL’s lenient punishment of Rice before the entire video was made public.

Twitter reacted with a mix of horror, bewilderment and sympathy as the news sparked a broad based conversation about domestic violence organized around two hashtags: #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft.

This morning, Janay, who is now Rice’s wife, defended her relationship in an Instagram post that lambasts the “media and unwanted opinions from the public” for causing her family pain: “If your intensions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels,” Janay said.

That statement caused another social media firestorm. The reactions ranged from sadness and sympathy to criticism of Janay. Here are some of the most powerful tweets:

 

TIME NFL

10 Intelligent Tweets About Violence in the NFL

Football players and fans are demanding the NFL to do better

While it’s hard to see positive outcomes in the wake of ex-Ravens running back Ray Rice’s suspension from the league for domestic abuse, the incident has at least inspired an important conversation about how the NFL’s role when it comes to players’ acts of violence off the field.

Here are 10 insightful tweets, from both football players and fans, about how the league needs to address domestic abuse going forward:

See Also: How Twitter has taken a stand with Janay Rice with #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft

TIME Football

Here’s Where to Exchange that Ray Rice Jersey for Free Beer or Pizza

Wild Card Playoffs - Indianapolis Colts v Baltimore Ravens
Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs the ball during the AFC Wild Card Playoff Game on January 6, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. Patrick Smith—Getty Images

Ravens official store will accept exchange of #27 shirt for other merch, but local bars and pizzerias get in on the action too

Baltimore Ravens fans who have purchased a Ray Rice jersey from stadium stores will be offered another, less controversial jersey in exchange, the Ravens announced on Tuesday.

The offer comes amid signs that stores and fans are dumping the #27 jersey in droves, following the leaked video of the running back violently assaulting his then fiancé, now wife, in an elevator.

Local merchants told an ABC News affiliate in Baltimore that sales of Ray Rice merchandise had already been slipping since news of the assault first broke in February. When the startlingly graphic video surfaced on Monday, stores and restaurants in the city began issuing a recall of sorts.

No Idea Tavern offered a $10 tab to any customer who turns over a Ray Rice jersey at the bar. A local pizzeria, Hersh’s Pizza, also offered an exchange of free pizza plus a donation of $2.70 to the women’s shelter House of Ruth Maryland.

“These jerseys will save us money on toilet paper this week,” the restauranteurs added on their Facebook page.

TIME NFL

White House Hails Cut of Ray Rice for Domestic Violence

Baltimore Ravens v Dallas Cowboys
Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens sits on the bench against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of their preseason game at AT&T Stadium on August 16, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Ronald Martinez—Getty Images

"Domestic violence is contemptible and unacceptable in a civilized society"

The White House expressed support late Monday for the Baltimore Ravens’ decision to terminate Ray Rice’s contract after leaked video footage showed the running back committing a violent assault against his then-fiancee.

“The President is the father of two daughters,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “and like any American, he believes that domestic violence is contemptible and unacceptable in a civilized society. Hitting a woman is not something a real man does, and that’s true whether or not an act of violence happens in the public eye, or, far too often, behind closed doors. Stopping domestic violence is something that’s bigger than football—and all of us have a responsibility to put a stop to it.”

Vice President Joe Biden joined the chorus of condemnation in a Tuesday interview with the Today show. “When the video was out there,” Biden said, “and [they] saw how brutal it was, the Ravens did the right thing: fired him immediately.”

The NFL has indefinitely suspended Rice after TMZ released a video showing Rice punching his then-fiancee in an elevator and then dragging her unconscious body into the hallway of an Atlantic City hotel.

TIME justice

Rick Perry Booked in Politically Charged Abuse of Power Case

Rick Perry Mugshot
Texas Gov. Rick Perry gets booked on abuse of power charges at the Travis County Sheriff's Department in Austin, on Aug. 19, 2014. Travis County Sheriff's Department

The Texas governor faces two felony charges

Texas Gov. Rick Perry turned himself in at the Travis County Courthouse Tuesday on two felony charges of abuse of power.

Perry, who has vowed to contest the charges stemming from a threat and ultimate veto of funding to the state’s public integrity unit, surrendered himself to Sheriff’s deputies to be fingerprinted and have his mug shot taken. Perry is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.

Outside the courthouse, Perry allies protested the indictment handed down by a grand jury Friday evening. “I am here today because I believe in the rule of law,” Perry told a crowd of cheering supporters before entering the courthouse. “And I am here today because I did the right thing.”

Perry was indicted for threatening and then ultimately vetoing funding for the unit after its head, District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated. Perry demanded that Lehmberg resign and, when she refused, vetoed the funding.

“I am going to enter this courthouse with my head held high knowing the actions I took were not only lawful and legal, but also right,” he added.

The governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate has hired a high-priced legal team and deployed his political machine in his defense, which has become a rallying point for Republicans across the country. Democrats, including former Obama strategist David Axelrod, have also expressed doubts about the merits of the prosecution.

Perry cast the criminal complaint as “an attack on our system of government,” arguing it was well within his rights to veto the funding. “If I had to do so, I would veto funding for the public integrity unit again,” he said.

“I’m going to fight this injustice with every fiber of my being,” Perry said before turning to enter the courthouse. “And we will prevail.”

Perry’s political action committee, RickPAC, released a new video defending the veto Tuesday.

After he left the courthouse, Perry tweeted that he went to purchase an ice cream cone.

 

TIME Religion

Christianity Today Should Not Have Published a Rapist’s Story

The former youth pastor doesn't sound as repentant as he claims to be

PatheosLogo_Blue

This article originally appeared on Patheos.

Remember when the Good Man Project posted an article by an unrepentant rapist, supposedly as an example of things to avoid? Well, Christianity Today recently posted an article by a youth pastor who had sex with one of his students and is supposedly repentant—but doesn’t really sound that way. In fact, it squicks me out exactly the same way the Good Men Project’s posting of a rapist’s story does. Maybe worse actually, because this guy is supposedly repentant. Except not.

In the article, the unnamed jailed former youth pastor, whom we will call Tim for the sake of ease, describes his offense as an “extramarital affair” and assigns as much guilt to his victim as he accepts himself. She sinned, you see.

Tim begins his article by talking about how he grew dissatisfied with his wife. Parenting small children, he says, took a tole on their relationship. Tim says he was very successful as a youth pastor, but didn’t feel appreciated by his wife. So he looked elsewhere.

Meanwhile, there was someone else in my life that appreciated me very much. Seeking approval and appreciation, I gravitated toward that person. She and I were always happy to see each other and looked forward to each other’s company. Before long, we were texting each other and interacting through social media. Nothing scandalous or questionable—a Facebook “like” or comment here, a friendly text there. Things friends do.

But I knew what appeared innocent was, in reality, wrong and very dangerous. Red flags kept popping up. Why was I not talking about this “friendship” with my wife? Why was I being secretive and sneaky about it? Why didn’t I, in the earliest stages, when I knew the “friendship” was rapidly escalating beyond what it should be, slam on the brakes?

What Tim doesn’t mention at this point in the article is that this “friend” was underage. She was, you see, one of the teenagers in the youth group he pastored.

In the early stages of this extra-marital relationship, I thought that I was seeking approval from someone other than my wife because I was not receiving it from my wife. But me seeking approval and appreciation elsewhere had dramatically impacted how I related to my wife. The unaddressed sin—my selfishness—caused my wife to respond to me differently. I see now that I failed to nurture our marriage properly, but at the time I silently blamed her for driving me away.

The “friendship” continued to develop. Talking and texting turned flirtatious. Flirting led to a physical relationship. It was all very slow and gradual, but it was constantly escalating. We were both riddled with guilt and tried to end things, but the allure of sin was strong. We had given the devil far more than a foothold and had quenched the Holy Spirit’s prodding so many times, there was little-to-no willpower left.

An “extra-marital relationship,” he calls it. An extra-marital relationship between a youth pastor with a wife and children and a girl of 16 or so. Right. Note too that he speaks of the allure of sin affecting both of them, placing even responsibility on his victim. Neither of them, he says, had the willpower to end it.

You may have guessed by now that the “friend” in my relationship was a student. She was one of the core students, involved from the very beginning. Our families were very close, which meant a lot of time together over the years. She adored me and I loved the adoration.

And here he finally gets around to telling us, for the first time, that “friend” he had a “relationship” with was one of his students. It’s about time, don’t you think?

When my wife discovered incriminating text messages on my phone, I knew instantly that everything was about to come crashing down. After hours of screaming and crying, she packed some bags, loaded our 2 kids into the minivan and left the house at 3 AM. I have not seen my kids since. It has been over a year. The only time I have seen my wife has been in court. We have not communicated in one year. I lost my job, and was required to drop out of seminary. I pleaded guilty to 2 felonies, am serving time in prison and will be a registered sex offender for the rest of my life.

You know what’s interesting? Tim doesn’t even bother discussing how this “extra-marital affair” affected his young victim. He talks about how his life came crashing down, but he doesn’t spare another word for his “friend.” Literally—not a single word. He left his victim with a shattered life and only seems to care about the fact that he lost his ministry. Oh noes.

While Tim wrote the article anonymously, there is a note at the bottom:

The writer serves as a GED tutor and helps lead the Christian community at the facility where he is serving his sentence. He is due to be released in the fall of 2015.

Maybe it’s just me, but given how this article is written, I’m thinking this guy really isn’t ready to step back into leadership.

Fortunately, readers took Christianity Today to task in the comments, arguing that they should not have posted an article of this sort by someone who so clearly had yet to take full responsibility for his actions. One of the editors later added this note to the end of the article:

In response to readers’ concerns, the author of this piece has offered the following clarification: “I recognize that what I initially considered a consensual relationship was actually preying on a minor. Youth pastors who do the same are not “in relationship” but are indeed sexual predators. I take 100 percent of the responsibility for what happened.”

I’m not buying it. The article was not written like it was by someone who took “100 percent of the responsibility,” and the author very clearly described himself as being “in a relationship” rather than as a sexual predator.

And Christianity Today posted this piece. Christianity Today is fairly mainstream for evangelicalism, so much so that I grew up thinking it was liberal. The editors of Christianity Today ought to know better. If evangelicals are going to step up and get serious about sexual abuse in their communities, they have got to stop publishing things like this.

Blogger Esther Elizabeth is calling for Christianity Today to take the post down:

Can you imagine the OUTRAGE if a Catholic Priest was allowed to publish an article describing his “relationship” with an “adoring” altar server? And that outrage would be absolutely JUSTIFIED.

Why?

Because a predator loses the right to tell his side of the story right about the time he decides to PREY on a CHILD.

Because the ONLY story that should garner attention is the VICTIM’S story.

Libby Anne is a blogger for Patheos.

Read more from Patheos:

TIME North Korea

North Korea Says Life in U.S. Is ‘Living Hell’

Undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People's Army Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea.
Undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on April 26, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting a shelling drill of an artillery sub-unit under Korean People's Army Unit 681 at undisclosed place in North Korea. KNS/AFP/Getty Images

Investigators in North Korea have released a report detailing the lives of "wretched" American citizens and calling the U.S. the "worst human rights abuser" just two months after a U.N. council slammed the Hermit Kingdom for "crimes against humanity"

Two months after the U.N. Human Rights Council excoriated North Korea for “crimes against humanity”, the reclusive kingdom has released its own analysis of the “serious human rights situation in the U.S.”

According to the report, the U.S. is the world’s “worst human rights abuser,” with its citizens trapped in a “living hell.” The report paints a dystopian nightmare of soaring crime rates, enabled by lax gun control laws and rising unemployment, abetted by a rapacious ruling class, and racism spreading under a mysterious law identified as the “citizenship act.”

And as his administration heaps abuses on its people, President Obama, the report finds, “indulges himself in luxury almost every day, squandering hundred millions of dollars on his foreign trip in disregard of his people’s wretched life.”

The “analysis” was published on a North Korean newswire last week. The U.N.’s Human Rights Council has yet to weigh in.

 

TIME Argentina

Argentina Rescues Girl Imprisoned in Garage for Nine Years

The 15-year-old was discovered by one of her biological sisters

Argentinean police said Wednesday they rescued a 15-year-old girl who had been severely beaten, starved and locked in a garage for nine years by her foster parents, the BBC reports. The girl was found in the Buenos Aires by one of her biological sisters, who had previously lost track of her.

Argentine officials said the girl was taken into foster care after a court declared her biological parents financially unfit to provide for her along with their seven other children. The girl’s biological family lost track of their daughter after 2005 for reasons unclear.

The girl had reportedly only been fed bread and water while in captivity and barely weighed 44 pounds when she was discovered. She had apparently been out of the garage twice in nine years, with only a dog and a monkey for company while she was detained. She claimed her foster parents physically abused her if she tried to eat any of the leftover food given to the pets.

The girl has been taken to a local hospital for treatment while her guardians have been arrested and charged with slavery and abuse.

[BBC]

TIME Books

Duck Dynasty‘s Lisa Robertson Reveals Childhood Abuse in New Book

The Women of Duck Commander
Howard Books

In a book by the female Robertsons, the reality show's stars don't shy away from serious topics

Duck Dynasty is best known for its male stars — the Robertson men who make those famous duck calls — but the women of the show are speaking out in a new book: The Women of Duck Commander: Surprising Insights from the Women Behind the Beards About What Makes This Family Work, out April 1.

The book, written by Kay, Korie, Missy, Jessica and Lisa Robertson, is heavy on parenting and relationship tips aimed at the fans who often ask them how their big TV-friendly family came to be. They don’t shy away from the dark stuff — marital problems and alcohol abuse, namely — but the biggest and darkest reveal comes in a chapter written by Lisa, Alan’s wife, who joined the show in its fourth season. In it, she describes being sexually abused by a relative when she was a child:

As a little girl, I had an extended family member who had major drug and alcohol problems. Unfortunately, that person lived with my grandparents, so I had to see him often. Because I spent so much time at my grandparents’ house, I was easy prey for him. My earliest memory of being molested was at the age of seven when he started to do things to me, things that made me feel bad and dirty.

Robertson never told her parents, until much later when she had her own children. The abuse continued until she was a teenager, when she threatened that she would tell her father and he would kill her abuser. She writes that she believes the trauma of her abuse led her to think that her “purpose in life was to please men,” contributing to her straying from her marriage. Eventually, as religion played more of a role in her life, she says she was able to heal herself and her marriage.

So why reveal such a personal matter in a chapter in the middle of book that’s also about cooking and Sunday school, in a context where readers probably expect hijinks about hunting?

Robertson explains that she did it because she’s aware that “what happened to me happens to many, many people” and that she wanted to show those people that she was able to recover. Though her own personal method of recovery, through religion, may not work for everyone, she gets her message across:

…I want all abuse survivors to know they have hope. They can have hope for complete healing, hope for great relationships, and hope for a wonderful life, free from the lingering effects of the trauma they have suffered.

 

TIME hate crimes

U.S. Police to Get Transgender Training

San Francisco Celebrates Gay Pride With Annual Parade
In this file photo from 2008, members of the Hayward, California police department take part in the 38th Annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration David Paul Morris—Getty Images

Officers to learn how to spot hate crimes and build trust with a community that is disproportionately at risk of abuse

The Justice Department has launched a program to train local police departments to better respond to transgender people, who disproportionately suffer from violence and abuse.

Launched Thursday, the initiative will help officers to identify hate crimes and foster trust within the transgender population. Law enforcement officials say many in the community are often reluctant to report such crimes, reports Associated Press.

“It’s clear that such a training is as necessary as it is overdue,” says Associate Attorney-General Tony West. “Because too often, in too many places, we know that transgender victims are discouraged from reporting hate crimes and hate violence due to their past negative interactions with and perceptions of law enforcement.”

[AP]

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