The recent acts by Ray Rice have brought domestic violence to the forefront of public conversation once again.  A video was published which showed running back Ray Rice assaulting his wife in an elevator. The public is now finally condemning this situation; prior to this video release, Ray Rice still had his NFL contract and still had people defending his assault. It wasn't until the public saw his wife, Janay Palmer, being knocked unconscious by the former NFL running back, then dragged out of the elevator, that there was a unanimous outcry against Mr. Rice.
A story in The New Yorker brought up the main issue that the Ray Rice case illustrates; there is a "deep cultural misunderstanding of how violence operates. We assume that victims incite abuse, or that if the situation at home was truly threatening they would leave."  Ms. Palmer has been victimized by Mr. Rice and victimized by the public. It is even now to the point that Ms. Palmer is being forced to defend the man that victimized her for the sake of her husband's public image. In order to avoid being seen as having contributed to domestic violence, women are being forced to defend or justify the actions of the abusers. Society wants to blame the victims because it is impossible to see the daily realities of abuse; people just wonder why the victim did not leave the abuser.
"One in every four women is a victim of domestic physical violence at some point in her life, and the Justice Department estimates that three women and one man are killed by their partners every day. Between 2000 and 2006, thirty-two hundred American soldiers were killed; during that period, domestic homicide in the United States claimed ten thousand six hundred lives," according to that New Yorker article. With rare exception, all of these victims are not having video tapes made public showing the abuse they are suffering; without proof Society is quick to blame the victim. Without widely publicized evidence of abuse, frequently people are dismissive or seek reasons to justify abuse suffered by the victim. This cultural misunderstanding means that the weight of Society's judgment is heavy on those that want to report their abuse and seek protection.
If you have been the victim of domestic violence, or fear such violence, you can avoid further victimization by contacting an attorney. In Colorado, domestic violence can include any crime or threat committed as a means of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge against an intimate partner. There are measures adopted in Colorado that protect domestic violence victims, and an attorney can inform you of those protections as well as institute orders of protection to protect you and your children. These orders of protection can be enacted very quickly, and in some cases can be done without a hearing requiring the presence of the alleged abuser.
It is important that if you are a victim of domestic violence, or are concerned about how you are being treated by an intimate partner, that you contact a qualified and experienced attorney. An attorney can inform you of the protections that Colorado law offers.
Please contact the Domestic Team at Feldmann Nagel Margulis for all of your domestic and family law needs.