Domestic violence haunts its victims


By Rodney Woodson, Associate Editor

Since Ray Rice beat his then-girlfriend, two other abuse incidents have happened involving NFL players — Ray McDonald of the 49ers and Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings.

Not only do the incidents make the players themselves look bad, but the blatant botched cover-up the Ravens tried to pull casts a cloud of corruption and ugliness the likes of which the NFL has never seen.

As a survivor of a domestically violent, turned broken, home, I’d have to say if found guilty the players involved deserve no leniency in punishment.

I don’t remember much of my childhood from birth through age 5, living in Oakland, attending band practices with my uncle.

I also remember things that most would love to forget.

No older than 4, I stood next to my sister in the home of my older cousin. My parents had been physically fighting in the car on the way to the cousin’s home. While on the road, I recall my sister and I attacking my father as he attacked my mother.

When we arrived, I can remember a feeling of relief. I thought, “How could this continue. My cousin will stop this.” But much to the dismay of my mom, my sister and me, this person decided to allow this. I looked down the hall into the room my parents wrestled themselves into, and through the opened door I saw my father lift a chair, crashing it into the leg of my mother as she screamed for him to stop.

We stood there, being consoled by someone who either didn’t know what to do, was out of her mind at the time, or whose misplaced love urged her to console us rather than stop the abuse, possibly thinking that this would help. It didn’t. It still doesn’t.

The following day, as I sat on the arm of my grandmother’s couch, my mother’s brother, Byron, heard of the incident, walked into the kitchen and pointed a gun to the head of my father. He stood in front of my uncle, begging for him to lower his weapon, which he did.

What’s scary is that, even as a 4-year-old, I knew exactly what was happening. I knew exactly why he wanted to kill my dad. And I did not object.

The only question I am left with is, “Where would I be had he pulled the trigger?” Well, my parents split after that and, following their separation, my father continued his womanizing, abusive ways.
One jail sentence wasn’t enough because a couple years after being released, he found himself back in prison, this time for seven years. That first six-month sentence must not have been good enough.

Yes, for most of my youth my father was around, sort of. The multiple girlfriends, and failure to better himself in lieu of chasing sex, took its toll on his children, my sister in particular.

It just seemed like when he was there, he wasn’t and when he was in jail, he was in jail. Under the strict supervision of my hard working mother, my sister raised me — she raised both of us.

We made mistakes that we are trying to correct today. But hell, we were kids raising kids, mostly in a house alone.

My dad is out of jail now for what has been three years. My sister and I are in our early 30s and our youth is gone. He missed it.

This may not be everyone’s domestic violence story, but it’s mine. Domestic violence is a true crime against humanity.

The NFL should be ashamed.