Although most smitten lists are fun and light, this week’s smitten list features the very heavy, but very important, topic of domestic abuse. Here are three resources that help shed light on this issue.
1. Megan MacKay: You’ve probably heard or read about the Ray Rice scandal. For those who haven’t, former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice recently had his contract suspended after a video was released of him punching his then-fiancee (now wife) Janay Rice, knocking her out, and then dragging her from an elevator. The video was ugly — and so was the way in which the NFL handled the whole situation. Originally, the NFL suspended Rice for a mere two games for the assault — the same penalty a different NFL player had received for getting caught smoking pot. It was a mess, and it made a lot of people justifiably angry. Cue Megan MacKay, comedian and vlogger, who released a video entitled “A Ray Rice Makeup Tutorial.” In the 3-minute video, MacKay manages to touch on everything: the rage so many of us feel for how the situation was handled; the anger that arises when some rush to the defense of the NFL player for his actions; and the compassion that not enough of us have when it comes to domestic violence. It’s a beautifully done video, and I recommend watching.
2. #WhyIStayed: Twitter really is doing incredible things for activism these days. In the days following the Ray Rice story, many pointed fingers at Janay and blamed her for the abuse she suffered. She’s a golddigger, they said. She must’ve done something to deserve it, they said. She knew what she was getting into, they said. In response, the hashtag #WhyIStayed was launched. Created by author Beverly Gooden, #WhyIStayed provided an outlet for women and men who had been trapped in abusive relationships to come forward and share their stories of why they stayed in their abusive relationship. It was meant to create a sense of solidarity — if you’ve been abused, you are not alone — and also to shed light on a very difficult, emotional, and complicated topic.
3. Meredith Vieira: Lastly, Meredith Vieira found herself inspired by the #WhyIStayed movement. She bravely opened up about why she stayed in her abusive relationship. As more and more women share their stories — especially those who are so visible, like Meredith — perhaps the stigma surrounding domestic violence can end.