On Monday the Baltimore Ravens terminated Ray Rice’s contract after the release of a video showing him assaulting his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.
The decision to let Rice, 27, go was immediately applauded by everyone from NFL players to women’s rights organizations. In Twitter conversations such as #WhyIStayed, survivors of abuse took the opportunity to raise awareness about the complex reasons victims might choose to stay with their abusers.
But not everyone was happy with the developments, and not everyone responded in a productive way. Quite a few people aired their ill-informed, victim-blaming assessments of the situation. Here are some of the most insensitive, point-missing and downright dumb comments made in the aftermath of Rice’s termination, and why they don’t make any sense.
1. Benjamin Carson: Against “demonizing” the abuser, but all for criticizing the victim’s decisions.
Famed neurosurgeon and supposed presidential hopeful Benjamin Carson aired his views in an interview with Newsmax TV. After being asked if the Ravens made the “right move,” Carson answered: “Let’s not all jump on the bandwagon of demonizing this guy. He obviously has some real problems. And his wife obviously knows that because she subsequently married him. So they both need some help.”
The last two sentences insinuate that Janay Rice, 26, had a hand in her abuse. This is a fine example of age-old victim blaming.
2. Fox News: Domestic violence is hilarious!
Violence against women is no laughing matter, but to a few Fox News correspondents, Ray Rice’s termination provided comic relief.
Fox News host Brian Kilmeade placed blame on Janay Rice and other victims of domestic abuse for not breaking up with their abuser, stating that it sends a “terrible message.”
Kilmeade took it a step further when he joked, “I think the message is, take the stairs.” Not to be outdone, host Steve Doocy responded, “The message is, when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera.”
It should go without saying that joking about domestic violence is never appropriate, but Kilmeade and Doocy seem to have missed the memo.
3. Christopher Boykin: Nothing to see here—it’s her fault for marrying him.
Boykin tweeted to Beadle, “She married him move on” and “Had she hired Mayweather’s ex attorney & stood her ground this would be news but she didn’t she supported & married him.”
The question is not why Janay married Ray but, rather, why he is abusive. There are countless studies that show why victims of abuse stay in relationships with their abusers. Using Janay’s decision to marry Ray after her abuse to shut down conversation about his behavior accomplishes nothing. It’s just another example of victim blaming.
Unfortunately, it goes without saying that—especially in light of Janay’s statement, released today on Instagram—there will be plenty more where these comments came from.
What’s the worst response you’ve heard to this story?
Diamond Sharp is an editorial fellow at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.