Knocking Out Domestic Violence

KNOCKING OUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:

Lessons Learned From Floyd Mayweather

Last night, thousands of boxing fans around the world watched as known domestic abuser, Floyd Mayweather, took a break from battering women to defeat his opponent in the ring to the tune of $100 million dollars. Known in the industry as one of the greatest boxers that ever lived, Mayweather claims to be walking away for good after this fight. Retirement. Behind him, a legacy which includes an undefeated record against some ferocious competitors. Millions of dollars. Multiple mansions. More luxury cars than any human being could ever need. But, he also leaves behind something else: a trail of women and children who have been subjected to his wrath of domestic abuse.

Why is this conveniently forgotten every time he steps foot in a ring?

Stemming back from as early as 2001, Mayweather has a seriously checkered past woven with violent incidents of domestic violence against ex-girlfriends and wives. In each instance, Mayweather was met with nothing more than a slap on the wrist and sent on his way. And each time, he showed no remorse for his actions and continued abusing. Some spectators of his most recent fight tried to “balance the scales” to appease their collective conscience by matching the Pay-Per-View cost with a donation to their local domestic violence shelter. While certainly a noble attempt, is it enough?

 

Domestic Violence: Prevention is Key

Although it is true that domestic violence shelters are desperately struggling to secure funding, wouldn’t it be more impactful to contribute in a way that will assist victims from ever needing services in the first place? Prevention. For some reason, the idea of domestic violence prevention has always been a head scratcher. People know that domestic violence is wrong but still struggle with exactly how to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Painting abusers as “crazy and out of control,” many well-intentioned people take all accountability away from the guilty party. They fail to acknowledge that domestic violence IS a choice. A calculated choice that abusers make each day to maintain power and control over their victims. Just as strategic as Mayweather is about when and where to attack his opponent in the ring, so is the abusive partner in a volatile relationship. Domestic violence is not an anger issue. It does not discriminate. It occurs across all socio-economic levels, relationship statuses, and cultures. It is an issue that affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in the United States alone and it is not going away anytime soon if we don’t start facing it head on. Domestic violence thrives on silence. The more we normalize it, the more likely it will occur. Day after day, athletes and celebrities accused of intimate partner violence carry on unscathed and sought after despite their despicable treatment of women.

Every time you excitedly watched Mayweather stare down his opponent at a press conference, remember who he practiced intimidation on first. Each time you watched him throw a punch in the ring, try to picture how his children felt when he did the same to their mother in the living room.

We can do better. We must do better. Together, we can prevent domestic violence.

Prevention matters.

 

5 Tips to Prevention

  • Educate yourself. Learn the warning signs of domestic violence. Become familiar with relationship red flags that can signal controlling, abusive behavior ahead.
  • Speak out. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge abuse when you hear or see it. If someone is making jokes about abusive behaviors, have courage and use it as an educational moment to discuss the severity of violence.
  • Be a resource. Take time to learn all that you can about your local resources to be a knowledgeable source of information.
  • Be an active bystander. If you witness violence, contact authorities and report what you have seen or heard.
  • Lead by example. Model respectful behavior in all your personal relationships and act as an example to young adults.
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