By Jacque Reid, Editor In Chief

“That night, we were kissing passionately in his apartment. We were still fully dressed, but there was that moment when you make the decision in your head whether you are going to have sex. I decided no, and he had apparently decided yes, because he became upset when I announced that I was going home.”–Jacque Reid, TheRoot.com

This excerpt is from a violent encounter I experienced at the hands of a ‘friend’ several years ago.  It came to mind after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s recent letter to the league admitting he had been getting it wrong when it came to dealing with domestic violence.  Some victim’s advocates say what Goodell is implementing it is not enough.  I agree, but I also feel his action is a huge step in the right direction.

Professional athletes (much like music artist) often set the tone for American male behavior….  how they dress, how they spend money, how they celebrate and how they treat women.  When our men were boys, many of them idolized pro players and wanted to grow up to be just like them.   So if these players continue to receive slaps on the wrists for abusing women, their audience of men won’t take their own actions of abuse seriously either.

In addition, I feel many women have to change the way we think about domestic violence.   We have to take it seriously enough when it happens, to be ready to take legal action.  Even if we care about the abuser.  We also have to not be ashamed to talk about it, as if we did something wrong.  With my situation, I was embarrassed and I didn’t realize I was the victim of a crime.  Now that I am better educated on the issue, I regret that I did not file charges.   I do take some peace that even though it took me years to write about it publicly, I finally did.   I hope you will read what I wrote about my encounter on the link below.  In the meantime, ladies, let’s not wait until we become victims to learn all that we can about domestic and dating violence… and do our part to stop it.

http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2011/04/domestic_violence_can_happen_on_a_first_date.html