The hash tag “Why I Stayed” on Twitter places Ray and Janay Rice’s case of domestic violence on spotlight for the second time this year. Public awareness about the topic has raised questions on whether social media sets an appropriate platform for discussing family conflicts.
Questions started to rise after a video was released last week of the Baltimore Raven’s running back assaulting his fiancée, Janay Palmer, in an elevator. After Palmer was unconscious, Rice dragged her body out of the elevator.
In July when the NFL first viewed the video, Rice received the normal punishment for being arrested for beating his wife: a two-game suspension.
After the appearance of the video, the NFL suspended Rice indefinitely. The Ravens also released the football player.
A few hours after Ray’s suspension, Janay shared on her Twitter account the pain that media has been causing her family.
“Reality is a nightmare in itself,” Rice said, after the decision of the NFL was made public.
The case raised controversy since the statement released by her would directly blame media as the initiator of their problems provoking Rice’s suspension.
People within the John Brown University community have expressed their thoughts on the topic. Residents were asked about their feelings regarding how the portrayal of domestic violence through the media has a positive or negative impact on people’s actions.
Senior Joseph Pelegreen defined the way media addresses family conflicts as both positive and negative. Pelegreen said that even though social media is used in a positive way on these matters, most of the people don’t take it seriously.
Pelegreen said that he believes what starts as a concerning issue ends up in a series of worthless gossips. They just “make fun of it.” On the other hand, Pelegreen pointed out that once domestic violence problems are revealed publicly, it becomes a priority and people “start rising up about it.”
Social media has the power to raise awareness in a constructive way among the audience. But the question about how media affects the victims or how the victims are perceived afterwards still looms.
Freshman Millie Cooper agrees that it is a positive thing to portray family conflicts on social media. Cooper also showed her concern about the ones affected. Social media is giving the victims an identity.
“You can also hurt those people who were exposed,” Cooper said. “[Whenever] people see them, they are going to think about that.”
Dana Snodgress, an English tutor at John Brown University, showed contrasting optimism about the way social media is being used and how people themselves need to be more discreet. As an educator, Snodgress knows the impact that media has on the audience and how they react to certain cues.
“People should be careful to not tell who they are,” Snodgress said. “They should share their stories anonymously.”
Snodgress expressed his fear for the victims who share their stories through the media without realizing that their lives might be in danger.