Jacque Reid talks to Family therapist Dr. Argie Allen about domestic violence in light of the Ray Rice abuse situation and why women choose to stay in abusive relationships.
“We can’t blame the victim. We’ve got to try and support her for victims like her that try to re-victimze the media. There is too many of us that are dealing with this kind of issue,” Dr. Allen said.
On a victim’s mentality:
“There are so many people that are in this situation. One out of three women that are abused. It’s happenin g every seven to 10 minutes. They’re scared that it may happen again. It beats the person’s emotional psyche down. There are isolated from their family and friends and they don’t talk about it.”
Click the link above to hear the entire interview or read it below.
TOM JOYNER: Let’s go to New York, Inside Her Story, with Jacque Reid.
J. ANTHONY BROWN: What up, Jacque?
TOM JOYNER: Hey, Delta.
JACQUE REID: Hey, what’s up frat? What’s up? You guys sound like you’re having a good time. Once again I got to focus in on something serious because, you know, this story is just one of those that doesn’t seem to be going away. So Ray Rice, the domestic abuse story. But domestic violence, you guys, is an issue that needs to be discussed, as often as possible, especially when you look at the stats for black women. A key question with the Ray Rice situation, Tom, Sybil and Jay, and you guys have heard this a lot, I’m sure, is why his wife, Janay Palmer, stayed and married him after he knocked her unconscious on that elevator. Well, here to explain why women often stay in abusive relationships is family and individual therapist; she’s back, Dr. Argie Allen. Good morning, Dr. Allen.
DR. ALLEN: Good morning, Jacque, how are you doing this morning?
JACQUE REID: Really well. Let me ask you this, first, you know, Janay lashed out on social media at everybody blaming the media for re-victimizing her, if you will, and saying that her situation is a private matter. A lot of folks, though, are blaming her for staying. But is that fair to blame her in this situation?
DR. ALLEN: No, we can’t blame the victim. At this point blaming and shaming doesn’t do any good. We got to try to support her and others very much like her that are still re-traumatized and re-victimized by the media. And the truth is none of us knows exactly what we would do if we are in that situation because the person is rendered so vulnerable, and often times feel very isolated and alone, that they have no one to turn to but the person who’s abused them. So we can’t blame them, we’ve got to wrap our arm around them and support them, because there’s too many of us out there that are dealing with this kind of issue.
JACQUE REID: And you’ve dealt with a lot of patients who deal, who have been in abusive relationships, and I’m just wondering, what’s that mentality though? Because the conversation that I have again and again with people is the frustration that they have for her staying, and they don’t understand why women that are being abused stay in those relationships. Are they afraid to leave?
DR. ALLEN: Well, I guarantee, Jacque, that there are so many women out there that are in this situation, there’s one out of three women that are abused on a regular basis. And the reality of it is it’s happening every seven to ten minutes. So women are scared, they’re fearful that it might happen again, that their abuser is often times holding power and control over them. And we also sort of don’t look at the emotional and the verbal abuse that takes place before it ever becomes physical. And so it sort of beats the person’s emotional psyche down to the extent that they’re feeling like they don’t have self-esteem, or self-worth, or that no one else would ever want them. And we also have to remember that they are isolated from a lot of their family and friends, so they’re not talking about this. And one thing that they can do is to be isolated. So there’s lots of reasons why they stay.
TOM JOYNER: Doctor, here’s my question; how do we, as family or friends, of someone being abused convince them to get out? Or get help?
JACQUE REID: That’s a good question, because you know, you guys, a lot of times, and this has been big in the news…
TOM JOYNER: I have a personal experience and we haven’t heard from her in, what, 15, 20 years, Syb?
SYBIL WILKES: Yeah, yeah.
TOM JOYNER: And I don’t know what happened to her, we tried to convince her, we even tricked her into doing, going by a…
SYBIL WILKES: Visit.
TOM JOYNER: … visit a shelter for battered women and then after that we never heard from her again, that was 15 years ago, and she worked with us, and I’ve often wondered what ever happened to her. And I’m afraid to think what might’ve happened to her because she would not get out of that relationship.
JACQUE REID: Yeah, R.G., how could people, friends, and family, help their loved ones, when they know, when they see the signs and know that they’re being abused?
DR. ALLEN: Well, listen, that’s a great question, Tom and Jacque, and one of the things we have to do is do the opposite of what you did, which is you got to try to stay as connected as you possibly can be. Because there is a lot of shame and embarrassment and a lot of times those women feel like it’s only happening to them. And so try to stay connected. You can give them the hotline number, or you can give them some information to go get help. They may not do it in the moment, but they may be able to connect with someone when they’re really, really feeling hopeless and don’t get the help that they need. That usually, the moment that the person realizes that it’s not going to get any better is usually the time when you may make that move and you may not be around. A lot of times there’s a cycle.
JACQUE REID: So kidnapping that person and taking them like, or kind of having an intervention, is that too aggressive? I mean I’m joking about the kidnapping, but you know, trying to, if you’re a family, if it were my sister, or my mother, or a really good friend, I would try to really jump in and intervene.
TOM JOYNER: And a lot of times it doesn’t just stop at the mate, but they also, these guys are abusing the children as well.
DR. ALLEN: Exactly.
TOM JOYNER: So if you could, if Janay was your family member, Doc, how would you convince her and the children to leave Ray Rice?
DR. ALLEN: Well, one of the things I would say to them is they’ve got to have a plan. They’ve got to have a safety plan, because even if you do what Jacque said and you take them, do an intervention and take them away, there’s a chance that they may go back. So you give them the hotline, you create a safety plan and say; if this gets too unbearable this is what you need to do. And then you keep talking with them.
TOM JOYNER: But they don’t want help. And when they don’t want help …
DR. ALLEN: That’s not really …
JACQUE REID: Do they not want help though, Tom? R.G., I mean, do they not want help? What’s going on mentally?
DR. ALLEN: No, that’s not true, they do want help, but if you can think about it from this perspective they are paralyzed. And when you are paralyzed in a situation and you feel like there’s really no way out, and you don’t want to put other people in harm’s way – by the way, speaking of the children, a lot of these women feel like this guy is going to start abusing their children. And so their staying is a way in their mind of protecting their children. But we need to know that 3 million children a year bear witness to domestic violence. And if you bear witness to it then you’re predisposed to it. So those children will grow up and have a very high probability of being victimized or being a perpetrator.
SYBIL WILKES: That’s what they say about Chris Brown.
DR. ALLEN: So give them a tool.
JACQUE REID: Yeah.
DR. ALLEN: What’d you say?
JACQUE REID: She said that’s what they said about Chris Brown, but R.G., I want to ask you about this, because a lot of women stay in hopes because they’re in love. They’re in love with the man that’s abusing them, and they think that he is going to change. But what’s the likelihood that these men are actually going to change?
DR. ALLEN: Zero. Zero. Unless they get help. And I said this when we talked about Chris Brown, I said tend to both human beings, because they are human beings, and they have a problem, just like they have a medical problem. So there’s a cycle; abuse, then guilt, then excuses, then a normal behavior, and then there’s the fantasy that it won’t happen again, which is a setup that it’s going to happen again. And so you have to convince both parties, because even if the woman gets away, if the guy doesn’t get help, there’s a high probability that he goes and abuses someone else.
TOM JOYNER: Okay.
JACQUE REID: And you say they shouldn’t be in therapy together. If the couple goes to therapy they should go separately?
DR. ALLEN: Absolutely. No therapist would ever see the couple together if there’s acts of violence because that puts that woman in a higher risk of being abused after the session because we’re blowing up things that people don’t want to deal with anyway. So you see them separately. And then when there’s no act of violence for a while then you can see them together.
TOM JOYNER: What she’s saying is so important, and so what we’re going to do because I realize you can’t really hear because the Bar Keys are here at the party. And they’re performing right now.
JACQUE REID: Is that what that is?
TOM JOYNER: But this is so important. And great information. What we’re going to do is transcribe this interview and put it up on http://www.blackamericaweb.com. And if you know somebody that’s going through this, advise them to at least read this article on BAW. Okay?
JACQUE REID: Okay, Tom.