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Local family violence expert weighs in on Ray Rice situation

Family Violence Prevention Services wants NFL to do more

SAN ANTONIO – As the video of former Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice landing a knockout punch on his then-girlfriend, Janay, in an elevator continues to circle the globe, Janay Rice herself has entered the debate on the incident, causing strong reaction from domestic-violence experts.

Marta Palaez, president of the nonprofit Family Violence Prevention Services, said the Rice incident is a great opportunity to eliminate ignorance on the subject, and show support for its victims.

"It's not because she did 'X.' It's not because she touched him first. It's not because she spit in his face," she said. "It's because he punched her in the face and in the head. That's why we are talking about this."

Palaez says the NFL response to Rice's video is hypocritical, since it's been many weeks since he admitted to hitting his now-wife. She said she wants to speak with Roger Goodell and help him better understand domestic violence and its dangers.

She also sees a pattern with Janay Rice's Instagram postings Tuesday in which she defended her husband and blamed the media for his downfall from the NFL.

Rice posted, "No one knows the pain that the media and unwanted opinion from the public has caused my family.... And this is our life! What don't you all get."

Palaez said this is all very predictable on the part of a family dealing with an abusive member.

"This is part of the pattern of domestic violence abusive situations and we have not seen the last of these two individuals, sadly enough," she warned.

As for the fallout locally, Palaez said it's not all bad. She imagines there will be more calls for counseling services through the Family Violence Hotline. She also thinks there will be more good information about how domestic violence sneaks into relationships.

"Domestic violence is progressive. It never begins with a blow to your head that knocks you unconscious. It never begins with a shotgun to your head," she said. "It begins with very subtle controlling behaviors, put-downs, indignities of all kinds that denigrate (a person)."

For more resources on domestic violence, visit www.fvps.org.