Ray Rice controversy sparks domestic violence conversations on the Island

Sept. 29, 2014

The world was outraged recently after a video of Baltimore Raven’s running back, Ray Rice, punching his then-fiancée Janay Palmer unconscious in a hotel elevator.
Prior to the video’s release, the NFL gave him a two-game suspension. After its release and much uproar, the NFL subsequently suspended him indefinitely. Rice can be seen dragging the woman half way out of the elevator and then kicking her to the side.
To the shock of much of the outraged was the fact that Palmer and Rice married a month after the incident occurred. This is not uncommon according to Danya O’Malley, manager of the P.E.I. family violence prevention services. The program services approximately 500 families a year.
“The unknown is very scary, more scary than what they are living with,” said O’Malley.
She says it common for a victim to wait an awfully long time before leaving the situation.
“They often remember happier times and think that their marriage just needs work.”
Often, it takes the invention of the police or a concerned family member before the victim can escape. Charlottetown Deputy Chief of Police, Richard Collins says P.E.I. is at the forefront for fighting again domestic violence.
“We have one of the most aggressive domestic violence policies in the country.”
Collins says they have a zero tolerance policy and don’t just “issue warnings.”
“We are now more efficient and effectively dealing with domestic violence issues than historically.”
When children are involved, they are almost always refered to children services. Collins says being aggressive towards incidents is the only way to help out the victim.
Also, says O’Malley, if someone from another part of the island, such as Prince County, calls wanting to leave an abusive situation, they will help them get to the shelter in Charlottetown.
“We have an outreach centre, shelter and crisis line,” said O’Malley. Their website also hosts a button to click incase you need to leave the page quickly.
The concern of family and friends are what finally gave Jane* the courage to leave her abusive relationship. Jane’s friends noticed a change in her usual bubbly and outgoing personality.