As the run up to the 2016 presidential race begins, the conventional wisdom today is that Hillary Clinton will make a run for it. To counter conservatives’ argument that another Clinton administration would equal a third Obama term, the Left will have to come up with an argument they can drag out again and again. That would be where the tried and true “war on women” will come in.
If there is a war on women, it has begun to take on many forms. In light of the current scandals in the NFL, domestic violence has been in the spotlight. Several pro football players have been arrested, have charges pending, or have been convicted of some sort of domestic violence. The most glaring example of course being the video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his then fiancé, now wife, Janay in an elevator in an Atlantic City casino.
It brings back the age-old questions of why some women tolerate such treatment. In the case of professional athletes, do they stay with the men because of money? Do they stay out of fear, knowing that their husband or boyfriend is capable of doing worse if they try to leave? Are they afraid for their children if there are any? There are as many answers to these questions as, unfortunately there are abuse victims. It also brings to mind another group of women who have fought a completely different kind of war. They have suffered unspeakable abuse and violence, yet they continue to fight and to speak out. Is it just a matter of culture and life experience, or is there something else? What sets the real housewives of the NFL apart from women like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Malala Yousafzai, and Meriam Ibrahim, who stand up not just for their own freedom and human rights, but those of others like them?
Often, football wives and girlfriends grow up with their significant others. They are childhood or high school sweethearts, and come up through the high school and college football systems right along with the guys. Do they witness a transformation in the men that at first, they are OK with, but as fame and money affect them, realize it is a change that might not be a good one?
A certain lifestyle is something one can get used to quickly. Is it the chance that the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to being taken away, or is it just a simple case of standing by your man no matter what? Certainly no one is saying the fault of the behavior of the men is that of their wives and girlfriends. No one deserves to be abused. Are the women exhibiting classic battered spouse symptoms? No one has commented on that.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia, and suffered the most heinous of mutilations as a child in the name of Islam when she was subjected to female circumcision. Thousands of girls are subjected to female genital mutilation every year. It is one of the things that Ayaan speaks out on regularly. She challenges Muslims all over the world to condemn the radical Islamists, and she is not afraid to call out their false beliefs and ideologies. She has constant death threats against her and must travel with heavy security. It does not slow her down.
Malala Yousafzai was fifteen when she was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen who were attempting to stop her from advocating education for girls in Pakistan. She has undergone numerous surgeries and repeated threats from the Taliban, but Malala continues to speak out for the education of girls in Muslim countries. In July 2013, her amazing story of survival culminated with an address to the United Nations.
Meriam Ibrahim was imprisoned for her Christian faith in her native Sudan and was sentenced to death. At the time of her arrest she was pregnant with her second child, a daughter. She gave birth in prison in chains. Because of world pressure, she was released in June. She never once renounced her faith while in prison.
In the case of NFL wives and girlfriends, no one truly knows what goes on behind closed doors. Would the stories of Ayaan, Malala and Meriam inspire courage in women who may be in a different situation they see no way out of? There are many different women fighting many different wars, but there are so many courageous women too. Hopefully, women like Janay Rice will find a bit of women like Ayaan, Malala and Meriam in themselves.