By Syma Chowdhry
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s clear to see in the video who is the abuser and who is the victim…so why is the media being blamed?READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Severe Storms Expected To Bring Damaging Winds, Flooding And Isolated Tornadoes
Ray Rice’s wife Janay Palmer broke her silence on Instagram Tuesday morning.
She is defending her husband — who cold-cocked her in a Revel Casino elevator earlier this year — saying media reports on the incident are hurting her family.
“She is looking for someone else to blame other than the abuser,” says Kathleen Hess.
She can relate to what Palmer is going through. She was in an abusive relationship, and now, she helps other victims of violence.
Hess says victims often blame themselves — or forgive the abuser – with the hopes that things will change.
“You experience guilt. You experience sadness, anger, you want to deny a lot. There are so many emotions going on,” Hess explains.
That’s where experts like Azucena Ugarte come in. She is with the organization Women Against Abuse.
“It can happen to anybody. It’s not just about physical abuse; it’s about power and control. And it’s never easy to leave,” Ugarte says.READ MORE: Crews In Pennsauken Clear Storm Drains, Preparing For Downed Trees, Limbs
Many people are questioning why Palmer stayed with Rice, but Ugarte says victims fall into a cycle where they convince themselves it is better to stay.
“[They] Have hopes that that’s true – that this is the last time, that that person is never going to do that to me again. That if I try harder, that person is going to change,” she says.
In this case, going against the perpetrator means going against the team, the fan base.
“[She’s] Not just losing a relationship but going against a whole system that has been protecting him,” Ugarte adds.
Both women say victims — like Palmer– need support in order to leave.
“You need to love yourself enough to walk away and get help, and it’s very hard to do, and you need to find the strength in yourself,” says Hess.
“It’s never easy to leave. Nobody leaves until they are ready, and being ready can mean different things for different people,” agrees Ugarte.
Representatives of Women Against Abuse say they are disappointed by how the NFL initially handled the incident. Now, they hope the organization will implement a domestic violence presentation program.MORE NEWS: DA Larry Krasner Announces Activation Of Philadelphia's Election Task Force
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