When Is Enough, Enough???
I’ve spent my whole life living in central Ohio. Our logo has been “The Heart of it All”, but I’m going to be honest with you…if you’re in a crowded public place in many places in this country and you shout “O-H”, you will most assuredly hear the liturgy cadence of “I-O.” I’m a midwestern girl who grew up in Buckeye country. It’s not that we had to be Ohio State Football fans, although it has truly become the “professional” sports team of Columbus, but growing up here and living here, you just kept getting swept away in the intoxicating nature of the spirit of being a Buckeye. In most jobs I’ve had, Buckeye gear was encouraged before games and people around me are always scurrying to find tickets to any and every game. It’s a camaraderie.
This week I have been overrun with news concerning an Ohio State assistant football coach and his alleged domestic abuse. It’s horrifying. The story continues that the head coach of the football team knew as well. Then perhaps the athletic director. So much news coverage and so much press concentrating on our next season of football, the fate of one fired coach and another on administrative leave, and an athletic director who is an icon in Columbus.
What I wish we were talking about is why the clarifying question of domestic abuse is “Did you hit her?” Why do we see domestic violence only through the lens of one hand striking another person? And why are we not using this moment of national attention to discuss how sometimes women don’t have a voice.
I hate what this has done to my city, but more than that I hate what it has revealed about my city. I hate that as a woman who was mistreated by a man who never hit me, mistreated in the workplace where speaking would get me fired, and numerous occasions of unwanted interaction I am forced to see that…I was right. Speaking would have gotten me nowhere. Talking about what I went through would have been met with a barrage of sympathetic amnesia, concern for disturbing the flow and horrific isolation.
So today I wonder, can we focus on what domestic abuse means. What domestic violence is?? Can we look beyond the phrase, “did you hit her?” When can we admit that domestic abuse is difficult and complicated, but not ignorable? Can we sacrifice our team record to save our morality even though it supersedes our legal obligations? At what point do we agree to worry about the woman mistreated and less about a football record. When is enough, enough?