DV victim advocates hope for awareness amid Ray Rice scandal - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

DV victim advocates hope for awareness amid Ray Rice scandal

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The surveillance video of former NFL Raven Ray Rice's assault on his then-fiancée has created a fury online so the YWCA of San Diego County CEO is taking its message of awareness to social media.

“It's sickening to see the abuse that one human being can inflict on another,” said YWCA of San Diego County CEO Heather Finlay. “It is a hard video to watch but it is what transpired and it does give people an opportunity to see what happened.”

The YWCA runs Becky's House in San Diego which is a safe haven for domestic violence victims.

Security video released by TMZ shows Rice and his now wife Janay Palmer hit each other in an elevator in an Atlanta casino in February.

The video then shows Rice strike her and knock her off her feet and drag her unconscious body out of the elevator.

On Monday, the Baltimore Ravens cut Rice from the team and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

Finlay gives perspective on why it is taking the graphic video to hold the NFL star accountable and be fired.

“Although it is a very hard video to watch it is something that has been presented to the public so the public can understand what happens,” said Finlay.

She says one in four women are victims of domestic violence and while there is no measurement to see if calls have increased since the Ray Rice scandal she hopes now that people can see first-hand what domestic violence is in a relationship and hope this will raise even more awareness on prevention and help.

“We have made strides in getting this to the forefront but we need a lot of people to still be talking about this,” said Finlay.

In exchange for a prison time Rice pleaded guilty in New Jersey and is going to counseling. In July Rice apologized, "That's not me, my actions were totally inexcusable, that something I have to live with the rest of my life.”

Finlay says abusers can't be court ordered to change rather they must want to do it on their own. Since the assault the couple married and Palmer has publicly defended her husband. He also may lose his multi-million dollar NFL contract. Domestic violence victim advocates say money, manipulation and control is a vicious cycle.

Finlay says helping someone can be frustrating but you can't blame the victim or give up on the victim.

“Its all about respect, it's all about patience and its all about letting that person know that you care about them and you are worried about them and you will be there for them whenever they need you,” said Finlay.

The outrage also spurred reaction from President Barack Obama. White House spokesperson Josh Earnest says that Obama, “As American and the father of two daughters, believes domestic violence is "contemptible and unacceptable." Earnest says hitting a woman is not something a real man does, and that's true whether or not an act of violence happens in the public's eye.

He says real men don't hit women, regardless of whether it's in public or private.

Earnest says stopping domestic violence is bigger than football and all Americans have a responsibility to stop it.

Becky's House is an anonymous safe haven where victims and their children can live and receive resources.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence call the hotline at 619-234-3164.

You don't have to be a in a crisis to call for information.

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