Local News

Rice video forces Raleigh woman to relive domestic violence experience

Posted September 11, 2014
Updated September 12, 2014

— The violent memories never went away for Jacqueline Harris, but recently released video of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancé unconscious in an Atlantic City, N.J. casino elevator brought those experiences right back.

“You actually feel the punch, oh yeah,” she said.

The Raleigh woman said she endured over 20 years of domestic abuse from her now ex-husband. She has been divorced for 10 years, but questions continue to linger in her mind.

“How could somebody who loves you, hurt you like that,” she said.

Harris, 52, said she could relate to Janay Palmer, who married Rice after the incident and has defended him since. Harris said her abuse started before she married her ex-husband, but she defended his actions.

“He, in fact, assaulted me one time in front of a police officer,” she said. “They kindly handcuffed him, took him to jail. Who was on the stand for his defense? Me.”

Originally, the only evidence of Palmer’s assault was video of her then-boyfriend dragging her unconscious body out of the casino. Rice received a two-game suspension from the NFL for the assault.

But video of Rice knocking out Palmer in the elevator was released by TMZ this week. Rice was suspended indefinitely by the league and released from the Ravens.

"[Rice's statements] were ambiguous and not consistent with what was on that video. When we saw that video, it was clear what happened," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told WRAL while visiting Wake Forest High School on Wednesday to discuss football safety. "We obviously were very disturbed at the first video and what happened ... But when we saw the second video it was clear what happened, and it was completely unacceptable, it was graphic, it was violent, and it was something we felt we had to take an immediate [action]."

The league has since strengthened its penalties for domestic violence and hired a former FBI director to look into how it handled its investigation of Rice.

Harris was able to leave her husband, who served in the military, after he was sent to a new duty station and she was able to clear her head and stop blaming herself.

By that point, Harris said, she was so depressed that she was unable to get out of bed for work.

Now Harris, an avid football fan, uses the sport in her pursuit of happiness. The first issue of her publication, Football for Female Fans, is expected to be released in November.

She hopes the national conversation around domestic violence doesn’t go away with Rice.

“What I hope really happens is that it’s not just a suspension indefinitely from the NFL and that the issue goes away with the person, but rather this be an opportunity to say how we’re going to deal with this as an individual, as a family, as a team and as employers,” she said.

eNOugh domestic violence: eNOughNC

WRAL and our parent company, Capitol Broadcasting Company, are partners in an effort to prevent and end domestic violence called eNOughNC. On eNOughNC.com, victims and batterers can find resources to break the cycle of violence, and members of the community can find ways to help.


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  • Gary Hines Sep 12, 2014
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    Domestic violence is a personal problem and I'm tired of hearing that it's somehow the NFL commissiner's fault. The media is just creating a story. I turn it off when ever it starts. I noticed that the stands were full at last nights Ravens game so the medians attempts at attacking the NFL failed. Shame on the media, but they do this" stuff" all the time. They had behind the "PC" crowd. People need to realize that's what they are taught in college. How to read and write what they are told to.

  • knbrown13 Sep 12, 2014

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    I didn't realize that domestic violence only took place in the homes of African American's. A lot of kids regardless of race don't grow up in two parent family homes; let alone steady ones. Domestic violence is not a color issue. Everyone needs to learn respect and to keep their hands to each other. In regards to Jacqueline Harris I'm glad that she is sharing her story to open the eyes to domestic violence. I have not and hope to never witness this firsthand, but a lot of people are making jokes or blaming the victim. This has nothing to do with equality in essence of strength. I hope that other domestic violence victims gather the strength to leave and forgive their abusers so that they can lead a successful life.

  • dollibug Sep 12, 2014

    It seems that there are a lot of *ISSUES* with this story. I do think being a *single parent* does NOT help children at all. And then we have people who go to college and can NOT even read 8th grade level. They are there to play sports, not get an education. So this starts a chain of CORRUPTION. They do NOT study and learn so they do NOT get the college education that they are there for to begin with. It doesn't matter though since *someone takes are of this issue for them and then continue to play sports. A lot of these sports players make *millions* of dollars and some of them have no clue how to manage the money. Someone has always been there to take up their slack on whatever needs to be addressed. They some someone who *covers up* the things which need to be. Well, when these same players get in trouble, again someone comes along and *fixes it*. Like I said it is a chain reaction. These players think that they can get by doing anything and some do. It is a cycle.

  • monami Sep 12, 2014

    Good for you, Jacqueline! Thank you for sharing your story. You have credibility with women in similar situations since you have "been there." Here's hoping it helps others to gain strength and courage.

  • Brian Jenkins Sep 12, 2014

    What in the world is this story?

  • Confucius say Sep 12, 2014

    Perpetual victim getting her 15 minutes of fame. Why single her out...there are many women who have been abused. I guess a white woman wouldn't sell as much ad space though.

  • Backtothemountains Sep 12, 2014

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    And so what if they did? She certainly didn't have to agree to do it for pete's sake.

  • Tammy Rush Sep 12, 2014
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    A back-handed slap on the arm hardly warrants a punch in the face.

  • Michael Hart Sep 12, 2014
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    say's someone who is probably a Neanderthal

  • Michael Hart Sep 12, 2014
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    Sorry to burst your bubble but Domestic Abuse happens in every Race, from broken Homes to ones with a Male and Female figure. Don't believe me check the facts.....