Rice video forces Raleigh woman to relive domestic violence experience
Posted September 11, 2014
Updated September 12, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.