COSTA RICA JOURNAL – The following article is a repost from an opinion peice by Rod Hughes at

Opinion: For seveal days now, this reporter has carried on a spirited debate on Facebook about the National Football League year long suspension of Ray Rice for domestic violence — aggression against his wife when he hit her in front of a video and dragged her out of an elevator unconscious like a sack of beans.

Strangely enough, Rice’s main defender is a woman and an intelligent one at that! This reporter has even been called (by a young man on the same medium) a “dinosaur” for condemning Rice, inferring that modern women are somehow different from his mother and are not deserving of the same respect.

This to me is an anomoly and I stand by my statement that “A man has only few justifications to hit another man but NONE to hit a woman.” Being hit by a woman is unpleasant but no one can tell me that an NFL player can’t fend off a 90 lb. woman until she cools down without knocking her cold.

All right, a woman has no excuse to hammer on a man unless to fight off a rapist or purse snatcher. But being provoked is no deal breaker for a man’s self control. I’ve been in situations where I could have broken the pact of civilization but never have.

But this abuse is no respecter of borders. In Costa Rica, especially in an older generation, men’s physical aggression against women has been something of a tradition. Male disregard for women has been rampant which we consider despicable in a nation that makes peace a cherished image.

During the recent World Cup soccer tourney, courts saw a peak of domestic violence in this country — puzzling, since the national team performed well, only missing making the semi-finals by a hair. It’s obvious that the aggressors were just waiting for an excuse to irrationally treat their wifes and girl friends as punching bags.

It was so bad, that the national team, in the midst of their arduous struggles with the world’s eye on them, took the time to condemn the practice. In this, we welcome these young men into the twenty-first century.

But the country was late in getting recognition of this barbarism — it was not until early in this century that a group of women legislators pushed through a stiff law against violence against women. And, yes, this included verbal aggression as well.

The traditional attitude was best demonstrated by a recent interview of an ex-judge removed from the bench in Costa Rica — not for knocking anyone unconscious, but for rape and sexual harassment of a female judge. Without deciding if congress was right in firing a sitting judge, we note an attitude that relegates women to second class standing.

Judge Oscar Gonzalez presented himself as a victim of his accuser for placing the accusation that was his downfall. He conducted a six or eight year tryst with a woman not his wife but appears furious because that woman publicly accused him. In the interview there was no remorse at having betrayed his family’s trust.

Not to his wife or children was there a hint of apology. Now, compare that with the defense of Ray Rice. His wife forgave him so why can’t we? That is the argument. As long as we consider that as a defense, simply an issue between mates, the brutality against women will continue.

In my younger days as a social worker I ran into cases like this. I also encountered one in Costa Rica, when a brother-in-law abused my wife’s sister. (This is a large family so that does not violate privacy.) I let him know I considered any man who would hit a woman a coward and a bully.

Only by stripping away the scurrilous excuses can we combat this scourge. The woman who defended Rice bemoaned “depriving him of his livelihood” by his suspension. He is being paid enough as an NFL player, you can be assured, that unless he’s been very profligate with his money, he needn’t worry about breadlines!

It is statistically true also that an abusive man, by his example, breeds abusive sons and sometime daughters as well. I was lucky there — I learned well from my father. It is also true that domestic violence also leads to murder. I suppose there are those who would excuse that, too!

Blaming women is very old. When the Supreme Being was angered by Adam partaking of the forbidden fruit, his defense was, “She bade me eat.” They still got kicked out of the Garden anyway…

Since Facebook and CNN reveal that women are numerous among the defenders of Rice’s behavior, I suppose it is up to a man to stand behind the forces of civilized behavior.

Source:, reposted with permission

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