Culture & Abuse

The domestic abuse that is causing a "crisis" for the NFL is certainly not unique to that organization.  Indeed, the scourge of abuse occurs in all segments of American society and in all cultures across the globe.  Most cases are not reported and, unfortunately, those that are may not be prosecuted.

While domestic abuse is widespread in human society, certain cultures tolerate its presence more than others; one might argue that some cultures actually encourage its practice, either by demeaning women and children or by refusing to criminalize the behavior of abusers.

Hopefully, the current spate of cases in the NFL and the initial missteps in dealing with them, will call attention to both the high incidence of domestic abuse in human society and to the legal and financial consequences of that crime.  The loss of millions of dollars in salary and endorsement income by those players convicted of abuse may discourage others from engaging in such behavior.  Ending domestic abuse in other segments of American society will take a concerted effort by law enforcement, health care professionals, employers and the friends and relatives of victims.  The decision to prosecute this crime must not depend on the willingness of victims to press charges and should ignore whatever "cultural norms" are proclaimed by the perpetrators.