In the wake of the Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension from the NFL because of domestic violence and the child abuse charges brought up against Minnesota Viking’s running back Adrian Peterson, there has been a renewed conversation in this country about abuse. While CNN’s Don Lemon claims abuse stems from slavery, a listener who identified himself as Robert from Mississippi called into radio this morning to share his deeply personal experience with abuse.
“You all are missing a big important factor with all these domestic violence things with the NFL,” Robert said. “Anger is what's driving these guys. It's got nothing to do with hating women. It's got nothing to do with wanting to beat your kids. It's just anger, and they can't control it.”
Immediately, Glenn knew he was talking to someone who clearly understood the psyche of an abuser.
“You sound like a guy who is either in the abuse business or a former abuser,” Glenn said.
“I am a former abuser. I went for eight years beating up my wife and my little children – my little girls that I loved dearly,” Robert responded through tears. “And it was all about anger.”
Robert said he hasn’t engaged in this behavior in some 30 years, but Glenn was struck by how emotional even the topic of abuse still made the man.
“Thirty years ago, and listen to how this still affects him,” Glenn said. “Robert, you know that you've been forgiven for it. Right?”
As Robert explained, he was never actually angry with his wife or his daughters when he abused them. Rather, his anger at other things manifested itself in that way.
“I was in the middle of beating her up, and God reached down and convicted me and made me understand that I was the monster that my little kids were afraid of,” Robert explained. “Before that, I was always blaming someone else. It was always somebody else's fault. It was my wife's fault. She made me angry. The kids made me angry. But the truth of the matter was, I was almost never angry at them. I was angry at something else, and it just ended up coming out on them.
“I'm not trying to justify what Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson did. What they did was wrong. They need to suffer the consequences for what they did,” he continued. “But I'll be willing to bet you that Adrian Peterson was not mad at his boy when he was beating him. He was mad at something else, and it came out on that little boy. I'd be willing to bet with Ray Rice there was anger in him that he can't get rid of, and it came out on his wife – or his girlfriend at the time.”