Dear Chuck D: Growing Up With Your Father Won’t Protect You from Domestic Violence

September 9, 2014  |  

By now you’ve probably heard that former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice was terminated by his team and “suspended indefinitely” by the NFL. Although a video of Rice dragging his then-fiancé’s unconscious body from an elevator surfaced six months ago, Rice was only booted from the league on Monday when TMZ released a second video showing the former player’s vicious attack.

Despite the horrific nature of the assault, many took to social media to debate who was to blame for “ruining” Rice’s career. Many rightly pinned the blame squarely on the shoulders of the former star, while others blamed TMZ for publishing the video or Rice’s wife, Janay Palmer, for somehow provoking the attack. Legendary rapper Chuck D took another approach, asking his Twitter followers if Rice would have dared to abuse his wife if she had been “really raised” by her father.


After many questioned his logic and accused the rapper of victim blaming, Chuck D tried to explain his position. “Here’s a better way of asking this,” he wrote. “What stands in the way of males mind thinking he can hit a woman & get away with it?”

Though Chuck D claimed he wasn’t attempting to “blame” Palmer for being attacked, his words were still a blight on her character, as if being raised by a father should have protected her from being a victim. Under Chuck D’s logic, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Mike Brown’s very involved fathers should been enough to put the fear of God in their killers, but we know how that turned out.

Here’s the thing: Women who are “really raised” by their fathers are abused by their husbands and boyfriends every single day.

And if the threat of losing millions of dollars in contract and endorsement deals wasn’t enough to motivate Rice to keep his hands to himself, it’s difficult to see how his wife’s parents would have had much of an effect.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, “On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States,” which adds up to more than 12 million men and women a year. And while Chuck D seems to think a woman’s parents—no matter how old she is or how far away she lives—can protect her from domestic abuse, the facts just don’t bear this out.

Over on Twitter, scores of women flooded the social network to recount their experience with domestic violence, many confronting Chuck D’s question head-on, noting they were raised in two-parent homes and still abused. I, too, responded to Chuck D, explaining that being raised with my father didn’t prevent me from getting slapped by a former partner.

His response? “…and what happened?”

In short: nothing. But not because my father wasn’t ready or willing to kick my ex’s ass, but because victims of domestic violence are often too embarrassed and too ashamed to tell anyone about their abuse.

And therein lies the rub. While Chuck D asserts a strong father can deter a man from hitting a woman, the only person who can prevent violence is the attacker. Had Ray Rice kept his hands to himself he would still be in the league, still be earning millions of dollars, and still be a respected star. But he didn’t. Rice decided throw it all away and attack his wife, and that isn’t Janay’s—or her father’s—fault.

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  • Daisy

    Thats Bul!shit my sister and I was raised by a single mother and the day a man ever puts his hands on me were all beating his as$

  • Single Mother

    This is just another “shame on you” to single mothers. Although two parent households are ideal, they are not always a fool proof thing. Many two parent households raise murderers, thieves, abusers, drug addicts. Many single parents raise undeniably good contributions to society. How you are raised is the most important key.

    Unfortunately most single parents, mainly mothers, forget that for 18 years it’s not about them. It’s not about being be vindictive because your relationship didn’t work out. It’s not about using kids for leverage or hitting the club to get another spouse. And these are the single parents that give single parenting a bad name. Being a parent means being a dayum parent. It’s about guidance, positive influence and exposure, strong focus on education, supporting your child and letting them know they CAN be successful and they CAN be anything positive that they want to be. It’s about giving your kids a name that would set them up for success.

    I am a single mother. And I have been for 5 years. Because I refused to stay married to someone who thought it was ok to hit me. Someone who originally was the sweetest, most thoughtful and loving person I had ever met. Someone who after we got married and I got pregnant, started to hate me. Someone who started to not come home. Someone who abused me verbally. And when I stopped responding to the verbal abuse he turned violent. I was raised by my mother and father, who fought constantly, but stayed together “for the sake of the kids”. I refused to be that mother. I refused to subject my son to that kind of environment.

    I am a single mother. I work 5 days a week plus overtime if I have to. I don’t and never have collected social service, child support or anything. I am raising my son to understand the value of respect. I am raising my son to understand the value of hard work and education. I am raising my son to understand the value of appreciating the little things. I am raising my son to understand that money does not buy happiness it only buys things. I am raising my son to take responsibility for his actions. I am raising my son to use his words and not his fists. I am not out looking for a man. I am not out in the clubs. I am at my sons school. I am at the dinner table helping him with his homework. I am in the kitchen cooking dinner. I am at his bedside reading him a story and tucking him in. But I will not settle for a man just to be able to say I am not a single mother. And I wish people would stop shaming real single mothers who do it for the sake of their kids, and their sanity and safety.

  • bigdawgman

    Still, why bother asking that? Is he blaming her father? Why didn’t he ask about Ray Rice’s family situation? It’s just a bizarre thing to ask. Do people ask if murder victims have two parent families? Love Chuck, but he should have kept that one in his head.

  • Rayven Knight

    Men have been raping, beating & killing women….since the beginning of time. Men are abusing & killing women EVERYDAY….it’s an epidemic!!!! Ray Rice isn’t the only player in the NFL(NATIONAL FELONS LEAGUE ) to do this…he’s the only who has been caught on camera hitting a woman….Ray Caruth(I think that’s his nam, was an NFL player who is in prison for paying his incompetent friends to kill her because she was pregnant & he didn’t want to pay child support…so he had his very pregnant girlfriend killed. He had millions…he lost everything because he’s selfish. Men are so logical. Ray Rice has been suspended, terminated, endorsements severed, public humiliation & that’s since Monday!!! This happened because you violent, barbaric, uncivilized, savages don’t love, protect or respect YOUR WOMEN. HE lost so much in 24 hour…because he can’t control his temper!!! Yes, MEN are so logical…black men are the only men who PUBLICLY CALLS HIS WOMEN BI@$H & H@$S!! YES, you’re so logical!! I carry something in my purse so that if & when you run up on me…I’m going to leave you still & stankin’ I’m not calling daddy, brother, uncle. I’m calling 911

  • reality_check

    Epic #FAIL @BritniDanielle….You cannot make a logical leap between what Chuck D. said and Trayvon, Davis and Mike Brown because in those cases, their killers had no clue who their fathers were to be deterred. What chuck D. is saying if you take a moment to listen is that it is highly unlikely that a guy like Ray Rice would even dream of doing this to his girl if he knows she has a father/brother/uncle that would break his knee-caps into 15 pieces. This is what Chuck D is saying and its true Britni.

    I swear females are so damn ILLOGICAL.

  • Vandellish

    That’s exactly what he was saying…add to that what Dave (below me here) said about the repercussions that a would-be attacker fears if he abuses a lady with a strong father and/or male family support.

  • AdamusPrime

    Would a woman raised by a loving, responsible father put up with what Janay puts up with? I get the impression that that’s what Chuck D was saying.

  • Sno

    My best friend slash cousin ended up in an abusive relationship at a young age, and her attacker was a grown spoiled brat, raised by, and still living with BOTH mom and dad at the time. They say dv situations are the worst type situations for others to get involved in. Most dangerous for officers, family, friends….I said that to say even I fell victim to my cousins attacker just being with her one day. Yes his mother worked in the court system, she had some kind of official position in the community. She was an alderman or something….and his dad went to bat for him and they tried to sweep it under the rug. My cousin and her family went for it. My mother wasn’t trying to hear it. Ok y’all got money and a little bit of power but we have money too, and my mother made sure he served time, and that it went on his record. I said that to say I know plenty of abusers and abuse victims raised by both mom and dad ! You can’t judge by that !

  • dave

    Most men who hit women hit those that dont have a big brother, dad, uncle, that the abuser fears, one that would put a pistol in there mouth and not think twice to shoot..

  • DeeDee Denise

    Typical black man blaming others…the women, the children, the white man…the usual!

  • Steve Stone

    Could a daughter raised with a loving father, not have a higher standard of what they will and won’t put up with?

    Then there is the whole whupping that dudes behind if he does put hands on your daughter. I don’t know this Janay lady, but if that was my daughter, someone would just have to go take out some bail money for me ahead of what would inevitably happen. Yea, yea, violence doesn’t begat violence. But sometimes a fool needs to take a beating.