Ray Rice, a running back for the Baltimore Ravens, lost his job and cannot play football again after it came to light that he had abused his wife, prior to their marriage, in what both claimed was a one time incident. The full story on the abuse and the ramifications can be found here. As a result of this terrible incident the NFL issued a new policy on domestic abuse. [read_more] The new rules have much stiffer penalties for domestic abuse including a six-game suspension without pay for the first offense and a lifetime ban for a second offense.
In October the Loudoun board of Supervisors passed resolution concerning domestic abuse,
A Proclamation of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Declaring October 2014 Domestic Violence Awareness Month
WHEREAS, the United States Congress recognizes October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month; and
WHEREAS, domestic violence impacts thousands of Virginians each year and threatens our citizens, our families, our children, our homes, and our communities; and
WHEREAS, the Loudoun Domestic Abuse Response Team was formed in 2004 to protect victims and their children and to hold offenders accountable by creating a coordinated community response to domestic violence; and
WHEREAS, the Loudoun Domestic Abuse Response Team has made notable improvements in the local criminal justice system’s response to domestic violence, and in 2009, received statewide recognition from the Virginia Attorney General’s Office for its Promising Practices in Domestic Violence Response; and
WHEREAS, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is committed to the safety and security of our citizens and communities who are impacted by domestic violence and to holding perpetrators of domestic violence accountable for their actions; and (emphasis mine)
WHEREAS, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors continues to support promising programs and initiatives to address the issue of domestic violence in our community.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT, on October 1, 2014, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors hereby recognizes October 1 – 31, 2014 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Loudoun County.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors recognizes the 10 year anniversary of the Loudoun Domestic Abuse Response Team, and the commendable work of the team to improve our community’s response to domestic violence.
All members of the board signed this resolution.
Now one of their own has abused a woman and they have nothing but praise for him. He is NOT held accountable for his actions. Shawn Williams severely beat his girlfriend on more than one occasion in 2006, has frightened his wife enough that the sheriff was called twice to his home in 2013, and in 2014 he hit a neighbor. These incidents were not in the far distant past. The board’s resolution states they support “holding perpetrators of domestic violence accountable for their actions”. Perhaps they intended to include a expiration clause for perpetrators of domestic violence because it seems the Loudoun board has nothing but praise for Shawn Williams,
Buona called Williams an “effective supervisor” who did an “admirable job,” Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) thanked Williams for the “fine work” he performed for his constituents and Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) wished Williams well. Supervisor Ken Reid (R-Leesburg) said Williams’ work to created Metro tax districts to bear to brunt of the county’s Metro Silver Line costs “just phenomenal.”
Supervisor Suzanne Volpe added,
“All of us knew when we ran for office what we were getting into,” she said. “For many people looking at running for office, just remember, your life is going to be a fishbowl and lots of eyes on it. Something I learned a long time ago is people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”
I have no idea what this might mean. The Washington Post reporter, Rachel Weiner, was also an abuser? I know of no politicians, lawyers, bloggers, journalists, or other private citizens in Loudoun who have abused women or had 4 DUI convictions. Just who is living in these mythical glass houses? Suzanne Volpe was the only supervisor who opposed returning Eugene Delgaudio’s office funding to him after he was found innocent of all the charges the board of supervisors tried to bring against him. She wanted Eugene punished more for her imagined transgressions but she wants no punishment for an abuser of women. Perhaps it is she who is living in one of her glass houses.
Chairman of the Board Scott York had nothing but praise for Williams, according to York, working with Williams was ‘pure joy’.
“I’m sorry that you’re going through what you’re going through for someone’s personal gain,” York said. “Unfortunately in the world of politics, power goes to somebody’s head and they think they just need to use every means by anything they can to get into office, not worrying about the destruction that can come about it.”
So Shawn Williams’ behavior isn’t the problem, the problem arises when someone finds out about it and reports it. Wow.
“I wish certain members of the Republican Party would get over it and move on,” York said. “I know myself, I would be talking to my attorneys.”
Why does anyone need an attorney? Is he suggesting lawsuits against those who report what is public information?
The resolution the board supported says they want abusers held accountable. Apparently not. Or perhaps abusers should be held accountable unless they are in public office? Or there is an unstated time limit for being held accountable? Is there a statue of limitations on felony assault? After that it must be forgotten and forgiven? What might that time limit be?
Why is there ZERO concern for the victim of Williams’ abuse? Why is there no apology to her? What happened to her? Why does NO ONE on the board care about HER? Why is it ok that Williams was never punished for his behavior? His victim suffered serious injuries. She may still be suffering from those injuries, physically and emotionally. Why is the board asking everyone to forget about her and move on?
All this praise for Shawn Williams will come back to haunt this board. Every member of the board who is running for re-election will see mailers from democrats using their quotes against them, along with a link to the Post article on Shawn and the police report. Can we say “War on Women”? Board members will be accused of showing support for an abuser. The mailers write themselves. Sad. It will be difficult enough for Republicans to hold the majority on the board this year, this praise for an abuser will make it even more difficult.
It should be noted that the only two members of the board board did not take part in the love fest for Shawn Williams, Eugene Delgaudio, who this board tried desperately and repeatedly to convict of something and couldn’t, and Janet Clarke. She ‘gets it’. She and Eugene understand the damage, both physically and emotionally, that abuse does to a woman. They have sympathy and empathy for the victim, unlike the rest of the board of supervisors who reserve those feelings for the perpetrator. Clarke and Delgaudio are aware of what this kind of abuse does to the woman and her family. Imagine how her father and mother felt when they saw her so violently abused. How can the fathers on our board not understand what it would feel like to see their daughter in such a condition? Have any of their daughters faced such abuse? It would break a parent’s heart. But our board has no empathy or sympathy for victim or her parents. None. It’s all about protecting and praising the abuser.
When it was learned that Ray Rice had abused his wife (financee at the time) the Ravens and the NFL reacted swiftly and punitively. He was punished for what he did. He lost his job. He lost his career. Unlike our board of supervisors, none of Ray Rice’s buddies had a meeting to tell the public what a wonderful guy he was and what a joy it was to have him on the Ravens team. What has the Loudoun board done to hold Shawn Williams responsible for his actions? Nothing. He still sits on the same board doing the same job and gathering praise! Yes, we know Shawn ”deeply regrets” his actions, as abusers always do. But until they are held accountable, their behaviors do not change. Even then their behaviors often do not change. Loudoun county Board of supervisors will not hold Shawn accountable for his actions. They have done nothing but praise him while telling the rest of us to ‘move on’ and ‘get over it’.
Apparently the NFL has higher standards for domestic violence and abuse than the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. Sad.