Perhaps now we are ready to take domestic violence more seriously.

The Baltimore Ravens dismissed running back Ray Rice Monday and the NFL suspended him indefinitely after a video emerged showing him punching his then fiancée in an elevator in an Atlantic City casino. Previously, the only video made public was of Rice dragging an unconscious Janey Palmer from the elevator. Rice had avoided major domestic violence prosecution in New Jersey, accepting a plea deal and entering into program. He had avoided major penalties with the league, being suspended only the first two games of the season, a move that brought heat on the NFL and led the league to change its policy on how it punished domestic violence cases. And he had kept his job with the team.


The release of the video from inside the elevator changed all that, but the New Jersey prosecutor, the Ravens and the NFL might have come to the same conclusion months ago had they examined the statistics surrounding domestic violence in America.

The NFL is big on statistics, after all, so here a few that should have been considered much earlier in the game:

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: one every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and about 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

The NCADV also notes that domestic violence is among the most chronically underreported crimes, with only about one in four physical assaults, one in five rapes and one half of all stalking against females by intimate partners reported to police.

Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to become abusers themselves.

In Maryland, the NCADV says there are tens of thousands of domestic violence crimes reported to law enforcement agencies each year.

On its website, NCADV says domestic violence "is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime."

Maryland in recent years has strengthened domestic violence laws to protect victims, but far too many instances continue to go unreported, far too many offenders get off with just a slap on the wrist and far too many people are physically and emotionally hurt to say that we are making progress.

Perhaps the national attention generated by the Rice video will turn the tide, and we'll begin to take the abuse statistics as seriously as we take stats for catches, yards after carry or touchdowns.