Blaming Janay Rice is an outrage

— Shut up. Shut up. Shut. Up.

I never wanted to become the poster child for anything, let alone domestic violence. But my blood is boiling, so when I say shut up, I’m venting at all those people out there who insist on blaming the victim.

Read more: Ravens cut Ray Rice

I do not watch “Fox and Friends,” but I do read the blogs, and when I stumbled across a story about the “Friends” “ha-ha-ha you pathetic woman” moment, my stomach turned.

“She still married him!” co-host Steve Doocy exclaimed after viewing the now-infamous Ray Rice elevator tape. Doocy was talking about Janay Palmer, the woman Rice punched, then married. Doocy’s co-host, Brian Kilmeade, chimed in: “Rihanna went back to Chris Brown right after…[he beat her],” according to

Wait a minute: She’s the one who went back? She married him? Is that supposed to make Rice’s actions or Brown’s actions somehow less violent? Or criminal?

The worst part for me, though, was when Doocy joked, “The message is when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera.” Kilmeade’s comment was, “Take the stairs.” Does that mean it’s OK to deck your gal if no one is around to see it?

I don’t think Doocy meant it that way, but it was that comment that wormed its way under my skin. And I wasn’t alone.

As Jan Langbein, who runs the Genesis Women’s Center, told me, the whole episode is a form of victim-blaming. “I’m horrified,” Langbein said. “I mean ‘take the stairs,’ please! I am constantly surrounded by messages that it’s somehow her fault of or that if she had taken the stairs or done something else or not worn that outfit the abuse wouldn’t have happened. It’s not about her actions at all.”

If you want to know why some domestic violence survivors return to their abusers — here’s a thought — ask them.

You want to know why I never told the authorities, or my family, that a college boyfriend threw me against a wall and knocked me out? Because, at 20, I thought I deserved it. Some of my girlfriends made me feel that way. My boyfriend certainly did. I was ashamed.

You want to know why I agreed to see him again after he assaulted me? Because when all was said and done I could not believe the charming, handsome man I chose to be with could hurt me again.

I quickly discovered I was wrong about that and I left him.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline says it takes women seven times to leave an abusive partner for good. There are 50 different reasons for that and none of them are simple, although some are downright frightening. Langbein said the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is the day she leaves her abusive partner for good. Abusers are all about control. And when they lose control, they become more dangerous. There’s a reason that one-third of female homicide victims are killed by their current or former partners.

So, please, shut up. Domestic violence is a serious crime perpetrated by a violent partner. And, you know what? It rarely happens in front of a camera.

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For women over 50: Bikinis, botox and bling?

— Mrs. Obama is on the cover of People Magazine today.

Not to tout her new education initiative or lament the country’s wage gap, but because she’s 50.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy that Mrs. Obama is able to celebrate her special day with loved ones, but articles about women turning the big 5-0 often get under my skin. And not in a good way.

Including this one.

People not only asked Mrs. Obama if she had “peaked at 50,” but whether she would consider plastic surgery or Botox. The magazine also touched on how the extremely buff Mrs. Obama would change her exercise routine in light of her advancing age.


I don’t recall anyone asking Mr. Obama, when he turned 50, whether he’d consider “fillers” to plump his thin cheeks or quit playing basketball.

Honestly, I never think about being 50 until I read articles either informing me “I can still be sexy at 50 if I do a little something, something, …” or “become a proud cougar and date a younger man.”

In yesterday’s MailOnline, there was an article about the “Real Housewives of Melbourne.”

Women in their late 40s and 50s are pictured in tiny bikinis and gold bling.

Janet Roach, one of the “Housewives,” is pictured beside a hunky, younger man. The article reads, “The blonde bombshell is remarkably youthful for her 55 years, and that may be well to a little help from the surgeon’s knife.”

I’m happy Janet is living her life the way she chooses, but I can’t help but think of that Molly Shannon’s Sally O’Malley character on Saturday Night Live when I look at her.

Remember her? Sally wore tight, high-waisted pants and carried a leopard handbag. She took every opportunity to “strut her stuff,” proclaiming, “My name is Sally O’Malley. I’m proud to say I’m 50 years old. I’m one of those gals who likes to tell her real age. And I like to kick! Stretch! And kick! I’m 50. Fifty years old!”

Funny, how attractive women spend their 20s trying to be taken seriously, only to wish not to be taken seriously when they hit 50.

I’ll end my rant by saying happy birthday, Mrs. Obama. And thank you for answering People’s Botox question like this: “Women should have the freedom to do whatever they need to do to feel good about themselves. Right now, I don’t imagine that I would go that route, but I’ve also learned never to say never.”

You go, girl.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Carol Costello.