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No Hope for the NFL: Overlooking Hope Solo’s domestic violence scandal

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In this Oct. 20, 2013, file photo, United States goalkeeper Hope Solo pauses on the field during the second half of an international friendly women's soccer match against Australia in San Antonio. U.S. Soccer is standing by its decision to allow goalkeeper Hope Solo to continue to play while she faces domestic violence charges, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Darren Abate, File)

In this Oct. 20, 2013, file photo, United States goalkeeper Hope Solo pauses on the field during the second half of an international friendly women’s soccer match against Australia in San Antonio. U.S. Soccer is standing by its decision to allow goalkeeper Hope Solo to continue to play while she faces domestic violence charges, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Darren Abate, File)

Repeated domestic violence scandals from the NFL have recently shed light on the issue of domestic violence more strongly than ever before, and more women have gained the courage to seek help. According to The Washington Post, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has seen an astounding 84 percent increase in phone calls since the video of former NFL player Ray Rice knocking his fiancée unconscious was released two weeks ago. Still, the attention domestic violence has recently received is completely one-sided, only extending a hand toward women who have been abused  by men.

While football icons like Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson have received endless scrutiny and are on probation from playing football for their recent offenses, Hope Solo—USA’s superstar soccer player who you might remember from “Dancing with the Stars”—has been generally overlooked.

Last June, Solo was held in jail overnight without bail for two counts of fourth-degree domestic assault. A police report in The Seattle Times stated that “Solo allegedly assaulted her sister and her nephew” and that there “were visible injuries on them.” Similarly to NFL players in this situation, Solo has pleaded not guilty to these charges. One glaring difference, however, is that until the trial is over and the court makes its decision, Solo is welcome to play soccer. Her trial, as well, has been placed very conveniently after the World Cup.

All of this begs the question: Why is she being treated so differently from the NFL players? New York Times writer Juliet Macur commented that one could see differences between spousal abuse and fighting with family, but “it is indisputable that both qualify as domestic violence.”

The painfully taboo but undeniable reason why Solo is still representing her country in soccer is that domestic violence initiated by women is seldom taken very seriously. Nearly every existing public service announcement about domestic violence features a woman with a black eye, a man standing over her, and slow, sorry statistics about how many women fall victim to domestic violence every year.

While female victims of domestic violence should without a doubt be taken seriously and deserve every ounce of support they’ve received, male victims and female abusers should be given attention as well.

Contrary to the popular belief that almost all victims of this violence are women, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found in a 2010 study that 40 percent of all severely abusive intimate partners are women. Men are often hesitant to speak out for themselves because of the accepted belief that they’re the tough, physical partner; they’re embarrassed to admit that they can’t protect themselves against a woman.

While all types of domestic violence are significant and deserve attention, the abusive role that women can play needs to be accepted so more men can feel comfortable seeking help in these situations. Cases like Solo’s should be treated in the same manner as current cases against NFL players. Domestic violence is a serious issue no matter who is involved.

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No Hope for the NFL: Overlooking Hope Solo’s domestic violence scandal