Domestic Violence: What We Can Learn From Naya Rivera and Ryan Dorsey [Love + Learn]

(Photo: Taylor Jewell / Associated Press)

Former Glee star Naya Rivera was been arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic battery this weekend for an altercation with her husband Ryan Dorsey.

According to police, Rivera struck Dorsey in the head and face. He was left with injuries that corroborate his claims, and has provided authorities with a video taken during the altercation.

Rivera was released on a $1k PR bond and pick up by her father-in-law.

A lot can be asked about this incident. Was she defending herself? Why was the husband taping the assault? Was alcohol involved? Is she a serial abuser? Why did her father-in-law pick her up from court instead of her family? There are simply too many questions to this story.

But one thing to note is that this is a national news story about domestic violence caused by a famous woman. Men are typically the accused, and when a man attempts to voice his pain or experience, he is often met with shame and ridicule.

“Men don’t get abused by women,” is typically heard when discussing the subject with others, but the truth is there are a shocking number of male domestic abuse victims, and no one ever talks about it.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 and 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner, 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner to the point in where they felt fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.

Remember the time you stalked your ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend on social media? Or the day you smacked him in a disagreement? Yes, that constitutes as domestic abuse. These seemingly “little” incidents may not appear to be abusive in nature from your vantage point, but it is in fact abuse.

Naya’s story is a sad one. She and husband Ryan share a 2-year-old son, which makes this situation a truly heartbreaking one. But there are lessons to be learned through her mistakes:

1) Abuse of any kind is never appropriate. No person, whether married or divorced, girlfriend or boyfriend, friend or foe, is your property. You have no right to touch or harm them in any way, that is of course unless you feel your life is in danger.

2) There are real life consequences to our actions regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, class or religion. No one is worth ruining your life, career and happiness over.

3) Speak up! If it’s happening to you, don’t let shame stop you from escaping. Life is too short to be unhappy, so live the happiest, most fullest life you can possibly have.

In hindsight, I’m sure Naya regrets this decision. She has jeopardized more than just her street cred. Should she and her husband decide to divorce, this incident makes the case for full or even joint custody a whole lot more difficult, and losing your child is a thought that makes most mom’s tremble with fear.

I sincerely hope she takes this time to reflect, heal and move forward positively. Every child deserves a stable, healthy and happy home.


Jasmine Diaz


If you are a victim of domestic violence and want help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. Support is available 24/7.

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