The NFL Has Taken a Step in the Right Direction with Its Response to Domestic Violence Cases—Will It Continue to Lead the Way?

Marianna S. Klebanov, JD, says that the NFL is in a unique position to spark real (and much-needed) change in the way our culture responds to domestic violence.

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 2/19/2015, 2:34 p.m.
Over the past year, the words "domestic violence" and "the NFL" have shared a lot of headline space thanks to ...
The Critical Role of Parenting in Human Development (Routledge, 2014, ISBN: 978-1-138-02513-4, $46.95, is available for purchase through Routledge, on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, and through a number of additional booksellers.

Individuals who abuse their partners are significantly more likely to be violent toward their children.

Domestic violence is commonly unreported since many victims are psychologically trapped in their own victimization. Victims have frequently observed abuse in their own parents' relationships during childhood, which literally programmed the trauma into their developing brains. This is one of the reasons they find it difficult to leave abusive relationships.

Abusers often threaten, stalk, or even kill victims when victims attempt to leave.

Most violence against women is interpersonal violence from an intimate partner.

Both victims and abusers need serious help and treatment.

"The bottom line is, when it comes to domestic violence, suspensions and donations don't fully solve the problem," Klebanov concludes. "Players involved in domestic violence should be required to engage in intensive domestic violence treatment programs before being permitted to return to the game. A policy that puts the safety of families and future generations before the game is the best way to send the message that the NFL's audiences—especially men and boys—need to hear. I encourage the NFL's leadership to take the lead in changing the way our culture thinks about and responds to domestic violence."

About Marianna Klebanov:

Marianna S. Klebanov, JD, is the coauthor of The Critical Role of Parenting in Human Development. She works as an attorney with a specialty in matters relating to child welfare and family violence. She writes a column for on issues relating to parenting, child abuse prevention, and brain development. In addition, she serves on the Board of Directors and on the Executive Committee of Family and Children Services, a large nonprofit organization focusing on mental health services. Klebanov chairs the organization's Program Committee, overseeing the board's relationship with the organization's mental health and counseling programs. She is the legislative liaison to the Board of Supervisors for the Juvenile Justice Commission and serves on the Child Abuse Prevention Council. Klebanov graduated with honors from Berkeley with a bachelor's degree in linguistics and earned her JD from the University of California at Hastings, where she served as a journal editor.

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