As many of you already know, it was announced this morning Slava Voynov was suspended indefinitely due to domestic violence charges. If you don't know specifics, here's a couple references: click here. It was great of the league to take immediate action to suspend him indefinitely. This is a step in the right direction, due to inconsistencies in the past. Just because only know of two instances in the past year, does not mean that we should hold our sport to a higher regard than other sports.
This is not an issue of where someone is from, what team someone plays for, or even what sport they play for. The issue is that there are people out there who believe that THIS is the way to solve problems, THIS is an appropriate way to release their anger or aggression. It is 2014 and this is still something that people do. It happens everywhere and while it's not going to go away overnight, there are many ways to spread awareness and support abuse victims.
This is not the time to throw around innocent until proven guilty. This is not the time to make low blow jokes "ohhh, the Kings are pieces of shit, SEE I KNEW IT!!!" This is not the time to throw around ideas of the victim lying for money, etc. This is the time to be show compassion and respect to the victim. Respect all the victims, all the time, in fact.
If the abuser is someone that you liked and thought was great, I'm sorry that he ended up being a piece of shit. It always hurts to find out that someone you admire or even look up to, is a bad person. But you need to be willing to accept that he is a piece of shit, let go of the sports feelings and grab onto the everyone-deserves-to-be-treated-better feelings. Personality disorders (specifically narcissism, shocker that a hockey player has narcissistic traits) can be linked to people who are abusive, and those are extremely tricky to treat. There isn't a drug that abusers can take to make them switch off that fucked up part of the brain. For them to get well means years and years of intensive psychotherapy and medication to help possible symptoms the abuser may have. If Voynov gets the help he needs, good on him, but I think it could be highly unlikely knowing that he is an athlete, and that he will probably go to another league if he gets kicks out of the NHL. Traveling doesn't help people get better because those people should be getting treatment several times a week.
(side note: I'm not diagnosing anyone with anything, just giving an example, get off my back, guys)
With that being said, fuck Slava Voynov. This isn't supposed to be about Voynov though, I don't really care what happens to him. Even if he is kicked out and never works again, it doesn't matter because he has enough money to live comfortably forever. The point is that we need to support people who are the victims of these horrible acts.
If you are aware of someone who is being abused, please do not ridicule. Do not shame. Do not further criticize and hurt them more, they've been through enough already. Do not tell an abuse victim how they need to be or how they need to act, doing this causes victims to shut down. Do be supportive, do be caring, do be empathetic. Put yourself in their shoes. What if someone you have loved and cared about became someone that you didn't know/think was possible? What if someone you love started hurting you? Most people say they would leave, but you really don't know unless, unfortunately, you are in that situation.
Being supportive, hell, even being willing to listen without judgment to a victim of domestic violence can go a long way. Opening your heart and showing a victim what love, kindness and compassion can be, could be the first step in helping them get the courage to leave. Here is an example of a safety plan that you could share with someone who is afraid to leave or has left and is still afraid. You don't have to agree with someone to help them.
This is unfortunate that this happens, and I hope for the best for the woman who was abused by Voynov. I hope that she surrounds herself with support, and does what she can to ignore those who will say hurtful things, because it will happen.
Here are a few places for you to gain education, give to people who are hurting as a reference, perhaps donate a couple dollars to, or if you are hurting, you could contact.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: