Colts home opener offers benefit for domestic violence charities

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By Kendall Downing

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Ray Rice scandal left the NFL reeling over the past week. Questions still loom over what NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell knew and when. But victims' advocates said despite that, there's new attention and awareness for domestic violence being spread across the country, including Monday night in Indianapolis.

"I was in a relationship at the time where I was experiencing mental and emotional abuse, physical abuse as well," said Jasmyne West, "When I saw that things weren't going to work for the better I knew it was time for me to go."

West moved to the Circle City three years ago, fleeing an abusive boyfriend. She grabbed her two kids, left South Bend and didn't look back. West said she came to Indianapolis for The Julian Center and got involved with the Circles of Support program.

She said meeting with people in our community changed her life.

"We just talk about different issues that affect people who are in situations such as mine and how we can better ourselves," she said.

Last week, the Indianapolis Colts announced a $100,000 donation to The Julian Center.

Their match-up with the Philadelphia Eagles touches on domestic violence, too. The proceeds from this week's 50/50 raffle will go to domestic violence charities both here at home and across Indiana.

Still, a cloud hangs over the league as a whole. A women's rights group called Ultra Violet planned to fly a banner over Indianapolis and Lucas Oil Stadium, with the hashtag "Goodell Must Go.' The group flew the banner in other NFL cities on Sunday, but rain halted their showing in Indianapolis Monday night.

"Ultra Violet members are calling on the commissioner to resign and pushing the NFL to start taking domestic violence as the serious problem that it is," said Kat Barr, with Ultra Violet.

Jasmyne West said the Colts' gift to The Julian Center and their 50/50 charity selection shows the team isn't making light of the controversy.

On Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a memo four women have been brought on to craft league policies on domestic violence and sexual assault.