In this May 23, 2014, file photo, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, right, speaks alongside his wife, Janay, during a news conference at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. A new video that appears to show Ray Rice striking then-fiance Janay Palmer in an elevator last February has been released on a website. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

WHAT IS most disturbing about the emergence Monday of a video showing former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice punching out his future wife in an Atlantic City elevator in February is what it says about society’s willingness to kid itself about — and look away from — domestic violence.

What had taken place inside the elevator had already been evident from an earlier video, which showed Mr. Rice dragging the limp body of the woman, Janay Palmer, from the car. But that seemed of little concern to Baltimore’s NFL team, which stood by Mr. Rice and even suggested that Ms. Palmer might share responsibility for what happened. Fans rewarded him with cheers and standing ovations. The National Football League gave Mr. Rice a slap on the wrist (although, to its credit, it later admitted its leniency had been a mistake and put in place tougher rules).

All of this making allowances for Mr. Rice suddenly ended Monday with the release of the stomach-churning video of the actual punch. Within hours of the video being posted on , the Ravens terminated Mr. Rice’s contract and cut him loose, and the NFL suspended him indefinitely. The time for excuses and looking the other way was over; never mind the hypocrisy of their earlier acceptance of Mr. Rice.

Domestic violence is a fact of life for too many people. And too often their suffering is compounded by a tendency by outsiders to disbelieve them, belittle the harm or try to explain it away.

There are lessons to be learned from what happened in that elevator, and not just for the NFL. Namely: This is what domestic violence looks like, and you shouldn’t need a video to believe it, be disgusted by it and refuse to tolerate it.