Wednesday, March 4, 2009

on breaking the cycle of abuse and dating violence

In case you haven’t heard, Chris Brown beat up his girlfriend Rihanna at a pre-Grammy party last month. The media has been all over this story like flies on fresh poop and have unearthed (or made even more public) a few details that may or may not be relevant to this story and that may or may not be true.

  • Chris Brown’s stepfather used to beat his mother and Brown witnessed this. After seeing his mother suffer, he vowed that he could never do that to a woman (until he did).
  • In an interview with Giant , Chris Brown discussed the issue of his stepfather’s abuse: “…an 11-year-old Brown made a promise to his mother. He vowed that he would go to jail by age 15 for killing his abusive stepfather. "I just want you to know that I love you," he told her. "But I'm gonna take a baseball bat one day while you at work, and I'm gonna kill him."”
  • On the evening of the incident, Rihanna was allegedly upset with Chris Brown because she saw him flirting with Leona Lewis. She went batsh*t crazy on him and he went batsh*t PHYSICALLY crazy on her.
  • On the day of the incident, Chris Brown found out that Rihanna had herpes and had passed it on to him. That evening, he went batsh*t PHYSICALLY crazy on her.
  • Allegedly, they are both hotheaded and this stuff happens all the time.
For me, the story is simple. Chris Brown beat up Rihanna. That is not acceptable, no matter the rationale.
Yet, public opinion is actually split about this. I’ve read many blog threads and blog posts (no, I will not link and increase their traffic) where people, some of them women, are suggesting that Rihanna deserved the beating because she must have done something to provoke it. I do not understand this line of thinking on any level, so if you think Rihanna deserved this, feel free to explain yourself in comments. Seriously, I do want to understand this point of view but I can’t.

I was raised to believe that domestic violence is wrong.  My grandparents on my mom’s side had a rocky relationship. It all started when my grandfather started drinking. Whenever he drank to the point of intoxication, he would beat my grandmother while my mom and her sisters watched. Luckily, my mom herself was not beaten by her father. But obviously, the abuse left quite the impression on my mom.

Fortunately for me, my mom taught me that abuse is never acceptable and to watch for warning signs. My mom herself is quite the strong woman and (for better and for worse), I am very much like her in many ways. Neither of us takes crap from anybody. If a boyfriend or someone I’m dating even says something that remotely can be interpreted as a putdown, I call him on it to make sure it doesn’t happen again (for the record, Jesse is the best boyfriend ever and has never put me down).

Thanks to my mother, I’ve been taught that abuse is wrong in all circumstances. Unfortunately, some parents haven’t done such a good job of teaching that lesson to their kids.

In an article in the Chicago Tribune shortly after the Chris Brown/Rihanna incident, teenagers pretty much put the blame on Rihanna and claimed that dating violence is normal. The whole article is definitely worth reading (if you haven’t already; it’s all over Google) but here are a few gems:
  • Ed Loos, a junior at Lake Forest High School, said a common reaction among students to Chris Brown's alleged attack on Rihanna goes something like this: "Ha! She probably did something to provoke it."
  • "People said, 'I would have punched her around too,' "
  • "There was a girl at school this week with a scratch on her eye," Jackson said. "She was talking openly about her boyfriend hitting her, but she was smiling and saying it was funny."
No, abuse is not funny, it is not acceptable and it should not be commonplace. WTF.

I don’t mean to get all “public health” on you peeps again, but these kids need some education on how violence is never ok under any circumstances. We are in a critical position right now.  Two very famous young people have brought this issue onto the front pages of newspapers, magazines, and blogs.  Now is the time to educate future generations about abuse and how it is NOT acceptable. 

If this continues and nothing is done to set these kids straight, you better believe that the cycle of domestic violence will continue. Doing nothing would ensure that dating violence will truly become commonplace for many years to come.

For more information on dating violence, check out Break the Cycle and Love is Not Abuse


Zipcode said...

Great post -- it is reported the two are back together.

I love the word batshit crazy

anOCgirl said...

zip: yeah, i heard that too. i was going to mention it, but i knew i was going to go off on a tangent on the cycle of domestic abuse, how one is beaten down emotionally before the physical abuse even begins, leaving a victim more likely to return to the abuser because she blames herself.

instatick said...

This whole thing just makes me sick. I knew there was lots of victim blaming going on in America, but I feel like it hasn't been as loud, as obvious until now with this whole Chris Brown thing. I'm sad too that they're allegedly back together.