Editor’s note: This is the first installment of “He Said, She Said,” which will be an occasional Georgia Mae feature that will allow our resident man blogger and I to discuss different, though not necessarily opposing thoughts on different issues. While Edd and I for the most part have similar feelings regarding the charges against R&B singer Chris Brown for the assault of his girlfriend and fellow pop star Rihanna, we had different things that we wanted to get off our chests.
Everywhere I turn over the past couple of weeks, I keep hearing the same two things: Chris Brown is stupid for beating on his girlfriend, and Rihanna is stupid for taking him back.
Let the record show that I said that BOTH were pretty stupid long before that.
I mentioned in my post “Girl Power” that the young ladies in my youth group a) predicted that Rihanna would run back to Chris Brown and b) had already lost respect for her.
The price of celebrity is having your business put all over the streets. It’s tough enough for a young lady to deal with a betrayal of trust without having everyone read about stuff like this, from rollingstone.com:
He then placed her in a head lock positioning the front of her throat between his bicep and forearm. Brown began applying pressure to Robyn F.’s left and right carotid arteries, causing her to be unable to breathe and she began to lose consciousness.
She reached up with her left hand and began attempting to gouge his eyes in an attempt to free herself. Brown bit her left ring and middle fingers and then released her. While Brown continued to punch her, she turned around and placed her back against the passenger door. She brought her knees to her chest, placed her feet against Brown’s body and began pushing him away. Brown continued to punch her on the legs and feet, causing several contusions.
It’s not like Chris Brown simply slapped Rihanna during a heated argument. This fool was casually driving around town while choking her out, like he was playing Grand Theft Auto! And then a couple of weeks later they’re out partyin’ with Puff. I’m not saying she should never forgive the man, but she should at least distance herself from him for awhile due to the gravity of the issue.
There are many girls out there who lack positive male role models, or possess crappy ones, and they look up to these celebrities to escape the turmoil in their homes. So when they see the same make-up n’ break-up crap on TV that they do at home, there’s no wonder that they wind up in poor relationships.
I don’t care if they made up behind the scenes. Rihanna is silently defending Chris Brown with her actions (she recently refused a “no contact” order from the judge) and it makes it seem like the incident wasn’t a big deal. And that’s a huge mistake.
Until now I’ve refrained from writing about the Rihanna/Chris Brown situation, but not for lack of an opinion. I’ve been quiet because I’m so angry I haven’t been able to compose my thoughts. But I believe that as a feminist I can no longer hold my tongue.
Even when reports of the assault first surfaced many people were not taking this situation seriously. Perhaps it’s her celebrity status that makes us turn her abuse into a joke, but there is nothing funny about domestic violence. Nothing.
Now that she has allegedly taken him back, Rihanna has somehow become the bad guy. Sure, I’m disappointed that she would go back to him and, like Edd, I worry about the kind of message this sends to her young fans. But let’s not forget that she is more than an image on our TV and computer screens. She is a human being with complicated emotions. She’s a young woman who experienced something most traumatic.
Before judging Rihanna we should keep in mind that it’s often very difficult to leave an abusive partner. Some studies have shown it can take a woman four to seven attempts. And I’m sure many of the people criticizing her have never been victims of domestic violence themselves.
Furthermore, this tisk-tisk attitude toward Rihanna just takes our attention away from Chris Brown and what he did to her. It’s just another case of blaming the victim.
My wish is that all the people busy defending Chris Brown and bashing Rihanna would redirect that energy into meaningful conversations about violence against women. I wish mothers would talk to their daughters about any physical, mental or emotional abuse they may be secretly enduring from the boys in their lives. I wish fathers would talk to their sons about the right way to treat a woman. And I wish we all would learn more about the conditions — be it fear, guilt, low self-esteem or other issues — that make it difficult for women to leave abusive relationships. Then maybe we can get to the important work of empowering these women and we can finally stop belittling them.