The Cycle of Abuse, Celebrity-Style with Rihanna and Chris Brown

28 02 2009

When I first heard about Rihanna’s attack, I braced myself for the rumours to come. Here is an obviously very public relationship and I knew the mixture of such a private issue (domestic violence) with such public figures would either be really good or really bad. Mostly bad.

One thing that has consistently pissed me off is the commentary that celebrities have been saying about the incident known as “Domestic Disturbia.” First of all, I never understood why OTHER PEOPLE should comment about someone’s relationship, especially when they are in such prominent positions that they can’t really say anything. The support for Chris Brown was appalling. I don’t know how many times I read some male celeb/artist saying how they were friends with Brown and would support him and know he just made a bad mistake. THIS IS WHAT HELPS ABUSERS TO ABUSE. There is no reason to stop. Many abusers are prominent in their communities and very respected; they care about what others think about them. This is why they put so much effort to looking good in public, but don’t hesitate to do what they want when no one is watching. Unfortunately, we have become so concerned with losing a friend or hurting someone’s feelings that we’d still support someone who obviously does not know how to treat someone else.

Another issue that has annoyed me is that oftentimes people would say things about Chris’ character. “He’s a good guy” they say. But when asked about Rihanna? “She’s a beautiful girl.” Is there nothing else to be said about her? Is there nothing valuable about her other than her looks and fame? Would this incident be less upsetting if Rihanna wasn’t beautiful but society’s standards?

Anyway, the cycle of abuse has proceeded to the next step in front of us. Reading through the posts of Ohnotheydidn’t (yes, I am guilty of reading it every so often), I see the progression of the relationship’s public cycle of abuse (we don’t know how things have been behind closed doors). Things have been going well between them. Things escalate to an act of abuse. They break up. Brown sends Rihanna gifts (jewelry, flowers, etc) and calls her to wish her well on her birthday. Apologizes. They finally get back together.

As upset as I am that they got back together, I must say that I am not surprised. The LAPD has been reluctant to officially charge Brown because it’s a high profile case (let’s be serious, it would be difficult even if it weren’t a high profile case) and Rihanna didn’t press charges. It must have been heartbreaking to go through such a horrific ordeal publicly and then to not be able to be comforted by your significant other. The overwhelming loneliness makes it difficult and I’m sure both parties are thinking over the incident repeatedly, thinking that they could change and keep the incident from happening again.

A lot of people are surprised by her actions. People have even gone as far to say she deserves it now or they hope she gets beaten again. Shit like that only helps the abused to stay with their abusers. The cycle of abuse varies. The abuser can convince the abused that it is their fault; perhaps the abuser says that the other started it and if they behaved differently the abuser wouldn’t “have” to hurt the other. Oftentimes people have the misconception if they’re not beaten on a “regular” basis (whatever that means) that they are not in an abusive relationship.

There are so many factors that many cannot relate to, yet people are choosing to put in their two cents. Well, here are my two cents. Watch what the fuck you say. And don’t fucking judge. We need to educate ourselves. The ignorance about abusive relationship needs to end. We need to speak out. Instead of putting the burden on Rihanna to be a spokesperson/model for all abused women out there, how about we take on responsibility ourselves and strive to do our part.

We can start by learning and understanding.



One response

20 04 2009

“A lot of people are surprised by her actions.”

Well… That’s because they don’t understand or realise what it’s like. They can’t, if they’re surprised or condemning it.
The loneliness can be a large factor; but so can the belief that he can change; or that love is worth putting up with it; or the belief that she deserves it, or that she needs to be with him, and so on.
And unless you’ve been in that situation, or known someone who has, or been interested in the psychology surrounding intimate violence, chances are, you won’t know.

And let’s face it- most people don’t care much about the feelings of others.

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