||[Mar. 7th, 2009|01:35 pm]
Why exactly is it that people are surprised by the idea that Rihanna might be back together with Chris Brown? You’ve probably not been a victim of abuse, but have you never actually met other people who've been victims of domestic abuse? This is normal! It is the result of what is essentially brainwashing by the abuser; the perpetrator harms the victim in whichever special way he/she enjoys utilizing to enforce his/her power over the victim, and later performs regret and love, promises that things will be better, that it won't happen again. But it does happen again, and again, and again, and each time it becomes easier and easier for the abuser to physically, mentally, and emotionally batter their victim, as they both become more used to their roles within the scene. And as time goes on each becomes more and more convinced that it is really the victim's fault when the abuser snaps, starts yelling, throwing things at the victim, beating, burning, breaking bones, locking them in a small enclosed space for three days with no food or water, raping them, threatening to harm the kids (or even the pets!), and sometimes even killing them.|
The victim stays with the abuser because the good times are so good, even though the good times are getting fewer and fewer, and the bad times come around more and more often. She/He stays because the abuser actually loves the victim, really! I promise! It will never happen again! There are educated, adult women who stay with their abusers for decades because the pull the abuser has over them is so strong, some even staying until their abuser finally kills them.
Apparently she was able to hit back, and when she did the battering escalated. This is not rare. It is, in some cases, calculated by the abuser, giving him/her the excuse to hit back harder, faster, in more delicate areas of the body. It teaches the victim not to fight back, because fighting back results in greater pain.
Chris Brown chose to utilize his greater physical strength to hurt one of the last people he should ever have raised a hand to, a person who should have been able to trust him implicitly. Your anger shouldn't be with her for "being a bad role model," or for "putting herself in more danger," it should lie with the dude that decided it was okay to put his hands on her in anger instead of stopping the car and walking away until he had enough control to talk to her about their shit. Period. End of story. Anything else is just another warped, disgusting, misogynist way of continuing to blame the victim while pretending at a feminist stance. It is a way of denying the fact that we teach our sons that violence is okay, and our daughters that their needs, wants, and even safety are to always come in second to a guy’s. Funny how, after the police report came out, so few famous people who know the couple condemned what Chris Brown did. Didn’t Usher say something, and then decide to backtrack? Allegedly, Diddy let Rihanna and Chris use one of his houses to meet and talk. And there were people saying that there are two sides to every story, and they always thought Chris was a nice guy. Newsflash: Nice guys, actual, real, trustworthy nice guys, don’t batter their partners.
Yes, she is technically an adult. Yes, she seems to have a lot of people who love her and support her and want the best for her. Yes, she has a great career, money, access to legal and psychiatric help, and fame, which is more than a lot of other abuse victims have. No, that doesn’t make any of the abuse she’s experienced, whether it happened before Chris Brown was arrested or after, her fault. She didn’t allow it to happen. She’s a 21 year old young woman who is already caught within the cycle of abuse, not someone firing on all cylinders who has the objectivity or agency required to pull herself out of it by herself.
On my “cred” to speak on this: I am a female-bodied person of color, only a couple years older than Rihanna, who was abused for many, many years. Yes, my experience was different; my abuse didn’t come from an SO; it came from an authority figure with whom there was no sexual component, either consensual or forced. But like many other victims of abuse, it took me years to realize I was even being abused. I thought it was normal. I thought that, when it happened, I had done something to deserve it, even though I couldn’t figure out what it was I’d done. I understand how difficult dealing with my own abuse was, and can infer that it has different dynamics, and can be even more difficult to cope with in certain ways when you bring in romantic ties and physical intimacy.