Chris Brown and Rihanna, a couple of thoughts

10Mar09

richris1

1.  They might be getting back together.  A lot of what I’ve heard in the news/magazines/talking to people when they hear that Rihanna might be taking Chris Brown back is that she is “crazy” that she’s “stupid,” how could she? etc.  Just because this particular relationship is under the scrutiny of the national media doesn’t mean it isn’t a relationship like many others.  Rihanna like many other survivors of domestic abuse is faced with the incredible challenge of trying to leave her abuser as well as to reconcile her emotions and what she has experienced.

Some studies have shown that it takes an average woman 4-7 tries before she can leave her abuser for good. Why? Because abusers aren’t transparent assholes all of the time. They can be very manipulative, and most of the time will wear down their partner’s self-esteem quite thoroughly long before they start with the physical violence. They’re also often charming and can be very loving and doting and romantic when they’re not being violent. They can talk real pretty about what they’ve learned, how sorry they are, how they’re going to change, how they can’t change without the help of their wo/man. And of course, we want to believe that we haven’t been so blind in choosing a partner for ourselves. (Jacelyn Friedman at Yes means Yes blog)

I think this is a great summary of why we shouldn’t be so quick to jump on Rihanna for not leaving Chris Brown and why those of us who have been lucky enough to not be directly affected my domestic abuse should think twice before creating judgement.

 

2. The picture.  I know that for me, that picture was hard to see.  There was so much buzz around the incident that to see the photo really hammered home for me that this wasn’t just some hollywood incident but that a real woman was attacked by her partner.  One of the biggest things that came out of the release of her photo was that folks began to believe her and her story.  All of the side stories of him cheating on her with Leona Lewis, or her with T.I. and potentially contracting and sharing herpes, all immediately ceased.  There was a much clearer condemnation of Chris Brown from many (but not all… http://www.sohh.com/2009/02/kanye_west_speaks_chris_b.html).  This however, does not even address the seriously problematic release of the photo.  The fact that a) a police officer would take and release that photo, b) TMZ would run the photo and c) we would all take in the photo at the alarming numbers that we did (on the day the photo it was release, and many following, videos of the photo were the highest viewed on youtube.com) are all a very serious problem.  Samitha from feministing.com has a great analysis of the release of the photo…

It is a sad world that we live in, when a woman is not taken at face value. And then her body must be consumed for the world to see in order to believe her story. The message is clear, women and especially black women, have no right to privacy, their image is for our consumption and story-telling. (from feministing.com)

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