This makes me sad: “Despite previous beating, Rihanna back with Chris Brown.” Now, I’m one of those people who doesn’t really care what celebrities do with their lives. They’re people, just like the rest of us, who have a passion for being in the public eye (a.k.a. narcissism?) But when I see stories like this, where two celebrities who are role models for young women and men engage in dangerous behavior with no regard for the consequences, it makes me sad. Very, very sad.
Yes, there are other celebrities who do dangerous or stupid things. Most of these things, however, are so frowned upon by society that young fans cannot brush away the act easily. Lindsay Lohan drinks and drives (among other things). Kids know that that is dumb and will tell you so. But Rihanna, a victim of domestic violence, goes back to her abuser claiming that “it’s different now.” Most kids will talk about how that is true love or how romantic that is. The fact is that it is neither true love nor is it romantic. It’s dangerous.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women will be victims of domestic violence during their life. 1 in 12 women have be stalked by their partner. 30%-60% of abusers will also abuse children in the home. And, this one was was the most startling to me: “In 70%-80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man abused the woman before the murder.” 70% – 80%? That is incredible.
Rihanna, like many victims who return to their abusers, claims things have changed. How exactly? Is she going to stop it next time? Why? What has changed that will give her the power to stop her abuser from hitting her? Does she think he won’t hit her again? He will. No matter how much community service he has to do, he is still unable to control his anger. This is a guy who just a few days ago, beat the crap out of another R&B singer, Frank Ocean…over a parking space. This is not a guy who is in control of himself.
I’m sorry for Rihanna in the same way that I’m sorry for any victim of domestic violence or abuse. It is a vicious spiral that is incredibly difficult to pull yourself out of, even with a wonderful support system. She has to do it in the public eye with people she’s never met criticizing her (like me). But, in reality, if she wants to go back to her abuser, that is her decision. I hope that her support system is strong enough to help her the next time he lands her in the hospital.
The ones I am truly saddened for, however, are her fans. Young women and men who will see this story not as one of abuse, but as one of deep and passionate love. Hitting is not love. Returning to your abuser is not love. Promising that this time will be different is not love. It is domestic violence. It is dangerous. It is wrong.