Domestic violence happens every day, but the music community and the public at-large are shocked by the altercation between dating chart-toppers Chris Brown and Rihanna. With Brown and Rihanna being so young, it is very important to focus on how these things can happen. For a 19-year-old boy to be beating up his girlfriend shows that there are serious aggression issues that need to be dealt with before he becomes a grown man and his inclinations truly get out of control.
Kudos to Rihanna for coming forward, when many other women stay silent. Especially considering how much media attention is given to the young singer, not only was this a more difficult decision for her to make, but it will have a bigger impact on other young women who may inadvertently find themselves in the same situation.
Troublingly, I have been hearing somewhat jokingly, “What did she do to set him off?” There are rumor mills on the radio and internet perpetuating the story that Rihanna gave him herpes or was caught cheating and this made Brown mad enough to hit her. I don’t care if she was caught in a threesome with his brother and his best friend- there is never a good reason for a man to hit a woman. Period. None. Ever.
How then, in this day-and-age where my generation grew up with Lifetime movies and ABC Movies-of-the-Week featuring the victims of domestic violence, can anyone say with even a trace of seriousness, “And what did she do?” I grew up with the mindset of the poor- my mother grew up poor and passed on her “culture of poverty” mindset that I have fought to shake off all these years- and when I hear people say that, it is like a twisted echo from my past. Are the poor continuing to think this way today?
Brown has finally released a statement saying he is “troubled and saddened” and that he is in the counsel of family and his pastor. This is a good step forward, but does not sound like an admission of guilt or any admission of having a problem with beating up women. It is a vague statement artfully crafted by a PR person with the guidance of a lawyer. I for one would like to see Brown signed up for anger management classes or under the care of a psychologist for his aggression issues. I would like to know if there were alcohol or drugs involved, which may indicate that Brown may have a substance abuse problem.