Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let's All Point & Laugh at Rihanna


I have to be honest...

Over the last couple of days I have been deeply disturbed...

On Sunday night we all learned that Chris Brown and Rihanna would be absent from the Grammy's due to an alleged episode of domestic violence.

As the days followed, those rumors have been confirmed, with details that described Rihanna's injuries as horrific.

So what followed? An outcry from the community against the devastation that domestic violence causes in all of our lives? A denunciation of Brown's heinous acts and calls to boycott his music? Or even... a small expression of concern for the health and safety of this young woman?

Not at all...

Instead what followed was shameful...

Yesterday I was struck by the many facebook status' of friends and acquaintances, most poking fun at the situation, some asking what Rihanna had "done wrong," and many men (jokingly?) ascribing to the belief that this type of behavior is not only normal... but acceptable...

Some went so far as to make a photoshop picture of what Rihanna "might look like" after the beating...

The radio had caller after caller all saying the same thing... "well... i love chris brown, so... i'm going to go buy his album anyway... its not that big of a deal"...

And I found myself paralyzed with nothing else on my mind but... WHAT THE HELL?!

When probed, most of the authors say that they are just "joking" and of course domestic violence is terrible or... "damn why you gotta take everything so seriously?"...

But I take it seriously... because... shockingly... a woman being beaten within near inches of her life is serious... a country that is so desensitized to violence against women of color that all we can think to do is laugh, is a life-threatening matter.

Black women are actually 3x's as likely to experience domestic violence than any other sub-group of women, they are also substantially less likely to report it.

And why should they report it? In a country where the criminal justice system is ill-equipped to do anything at all about domestic violence, and where police officers are hesitant to get involved in "domestic disputes," it can seem almost fruitless.

But even more significantly, even if the police and the court system do take a woman's complaint seriously... often times, a womans own community will not. Like reports that alledge the reason for the fight between Chris and Rihanna was because she gave him an STD... to frequently we blame the woman for the altercation and ask, "what did she do?"

We ignore rampant physical and sexual abuse of black women and girls in our homes and the homes of our neighbors and family members all for the same reason... at the end of the day... we believed she deserved it... or even worse... we believe that its "none of our business..."

But that's just it... it IS... our business... it is our business to create a climate where women young and old know that domestic violence is NOT their fault... where women and girls believe that they will not be ostracized, blamed or made fun of for speaking out against their abusers... where women can know that if they seek help they will RECEIVE it...

Each and every one of us has to take responsibility for the reality that today, most women of color do not feel comfortable, let alone safe, taking action against their abusers. It is the fault of every last one of us... it is our words and our actions that have created that reality... it is our refusal to fault the men who engage in this pervasive violence that has allowed this problem to take root in our community...

So today I urge you all to take responsibility for the impact you have in your neighborhood, school, business or "social network".... pick your words carefully and thoughtfully and pause next time before you make that "domestic violence joke."

peace.

(Picture Courtesy of Vivre Magazine.Com)

10 comments:

Academic Butterfly said...

*applauds* I couldn't have said it better.

WOW @ that picture... I'm so disturbed by people's reactions period.

DatGirl said...

Great post. My friends and I were discussing this today. The conversation against her have gotten out of hand. I am disgusted. I'm sharing this post.

troy said...

I was linked here by Danielle on Facebook. I think you are overreacting. Most guys dont beat women. Its not a "normal" thing. Cheating is normal(unfortunately), beating women up is not. Of course many men DO get hit or have things thrown at us by our women. That IS normal but we just dont do anything about it because nobody cares. Honestly most Black women are resistant and violent(when pressed). This is not a bad thing. I dont know a single one that would take any physical abuse and not stand up for themselves.

Anyway, we dont know any specifics about the situation so people joke until then. Chris Brown has to be considered one of the softer guys out there and he's still a child which makes the situation so unbelievable(and prompts more kidding around). Also people did inquire about Rihanna and the official realease from her people the morning of the incident was that she was well. That means the girl will be fine. Bruises on your face are not "Horrific" injuries. Chris Brown will get whats coming to him. This is America. You have to acutally use due process here. He turned himself in, was cooperative with police, then paid his bond. Now they are currently investigating. You cant ask for anything more at this stage hence there is no outrage.

And for what its worth, the law is set up WAAAY in favor of women in these types of situations. If a women even hints that a guy put his hands on her, he is on his way to jail even if its false. Ive had it happen to a good Christian Family man I personally knew just because his woman(WIFE) couldnt control her emotions(which happens much too often).

AMB said...

academic & dat girl... thanks

troy... wow! you just blew my mind! its clear that you have no conception of how domestic violence law actually works in the United States... the grand majority of domestic abuse cases never actually make it to trial... a man might spend a day in jail... at most. statistically... the grand majority of men who commit horrible acts of abuse NEVER so much as see the inside of police station... WHY?! because women have to have SUBSTANTIAL "proof" of the alledged assault... and more often than not, no one is willing to testify on their behalf...

and it is just that attitude, that "black women know better," that cause MANY black women (the #1 victims of domestic and sexual abuse in this country)... to NEVER report violence against them... because of the shame and the disbelief that people attribute to their stories...

The whole idea that because Chris Brown is "soft" and "young"is a falacy... one that often keeps us from seeing the abuse right in front of our eyes. Oftentimes, the men perpetuating these crimes are the ones we least suspect... and just because Rhianna is "just fine"... doesn't not negate the need for concern for her emotional and physical well-being! it is this callousness that time and time again reinforces the idea that the lives of black women have no value!

and as far as your arguement that "most black women" have "no control" over their emotions... well thats just to ignorant and unsubstantiated for it to be even worth the time to engage it...

but what i will say is... before you make these type of sweeping comments about the nature of domestic abuse... particularly the way that the "justice" system engages it... i would encourage you to do some scholastic research on the topic.

peace.
a.

Academic Butterfly said...

OMG... I just had this convo w/ my ex and why did he say alot of what Troy did. That the law favors women etc. I need yall to take a Women and the Law class and find out the real deal... especially when it comes to minority women.

AMB said...

- Approximately 40% of Black women report coercive contact of a sexual nature by age 18.

- The number one killer of African-American women ages 15 to 34 is homicide at the hands of a current or former intimate partner.

-In a study of African-American sexual assault survivors, only 17% reported the assault to police.

http://www.abanet.org/domviol/statistics.html#african_americans

troy said...

I never said that "most black women" have "no control" over their emotions. Im not sure how you can quote something that was never stated in my response? What I said was that too often do women respond off of emotions.

I dont disagree that domestic abuse is an issue that needs to be checked but this Rihanna situation is not one that is out of hand. I dont see anyone joking about Rihanna more than they are joking about Chris Brown. They both need help. Chris Brown mentioned his step father abusing his mom and witnessing that as a kid. As soon as I read that, I understood how this situation could have happened. Of course that doesnt okay anything that went down between them but honestly, they are both victims. My point here is nobody knows what happened yet. All we know is that Chris Brown did it and turned himself in, Rihianna is "okay", and the proper authorities are investigating and will be taking care of the situation. Should we send a lynch mobb after the boy before we know the Details?

Of course people will say they still support Chris Brown. We have a nasty habit of putting people that mean nothing on Pedestals in our society. But looking at it logically, do they have a real reason NOT to support Chris Brown yet? No, they dont. Even Wrigleys gum has only suspended their endoresemnt deal with him until the truth comes out. The Facts we do know are that this child himself is a victim of Domestic abuse. Should he not be given the same support that Rihanna is? We can not have true concern for anyones "physical and emotional well-being" when they are doing their best to hide what it really is and continue to say everyone is okay.

I think its easy for women to see this situation and think "oh my god, why is there not outrage?" immediately. I personally refuse to crucify someone before I even know the circumstances. Jokes are just those, jokes. Might they be in bad taste being made so early? Yes. However the truth is nobody knows just how innapropriate they are yet. I would wait until even a single confirmed detail is out before I allow myself to be moved negatively about how ignorant people react to the situation.

Lastly, I will not argue to be the most knowledgeable in the world about Domestic Abuse laws. I will however state that you can not prosecute someone without proof. If they do not have substantial proof, im not sure what you expect the law system to do about that? Seems to be a slippery slope to me. You can not put innocent people in Jail. Our system has never been perfect but in these situations where the court will not do anything, a woman(or man) needs to find the power or outside help to leave that person. You can not blame others for decisions you make or situations you allow yourself to remain in. Its also unfortunate that a woman would remain and continue to take abuse from someone. I never said black women dont deal with these situations, just that most black women are strong woman and can make it through these situations even if it takes the help off others(I think you will agree). Nowhere did I say we should ignore the situation.

Once again, I think the belief that there is some casualness towards Rihanna's well-being and disregard towards Chris Browns actions is unfounded and much too early in the investigation to be substantiated.

Za said...

luv U and luv this.

This needed to be said. Thank you

troy said...

I think that your statistics(even though I rarely trust statistics at all) show that we are obviously not raising our young black men AND women right. Im a very spiritual person(Christian) so I will to not go into that reasoning but I will say that its obvious Black american culture is laced with too many destructive habits and we value the wrong things in the partners we look for, the people we deal with, and what we value in life.

Miss Lady Soul said...

Fellas, read this article...

http://newblackman.blogspot.com/2009/02/kevin-powell-on-domestic-violence.html

Hope you enjoy!