I've been reading and hearing all the news surrounding the Rihanna/Chris Brown situation, and it just has to be said - HIS BEHAVIOR IS NOT OKAY. EVER. NO MATTER WHAT.
When I first heard, I was shocked and my heart went out to her. I was proud of her for standing up for herself, working with the police, and what appeared like separating herself from Chris and moving forward. But now all the news seems to speculate that they are back together. And while charges can and may be pressed without her, she's not necessarily the driving force behind them anymore. I am so saddened by this. However, I understand she is a confused, young girl who believes herself to be in love with the man of her dreams. And like most people who find themselves in abusive relationships, they are the last to realize it and the first to excuse the behavior. And so the cycle continues...
But here's what I am really f*cking pissed off about - the lack of outrage. While the media is covering it non-stop, no one is really coming out and saying "This is totally unacceptable." Sure, a few celebs came out and said "I can't believe this." or " His behavior was unacceptable." - but now it feels like everyone is changing their tune to "This is private. We should give them time and space." or "We have all made mistakes." Really, we've all made mistakes? A mistake is speeding, not beating down the woman you supposedly love. I know I am generalizing here, and I'm sure there are people and sites that are totally standing up and saying this isn't okay at all...but it just feels like there's just not enough collective discussion about domestic violence. And then you get the people who say, "Well, she hit him first." and, "Why was she checking his phone?" - as if these are things to lessen his reaction of violence. I don't care what she may have done that angered him, it is NOT normal or acceptable to react in such a manner. A real man would have walked away.
This is a chance to create a national discourse about abuse of all forms. We need to stand up and speak out against domestic violence to teach our young people that it's not okay. So many girls and boys look up to Rihanna and Chris Brown, and by treating this as a "private" matter we are saying to them that it's okay. As much as I understand that it is something that would be easier for them to handle if it wasn't in the public spotlight, it's also part of the package they signed up for when they became stars. They are role models, and whether they like it or not, people are watching them to see how they react. People will say "Well, Rihanna took Chris back...so it must be okay if you really love someone." This is not the message I want girls and boys to see. But sadly, it is the message they will receive...and a lot of them will not get any other message from their parents. They will see how this happened, how it was handled, and they will glean that this form of behavior is okay.
**EDIT: Since starting this post last week, Oprah did a wonderful show educating people on domestic violence. Sadly, not enough kids watch Oprah and not enough of the entertainment community is espousing the same message.