Tag Archives: Rihanna

Chris Brown the Victim


Chris Brown

Photo courtesy of Law of Hollywood

By Sil Lai Abrams

Promos for Rihanna Fenty and Chris Brown’s upcoming interviews on ABC & MTV have been everywhere for the past week. One can’t visit a website without seeing a headline on Rihanna’s highly anticipated interview tonight on 20/20. After months of silence, it appears that America is going to finally hear exactly what happened between them that fateful night in February of this year from music’s golden children (or former children?). From the clips I have seen online, Ms. Fenty is doing a pretty remarkable job of speaking about such a difficult and private issue, an issue that women significantly older would have difficulty articulating. Yet here she is, all of 21 years old, courageously taking a stand on an issue that the American Medical Association has reported affects one in three women.Mr. Brown’s clip on the other hand, wasn’t so courageous. The young man that I saw in the interview with Sway from MTV said he was confused and didn’t understand why what happened that night between he and Rihanna happened. He said that his focus today was figuring out how to go from A to B, how to turn this horrible situation into a positive. His concerns are what’s expected of a person who has had their impeccable public persona tarnished by scandal.


The other day I had a conversation with a male friend about ChRihanna. He knew me years ago when I myself was in a violent relationship. He knows about my current work in the community and with organizations such as Safe Horizon that help to eliminate the myths around abuse and help victims of violence move towards healing and recovery. We discussed what we had heard about the incident between Rihanna & Chris. During our conversation I took the position that Chris needs to be held accountable for his actions and that no matter what Rihanna said or did, she did not deserve nor make Chris beat her. His response was “Well, he’s a kid…they’re both young and as they grow up they’ll more than likely move grow out of this behavior.”

My response to him was pointed. “Immaturity is not an excuse for violent behavior. If that were the case, everyone would be batterers at one point in their life.”

Contrary to popular misconception, abusive behavior is not a behavior that you grow out of. Domestic violence has its roots in a paradigm of thinking that is characterized by fear and control. As much as some would like to believe this to be true, batterers do not age out of their behaviors. Batterers typically just become more adept at hiding and or justifying their abusive behavior.

His next statement really brought into focus how misinformed many people are about domestic violence. “Well, he’s been a victim of violence himself. He witnessed abuse as a child. He’s a victim too.”

I paused and took three breaths before speaking.

“That may be a reason why he is who he is, but it doesn’t excuse his behavior.”

A “feel sorry for me” story about his childhood is simply a way to distract from the abuser’s current behavior and place the blame for his actions on another person. The problem isn’t the abuser’s childhood-it’s how he thinks. Everyone suffers…that is a fundamental truism of life. Everyone has been hurt and many have been abused. Yet not everyone reacts to frustration and anger by using their fists. I am pleased to say that by the end of our conversation, my friend had shifted his position on the issue and acknowledged that there was no excuse for what Chris did to Rihanna. I applaud him for his willingness to change his position based upon a logical argument, and not stand by his prior one simply because of ego or social conditioning.

I hope that Chris continues to seek the support and counseling needed to really reflect upon his abusive behavior and the impact that it has had not just on the woman he loved, but to all the young men and women who look up to him. Abusive men deserve compassion and forgiveness just like anyone else. But they must also be held accountable for their actions and not be given passes because of age or personal history. It is my hope that Chris continues to seek help and really take some time to reflect upon not just his actions in the car with Rihanna that night, but his relationship to women overall. Violence against women will not end until we as a collective stop rationalizing abusive behavior and adopt a zero tolerance attitude towards violence. Let’s call it what it is: a crime against women that annihilates the soul and destroys the family.


Sil Lai Abrams is the author of No More Drama: Nine Simple Steps to Transforming a Breakdown Into a Breakthrough and Men’s Fitness magazine’s relationship expert. She is a domestic violence awareness & prevention advocate who actively works with Safe Horizon to combat violence against women and children. You can learn more about Sil Lai and her work by visiting www.sepiaprocess.com. She was also recently featured on Good Morning America talking about domestic violence in response to the Chris Brown/Rihanna incident.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Chris Brown: Too Soon for Prime Time?

Chris BrownBy Kailei Richardson

On Grammy night, February 8, 2009 we learned about the horrific events the night before which left Rihanna looking like this. We were all shocked when we discovered that her wounds came from then boyfriend Chris Brown, talented performer and media darling. Throughout the subsequent months we learned the details of the alleged brutal abuse and Chris Brown ultimately received his sentence.

It has now been a little over eight months. Rihanna has been seen looking fabulous lately, traveling the world and filming her new videos. Chris Brown, though somewhat silent for a while, resurfaced with an apology video and just recently announced his “Fan Appreciation” comeback tour. I’m sorry, but when I hear radio personalities publicize his upcoming performances, see him happily hanging out with friends, or read that he’s recording new music, my stomach cringes. All I can see is the image of Rihanna’s battered face etched in my memory. Though some may argue that he received his sentence and is paying the price for what he did, I can’t help but wonder: how long is long enough to stay out of the “limelight” after something so serious?
What do you think?

1 Comment

Filed under Music

Chris Brown: How Do You Plea?

Photo by Lori Shepler-Pool/Getty Images

Photo by Lori Shepler-Pool/Getty Images

“Nearly one in every three adult women experiences at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood…[and] approximately four million American women experience a serious assault by an intimate partner during a 12-month period” according to research. Earlier this year, singer Rihanna became one of these tragic statistics at the hands of her then boyfriend, pop star Chris Brown. Earlier this week a judge sentenced Brown to six months of hard “community labor”, domestic violence counseling and five years of probation after he pled guilty to felony assault on ex-girlfriend Rihanna. Interestingly enough he was not given any actual jail time. As expected, the media and the blogosphere began buzzing with discussion about whether his celebrity got him off easy or if the punishment truly fit the crime. Do you have an opinion on the matter? If so, post your comments below.


NOTE: Domestic violence is not a hot topic. It is a serious and deadly issue in our communities. If you are or know someone who is in an abusive relationship visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline.


Filed under Uncategorized