I wasn’t going to post about this – in an effort to respect Rihanna’s privacy – but I really can’t hold back, I’m sorry.
In the past week alone we’ve had Kanye West come to Chris Brown’ defense, articles written WORRYING about the future of his career… he even received two nominations for the Kids Choice Awards. It seems to me that the world has already moved on from the atrocities this man has committed; he hasn’t even gone to court to face up to his actions, yet the pubic jury seems to have deemed him innocent already – they even consider him worthy of being a ROLE MODEL to their children.
Meanwhile, next to nothing is being said about Rihanna… unless it relates to her attack, of course. People asking what she did to invoke it, if she could have avoided it, how she’s dealing with it, why she’s back with him… what I want to know is where are the people speaking out for Rihanna, the victim in this situation? Who’s wondering about her future, her career?
That last question infuriates me the most. So often in abusive situations people as why the victim chose to return, ignoring the question that should be asked: why is the abuser still being allowed to abuse? People return to abusive relationships for a plethora of reasons; sometimes they are afraid to leave, sometimes they feel as if the abuse was their fault and they could stop it if they were only better, sometimes they worry about the reactions of family and mutual friends if they leave (often, in an effort to not take sides, people end up alienating the victim by maintaining contact with the abuser), or they may truly love the abuser and really believe that the incident was just an accident.
Not to mention, if one understands the cycle of abuse, it is easy to see why a victim would go back. Most abusers are not abusing out of “uncontrollable rage” but rather, a calculated desire for power. Abusive relationships are not constantly physically and emotionally abusive; after the period of tension-building and the eventual explosion there comes reconciliation and calm… some call this the “honeymoon period.” This period of time serves very effectively to convince victims that their partner has reformed, they are loved, and the abuse is over… until it happens again. I have heard statistics that claim it takes an average of seven incidents before a victim can bring themselves to leave…
There are so many reason for a victim to return to an abusive relationship; name-calling and judging those who do return, as people like Donald Trump have done to Rihanna, is not productive (why is Donald weighing in on this at all?).
All this behavior does, especially when it is happening on such a public scale, is to re-victimize someone who has already had a great deal of personal power taken from them. What we ought to be focused on is educating people about preventing domestic violence and going after the abusers. If society was hard on those who committed domestic violence and rape, rather than the victims, then I truly believe we would see a lot less abuse. As it is abusers face little to no societal consequences for their actions… so really, whats to stop them?
How long will we allow society to continue re-victimizing rape and domestic abuse survivors?
I challenge you to take today to learn about the cycles of abuse, victim blaming, rape and domestic violence… and then use this recent, horrific incident to educate your friends and family – if/when you hear them talking about Rihanna make sure they are placing the blame where it belongs, help them understand what she might be going through… it is only through education that we can change the face of domestic violence and make it a thing of the past.
Some links to help you gather information:
Here’s another horrible example of victim-blaming, this one in Brazil, just in case you’re wondering if this is really as wide-spread as I am suggesting.