Thursday, March 5, 2009

Spotlight on "Domestic" Violence

I'm going to say something that might be considered sexist and unenlightened. But so be it. It is unforgivable for a man to hit a woman. Period. I absolutely hate the phrase "domestic violence" because it is not only oxymoronic but it diminishes the nature of violence by men against their partners by putting in a separate arena. "It's not assault and battery, it's not a matter of public concern, it's a private matter" this phrase seems to suggest. But physical violence is a serious crime and only amplified when it comes at the hand of the person who is supposed to care about you.

Of course, this discussion is brought on by the arraignment today of Chris Brown for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend Rihanna. According to a police affidavit filed in this case, Brown and Rihanna got into a fight after Rhianna read a text message from another woman on Brown's cell phone as the two were driving in his car.

Brown is alleged to have "pushed Rihanna's head against the window, punched her with his right hand, and then continued driving while hitting her," according to the affidavit. He is further alleged to have bit her on her ear and on two fingers, tried to choke her, and threatened to kill her. The seriousness of the attack is evident in the photograph released by TMZ.

If these allegations are true, then Chris Brown, at the ripe old age of 19, should be through. No record deals, no movies, no sponsors, no commercials, nothing. There must be ramifications for his actions. There must be a message that we as a society will not accept violence against women.

Earlier in the week singer Usher seemed to take the right tone, criticizing Brown for tooling around on jet skis and not demonstrating remorse. He then backtracked, apologizing for his comments, saying, " I apologize on behalf of myself and my friends if anyone was offended. The intentions were not to pass judgment and we meant no harm. I respect and wish the best for all parties involved."

Are we really at the point where we cannot pass judgment on a crime of violence? I would like to think one of the few things we can all agree on is that you shouldn't hit a woman. But if that's not PC enough, then let's all agree that it is wrong to hit our partners. We can pass judgment in a domestic violence case and say the hitter is in the wrong, the victim, not.

And Usher went on to "wish the best for all the parties involved?" I don't wish the best for an abuser. I wish that Chris Brown, if he did hit Rihanna, will serve time in jail to punish him for his actions as well as to deter him and others from such violence in the future. I also wish that he would get therapy so that he never resorts to violence again. But "the best?" No, I don't wish him the best.

If Chris Brown did hit Rihanna, I sincerely hope that she does not take him back. That would be a terrible message not only to her young, female fans who may find themselves in similar situations in the future, but also to men that it's okay to hit a woman. And that's scary.

For more information on Domestic Violence and what you can do help prevent it, go to

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