Thursday, February 23, 2012
So, do we "forgive" Chris Brown now?
Chris Brown. Rihanna. The Grammys. Unless you live under a rock, you are likely aware of the brouhaha over his performance a couple of weeks ago.
I was outraged when I initially heard of his assault on Rihanna. I was disgusted when I heard he was being courted as The Grammy darling this year (and don't even get me STARTED on The Grammy committee's assertion that they were somehow a victim in all of this). I was shocked seeing the pictures of the damage he inflicted on Rihanna's face again. I was sickened and horrified when I read the police report three years after the fact. I was furious when I read his "fuck my haters" tweets. I was one of those people tweeting and retweeting links when people would ask why everyone was so up in arms over the whole thing.
Then my friend, Lauren (@unxpctdblessing), posed questions that made me stop and think: he's completed his punishment and apologized to Rihanna - at what point do we let it go? Is he a woman beater for the rest of his life?
My gut reaction was that we don't let it go. We never let it go. He is a woman beater for the rest of his life, period. Serving his time or not, apologizing or not, fact of the matter is that he completely lost control of himself, and his reaction to that situation was to lash out with his fists - his teeth - and beat her to a pulp, threatening to kill her.
I'm also aware of the allegations that Rihanna was verbally abusive. However, weren't we all taught as children that hitting is NEVER the answer? That two wrongs don't make a right? I can't wrap my brain around going from being pissed off over a tongue lashing to beating someone to within an inch of her life.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm a touch biased when it comes to physical abuse, what with my mom's history with her mother. Add to that the time Dad completely lost his shit and literally beat - repeated open-handed smacking until her entire hip was purple - Taylor when she was 7 years old, and this is a touchy subject for me.
However, with stories of Chris and Rihanna not just recording together, but getting back together as a couple leaves me at a loss. I've been around long enough to know that sometimes there is a... well, sick connection for lack of a better phrase, between an abused woman and her abuser. But how am I supposed to remain outraged over his behaviour and the fact that so many people are willing to overlook it when Rihanna seems perfectly fine taking the chance of being a human punching bag again? (Don't get me wrong: girlfriend CERTAINLY seems like she could hold her own if she weren't surprised with an attack while seat belted into the confines of a car, but still.)
I still feel very strongly that he shouldn't be absolved of his crimes because they're "in the past." Hell, people are still outraged over Michael Vick and his dog fighting ring. Those were animals. I don't for a SECOND feel that is okay either, for the record. However, we're talking a human being. I just... there's a really big disconnect for me when I try to reconcile people's outrage over a dog fighting ring with people who are willing to shrug off the fact that this man who was INTENT on killing this woman in the heat of the moment. At the same time, I can't help but wonder if I'm making a mountain out of a molehill by holding on to something that doesn't even seem to be an issue to the victim any longer - it makes me feel almost like a patsy.
Do we let it go because Rihanna appears to have let it go? Do we continue to be outraged over the atrocious violation against her, even when she can't/won't/isn't interested in being outraged? Do we forgive him his sins because he completed his "time"?
I just don't know.