Thursday, February 23, 2012

So, do we "forgive" Chris Brown now?

I'm a survivor.

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. Pin It


  1. Whether or not Rhianna forgives him is, ultimately, up to her. Although she certainly wouldn't be the first DV victim to give her abuser a second (third, fourth and so on) chance.

    But that doesn't mean that *I* have to be okay with what he did. And. frankly, I'm still angry with him and angry with society's dismissal of what he did. I'm sure you've seen the screen shots of all the "Chris Brown can beat me anytime!" tweets/status updates? Yeah. I'm annoyed with a society that sees that as an acceptable, or even hilarious, response to an abuser. 
    Maybe I'd feel different if Chris Brown had said or done things that indicated actual remorse, and not just, "My publicist/recording company is making me apologize now." But I don't think we've seen real remorse from him, to be honest.

  2. I don't think we are Obligated in any way to forgive him or move on. I know I haven't. There is never an excuse good enough for behavior like that.

  3. I believe that there is a huge difference between 'forgive' and 'forget' when talking about abuse. I do think it is possible, and often cathartic to forgive someone who has harmed you. But we should NEVER forget, but remain cautious and protective of ourselves. As far as Chris Brown is concerned. I think it's still to early to think about the public forgiving him, especially since, in my opinion, he's not done anything to deserve it.

  4. I do not forgive him for a number of reasons. First I was abused by my boyfriend in high school, physically, emotionally and sexually. As a survivor I find it sad that Rhianna is teaching her fans the lesson that it's okay to be abused by someone. Whether she personally forgives him, is up to her, but because she's in the position of being a role model to millions of young women and girls, she needs to stand up and tell Chris Brown and her fans that she thinks more of herself than that. 

    She needs some counseling it seems so that she can get some perspective because there can be that strange attachment to your abuser. I had considered getting back together with my abuser at one point and now I can't imagine why. He ended up committing suicide a few years after our relationship ended. His grandmother blamed me for breaking his heart so there was a whole other level of guilt for me. Rhianna is probably feeling guilt for several reasons, but she should realize that what happened to her isn't her fault, but it is her responsibility to say, "NO! I'm not going to take this and I'm going to shout it to the world that I deserve more!" It seems like she hasn't truly dealt with what happened to her and until she does nothing will change. As for Chris Brown in the public eye? I'm pretty shocked that many people seemed to have forgotten how brutally he beat her. It's not okay for us to support someone who also seems to have not dealt with his issues. If I thought that he (or Michael Vick for that matter) had honestly done the work and gotten to the core of their problems, then maybe I would feel differently, but I don't see it that way at all. I still see the anger whether it's Chris Brown throwing a chair out of the window at Good Morning America or whatever the case may be. It just doesn't seem like they've truly put in the time on the counseling couch, so to speak.Sorry to ramble on and on! Haha! I just feel very strongly about this issue.

  5. I don't disagree with you, yet I feel a need to play "devil's advocate" here because I am grateful that people are willing to forgive my past transgressions. If people hadn't been willing to overlook my past wrongs, I would not have the wonderful people in my life that I call my friends. As a survivor of domestic abuse, I can say that I have forgiven my abusers. I have not forgotten, and I certainly have not reunited with them. I try to look at Rihanna and Chris Brown as sick individuals who both need help, and pray they both get it. Beyond that, I try not to let them live rent free in my head, because I got enough shit of my own to try and deal with.

    That said, fuck Chris Brown. He's a piece of shit that beat his girlfriend. He hasn't admitted he has a problem and he hasn't asked for help. I got no use for fuckers like that.

  6. Wow...interesting post. As someone who grew up in a household with physical, mental, and emotional abuse, I too, shake my head at stuff like this. And although I haven't quite been living under a rock, I am not super familiar with this story. But then, I tend not to be familiar with many celeb stories because I don't watch television. I used to spend a lot more time being outraged by things and then I realized that I didn't like it...I don't like feeling outraged especially over things I can't control or influence. I also decided that I didn't want to lend my voice to the promotion of people like the guy you mention because for them, any attention is good attention, even if it's outraged attention. And so I ask myself, what can I control? What can I influence? How can I lend my voice in a positive way? Where is my energy best spent?

  7. I'm with Cindy.  Fuck Chris Brown.  Fuck whoever puts on the Grammy's.  And kinda, sorta fuck Rhianna too.  I know the cycle of abuse and I understand the concept of forgiving the abuser, but it's really hard to sit by and watch.  

    I think we forgive and let it go(but not forget) when the person actively makes a change.  People can, and do, change all the time.  I've seen it myself.  I've done it myself.  But the mere passing of time doesn't bring forgiveness or redemption.  Change, growth and making amends do.  

    And even if Rhianna does forgive and forget, I feel like it's our responsibility as a public to hold these people(performers, athletes, politicians) to the same standard we would for any Joe Schmo on the street.  That the Grammy's would honor Chris Brown by allowing him to perform on the three year anniversary of the beat down was reprehensible.  That the Academy would reward Roman Polanski for his work and continue to laud his work despite his sexual abuse of a 13 year old and fleeing the country to escape punishment is also reprehensible.  Talent doesn't equal a morality pass.

  8. I didn't listen to CB's music before, and I don't plan to start now. I think he is classless and remorseless. And for all her outward arrogance, if Rhianna wants to forgive him and settle for a man who will beat her, that's her decision. I think he behaves like a spoiled, entitled child and, while I don't know him, and have not desire to, I think he is scum.

    As far as forgiving him? Meh. He didn't beat me. But forgetting? No.

  9. Seriously??  They got back together?  Gag. Way to be a strong, independent woman.  Blah!

    I nominated you on my blog!

  10. I think I'm more upset by society's reaction to the whole situation, and the Grammy organizers especially, than I am by Chris Brown or Rihanna themselves. I don't know their personal story and while I am bothered by them dating or whatever again, for all I know they've been in counseling and have gotten lots of help. Probably not, but I don't know for sure. So I can let it go, sort of. However, all those tweets from women who said that Brown could beat them?  The Grammy douche feeling like a victim and not maybe ignoring Chris Brown for a few more years? So freaking disturbing. 

  11.  "But that doesn't mean that *I* have to be okay with what he did. And.
    frankly, I'm still angry with him and angry with society's dismissal of
    what he did."

    Yes, yes, YES! Thank you! And no: zero remorse from him at all - I'm not entirely convinced he even knows the definition of the word.

  12. "I think it's still to early to think about the public forgiving him,
    especially since, in my opinion, he's not done anything to deserve it."

    Agreed. *nods*

  13. "As a survivor I find it sad that Rhianna is teaching her fans the lesson that it's okay to be abused by someone."

    YES. That's part of what chaps my ass, I think: she very much is a role model. I know there are people who would defend a celebrity's right to a private life, but honestly? You kind of give that up with you become a celebrity (kinda the definition of the word) - that means everything you do and say is on display for the whole world and you should act accordingly, IM(not so)HO.

  14. I nodded the whole way through your comment because you're right: some people most definitely deserve a second chance and forgiveness. As well, you're right about the difference between forgiveness and forgetting (which is something you know I've struggled with in regards to my grandmother).  And I also agree with the "fuck Chris Brown" sentiment. ;)


  15.  I love you for always making me think, lady. <3

  16. "But the mere passing of time doesn't bring forgiveness or redemption.  Change, growth and making amends do.  "

      Yes, this, exactly. *nods*

  17. I didn't and don't either. He's a TOTAL brat.

  18. YES! I think that definitely has something to do with my disgust with the whole situation - society's priorities are screwed up, yo.


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