- Battering on women is the most under reported crime in America.
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States; more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
- Three to four million women in the United States are beaten in their homes each year by their husbands, ex-husbands, or male lovers.
- One woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States.
- About 1 out of 4 women are likely to be abused by a partner in her lifetime.
- Approximately 95% of the victims of domestic violence are women.
- Police report that between 40% and 60% of the calls they receive, especially on the night shift, are domestic violence disputes.
- Battering occurs among people of all races, ages, socio-economic classes, religious affiliations, occupations, and educational backgrounds.
- Domestic violence is not only physical and sexual violence but also psychological.
- A battering incident is rarely an isolated event.
- Battering tends to increase and become more violent over time.
- Many batterers learned violent behavior growing up in an abusive family.
After watching Rihanna discuss Chris Brown on ABC for the last two days I felt compelled to comment because the issue of domestic violence is important and deserves discussion. Most times when a major issue is in the news, I take to my laptop and the words just flow freely and quickly and it is like a bomb explodes in me and everything inside of me must come out.
I must confess that this time it was different. I honestly found myself trying to walk a "fine line" around the issue; so as to see "both sides." Huh? What the hell was I thinking searching for words that would comfort that which is uncomfortable, explain the unexplainable and defend the indefensible. I'm still figuring out why...even as I type...
This should be easy for me...the ex-prosecutor. For these are the facts:
Then it hit me...even knowing what I know to be fact on the issue of Domestic Violence, I was trying to find a way to justify not put Chris Brown "on blast" for his behavior. I was looking for an excuse for him "going off" in such a violent way. I was searching for a way to justify his behavior because of his youth, immaturity, background, fame and temper or her youth, immaturity, background, fame and temper. I was also annoyed that this young couple had become the poster children for domestic violence when it happens every day to many more people who are not famous and who don't get the attention. I was pissed that other people seem to get a "pass" for bad behavior. I was disheartened that "sisters" were so critical of Rihanna and questioned her motives. I was having trouble formulating my comments; because I was focused on the big picture of this issue.
And then my nephew Tyson flashed in my head.
About two years ago, Chris Brown was on tour and my then seven-year-old nephew Tyson desperately wanted to see him in concert. When I tell you this kid loved him some Chris Brown...I don't exaggerate. He danced like him, sang all his songs, had him on his IPOD...the whole nine yards. Tyson doesn't ask me for a lot...so when "Auntie Star" gets a specific request...I jump through hoops to get it done. So I pulled some strings and got some VIP passes for Tyson and the little girl from his class he adored "Cierra" (who he described as having eyes like "snowflakes"...yeah, I know...the kid is deep) and off they went (chaperoned by my sister and brother-in-law) for a night on the town in Richmond Virginia. They had a great time and Chris didn't disappoint. Tyson clearly because a junior stud in the eyes of Cierra...and "Auntie Star" was again "Fairy Godmother."
Fast forward about a year later to February 2009 Tyson now eight years old and all over the news is Chris Brown. This time not for a cool new concert, but for beating up his then girlfriend Rihanna. Now, as much Tyson loved Chris Brown the performer, he could take Rihanna or leave her; but this wasn't about Chris' music today. My Dad said Tyson purposefully sat with him and watched the news, Entertainment Tonight, etc. about the "incident." He saw Rihanna's badly bruised face, he heard the 911 tape and then he very deliberately asked for a trash bag. Eight year old Tyson got up from the sofa, gathered every CD, tee shirt and poster of Chris Brown he had and put it in the bag and gave it to his grandfather. He said "here, I don't want it anymore." My Dad (I adore this man so much...) then told Tyson he might want to wait to hear all sides of the story before jumping to conclusions. And according to my father, Tyson asked one question: "Did he hit her?" Dad said, "it looks that way." Tyson then brought it all home with one phrase: "Pop Pop, boys don't hit girls."
Tyson didn't need a law degree, facts and figures, a 20/20 interview or a Larry King confession. He knew a universal truth that he learned at an early age that gave him all the information he needed. "Boys don't hit girls." Period.
There is no question that Rihanna was brutally beaten by Chris Brown. I'm not sure if she initiated, instigated, ignited or provoked the situation that lead to the altercation...and I really don't care. Bottom line is Chris Brown repeatedly hit Rihanna in the face so hard that it left her bloodied, bruised and beaten...and that is unacceptable on any level. Any man who would do so deserves to be prosecuted and punished and any woman who is the victim of it needs to run...not walk as fast as she can away from the situation because that relationship is toxic and dangerous.
There, I said it. Thank you Tyson...
I wish no ill will towards Chris Brown, I'm proud that he took responsibility for his actions and took his punishment like a man. I hope he gets the help he needs to control his anger, deal with the history of violence in his family and grows into the man he knows he can be. Chris Brown deserves the chance to change, to grow and to prove himself to be worth of the adulation of his fans. Those are my hopes for Chris...but my prayers are with Rihanna that she finds the strength and the courage to love herself enough not to ever accept that a volatile and violent relationship is love.
Love is kind, love is passionate, love is pleasurable...there is no hitting in love.
Posted by Star Jones Esq at 8:22 AM