I will never forget the first time in February 2009 that I saw the disturbing images of Rihanna’s face. Battered and bruised as a result of the altercation that quickly escalated between her and the man she loved, she was unrecognizable. Even though I understood the extent of Chris Brown’s wrongdoing, I was devastated for both of them. As an angst-filled 15-year-old, I selfishly suffered in knowing that my borderline obsession for Brown would have to be toned down a notch, starting with taking all eight (yes, eight) posters of him off my bedroom walls.
Fast forward to six years later, and people are still talking about it. Rihanna, who is featured on the cover of the November issue of Vanity Fair that hits the stands today, still has to answer questions and set the record straight for what exactly happened right after the Clive Davis’ Grammy after-party.
Rihanna, a.k.a. Robyn Fenty, 27, is wildly successful. She has 13 number one songs, is a fashion icon, and has a number of endorsements ranging from collaborations with MAC Cosmetics to being the face of Puma. So the age old question is, why would someone that has everything in the world going for her choose to return to a life of physical and mental abuse? Her answer in the VF interview: she thought she could change him.
The “Umbrella” singer has stated in many interviews in the past that she has moved on from the traumatic event, she will always be associated with this major social issue. She even admitted during her interview with Diane Sawyer that her “…selfish desire for love could result in some young girl getting killed.”
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and although Fenty does not like all of the connotations of being the victim in such a horrific crime, she gets people talking. In her interview with Vanity Fair, she explains how she thought she was strong enough to deal with Brown’s insecurities and that he was misunderstood. These are the excuses women, and men, too, in abusive relationships make for their significant others when, in reality, they are only making excuses for themselves not to walk away.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence states 10 million Americans are victims of physical violence annually and that domestic violence accounts for 15% of all violent crimes in the US. Furthermore, it states that 1/3 female murder victims and 1/20 male murder victims are murdered by their partner. It is important to note, though, that domestic violence goes far beyond physical abuse. If you feel as though your partner stalks you or is too obsessive over you, that is abuse. If your partner is forcing you into sexual activity, or simply ignoring the lack of consent, that is abuse. If your partner is critical or humiliates you if you question them over one of the issues previously listed, that is also abuse. The number one rule while in an abusive relationship: don’t let the abuser be the victim.
Rihanna is highly commended for staying strong in her permanent decision to not return to Chris Brown. She is an example to all that even though that with all of her tremendous fame and fortune, all of her contacts, and all of the people supporting her, no one could have made that decision for her. Women and men alike have to find the power and ability in themselves. It is crucial for them to know, regardless of how beaten down or meaningless they feel, they are absolutely worth the love from another human being, but more importantly, they are worth the love from themselves.
If you or someone you know is struggling to come out of an abusive relationship, please visit http://nnedv.org/getinvolved/dvam.html.