Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On what Chris Brown did

Notice that I’m not saying “on what happened to Rihanna”. That’s how things are usually constructed when we talk about violence against women – “she got herself beat up”. By fairies apparently. Certainly not by an actual person who bears responsibility for what he did.

So I’m going to just say it. Rihanna didn’t just “get beaten up”, someone beat her up. We know who it was, because he turned himself in to the police. Stop it with all the shit about “we don’t know what happened”. Yes, we do in fact know what happened. Chris Brown beat up his girlfriend. Why he did it really doesn’t matter. I don’t care if she hit him first – if that’s what happened then sure, he had a right to defend himself. But looking at Rihanna’s face, that’s not a picture of what happens when someone is just defending themselves. That is not a proportionate response. That is what happens when someone decides to beat someone else up.

It doesn’t matter if she was jealous, or cheated on him, or gave him an STD. Those could all be reasons to dump someone, but none of them are reasons to beat someone up. Even if he did “just snap” in the middle of an argument, he had the option to walk away before things got that far. He chose not to. That means that yes, we do know what happened here, and there is someone to blame.

Every single friend of his and every single member of the media who’s insisting that we don’t really know what happened, that this is just unfortunate for both of them, should be ashamed of themselves. We know what happened here. A man beat up a woman. It doesn’t matter why, the fact remains that he didn’t have to do it, but he did. That’s a choice that he should have to live with for the rest of his life. Can we please, as a society, try to make sure that he does have to live with his choice instead of trying to make excuses for him?


Arwen said...

Yeah, it is SO WEIRD. You wouldn't do it for theft or arson - "We don't really know what happened before he stole her car/burned her house down."


UneFemmePlusCourageuse said...

Well said, Cassandra.

I'll admit, I have a temper. I have 'snapped' at people--but my 'snaps' come out as harsh, sometimes overly-critical words, not fists.

I think men are sometimes socialized to think that violence is an acceptable form of behavior when they're angry, when it reality, it should never be.

azusmom said...

Why is it we tell people to count to 10, go for a brisk walk, etc. when they get into a heated argument with a friend, or feel angry with their boss, but when it comes to beating on their significant other, we give them a pass? We tell women who are battered and bruised that they must have "done something" to deserve it, and we laugh at men who have been beaten up, calling them "wusses."
It's just disgusting.

Octogalore said...

Yup. The "we don't know" is an excuse not to say what you just did.

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that "Every woman with a man is sharing space with an unpredictable wild animal".

I'm a man but I have never struck a woman and (reserving the right of defense) never shall. That's just me, though — for the others it's a deep subject.
We need level the field, somehow. Any realistic uggestions?

FoolishOwl said...

I read an article somewhere (sorry, but I don't have the link) that claimed that surveys of teenaged women found that a little more than half blamed Rihanna, a little less than half blamed them both jointly, and almost none blamed just Chris Brown.

I remember a lot of discussions about how many women "blame the victim" as a psychological defense. That is, they can't bear the thought that could be helpless in the face of attack, so they prefer to blame the victim for having somehow caused the event.

I've gone back to school, and I've been struck by the demographic changes from what I remember in the 90s, particularly with regard to gender issues. On the one hand, I see a much higher proportion of women, and of women actively participating in courses. On the other hand, more than once I've heard an instructor make a critical point about sexism, only to find that the students, especially women, laugh aloud, leaving the instructor nonplussed. It may be in part that I'm in a working class community college instead of an upper middle class four-year college, but I think that some things have shifted.

Anonymous said...

Howdy, I think your website may be having browser compatibility problems. When I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, excellent website!