As I log onto my daily Twitter feed, I am horrified at what I see:
@brittanypaige_ “Call me crazy buttttttt I would let Chris Brown beat me up anyyyyday”
@sarahleighlove “I’d let Chris Brown beat me up anytime ;)”
@_MADDIEEXO “chris brown could beat me all he wants, he is flawless”
@steph_freddd32 “I don’t know why Rihanna complained. Chris Brown could beat me anytime he wanted to”
When has the act of domestic abuse not only become accepted, but also glorified by young women?
Chris Brown returned to the 84th Grammy Awards last Sunday for the first time in three years. Brown performed twice and shocked the nation as he brought home Best R&B Album. Numerous young women watched in awe and instantly tweeted their controversial thoughts on the performances and the sickening incident following the 81st Grammy Awards.
Flashback to 2009, fans and viewers everywhere were in disbelief as pictures of a severely beaten and bruised Rihanna were revealed to the world. Police reports stated Brown continuously punched Rihanna in the face and numerous other locations on her body. As she tried to defend herself by calling her assistant, Brown immediately placed her in a headlock and threatened to kill her. Brown had also attacked Rihanna on two previous occasions, both unreported.
During this years Grammy’s Brown lacked a public apology, yet was symbolically forgiven from the industry with a warm applause and standing ovation during his performances. However, no one could have anticipated the result of an appalling new trend on Twitter, as fans reported they would take a hit for Brown’s affection. One ‘tweet’ shockingly reported Rihanna should not have complained about the incident in the first place.
To add to this atrocity, rumors have been circulating claiming Rihanna has not only forgiven Brown, but also has contemplated giving their relationship another shot.
What has become of our society? And more importantly, who is to blame? Could it be the mothers of these females, who have not educated their children on a zero tolerance attitude towards domestic abuse? Could it be the entertainment business, glorifying perpetrators of abuse? Or could it be society as a whole, who have become immune to violence?
Perhaps a combination of these factors lead to an ongoing cycle of violence. According to Statistics Canada, one in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
I immediately questioned what preventative measures were present in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario. I decided to interview Leighann Burns, Executive Director of Harmony House, a local women’s shelter for victims of domestic abuse. Burns stated, “Victims are often severely beaten, causing psychological consequences including anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Lacking strength to stand up for themselves, victims often choose to stay with their partner”. This cycle of violence may explain why three instances of violence occurred before for Rihanna chose to report the abuse.
So where do we go from here? Burns believes in order to terminate domestic violence, stricter punishment must be enforced on perpetrators of violence. Burns argues, “A court system is needed that holds [abusers] accountable if charged with violence, including being mandated to a certified program which houses [the perpetrator] for at least four months”.
But what about prevention? Young females, primarily those involved in the Twitter fiasco, need a serious talk from their parents. Furthermore, schools have a responsibility to educate students on physical and psychological ramifications of domestic abuse. It must be instilled at a young age, violence within a relationship is inexcusable.
However, living in a technological era, new media will continue to play a role in the attitudes and values of youth. Popular media figures, such as Rihanna, construct personas, which countless youth strive to replicate. Rihanna’s decision to forgive and return to Brown sends an indirect message to fans indicating violence is permissible within a relationship.
Parents lack control over the content their children are exposed to through new media. However, they do have control over early education on the consequences of domestic abuse.
It must be instilled into youth everywhere: no matter how rich or good-looking your partner may be, violence is never acceptable.