Rihanna, Chris Brown story a sad one playing out on a national stage
Have you been following the Rihanna–Chris Brown saga? It's a sad story, and one that's been the focus of cover stories from Rolling Stone magazine to the front of the Life section in USA Today.
For those of you who haven't seen it, here's the short version. She's a pop singer, he's an R&B singer. The two were a couple in 2009 when he beat her up in the front seat of a vehicle, leaving her face bruised, swollen and bloody. The pictures were shocking.
At the time, the couple broke up, and Brown was sentenced to five years' probation and 1,400 hours of community service.
Fast-forward to today. The two are back together, and Brown is back in court under allegations that he falsified his community service.
There's a bit of an uproar and a state of disbelief that Rihanna would allow herself back with Brown after the abuse.
However, it's a common theme in relationships with domestic violence – a couple is together, everything is fine, and then there's an “incident.” The victim leaves, the abuser woos her back, and the cycle begins anew.
It's impossible to know what goes on behind the scenes with Rihanna and Brown. She has been very public in her defense of Brown, noting in Rolling Stone that “He's not the monster everybody thinks. He's a good person. He has a fantastic heart.”
And, as part of his punishment for the attack on Rihanna, Brown was required to go through domestic violence counseling.
But his pattern of anger has continued elsewhere. He was in the news about a month ago for punching another singer at a recording studio. And, according to the Associated Press, after a “Good Morning America” interview in 2011, he allegedly threw a chair and smashed items in his dressing room after a co-host asked him about the attack on Rihanna.
Many have asked, “Why is she back with him?” It's easy to be judgmental, but let's look at some domestic violence statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
• One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
• An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
• Domestic violence is one of the most chronically underreported crimes.
• Domestic violence crosses all social and economic boundaries.
In many cases, violence is a familiar pattern for both the man and the woman – which is the case for both Rihanna and Brown. According to the article in USA Today, both grew up in homes with abusive fathers.
What will become of these two? It's unknown, but it's unfortunate that their scenario has to play out on a public stage. It's so easy to judge, but there are so many factors at play that it's impossible to clearly understand their experiences or decisions. One can only hope that they both get the help that they each need to lead healthy, safe lives.