What happened between pop superstars Rihanna and Chris Brown in February is a horrible ordeal. Regardless of the goings-on of that night, violence is never the answer and nothing can be said to change my mind.
Having spent some time working for the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV), I have worked around situations like this. They never get easier. As the trial awaits, and more gory details surface, you’d think that it would be Brown’s PR folks pulling overtime. Well that necessarily isn’t the case. Because Brown was always portrayed as a “clean-cut” and “wholesome” character, and the incessant reports that the duo is back together, I can unfortunately say that I wasn’t totally surprised when I read this article in the Boston Herald, stating that surveys showed that 46% of kids, aged 12-19 polled, believed that Rihanna was at fault for the attack. Seriously. There is just too much wrong with that report for me to try to tackle.
I also read today that Covergirl, for whom Rihanna is a spokes model, has launched a hush-hush survey to poll its target demographic to decide whether they should can her as a face of their campaign. Apparently her lack of disassociation with Brown after the event is scarring her public appeal. We don’t want to send the wrong message to our children by putting her face out there when she doesn’t have the strength to leave. Are people serious?
I understand that companies stand to lose a lot of money for picking the wrong spokespeople. Look at Michael Phelps. But dropping Rihanna could bring a lot more backlash than some might understand. Unfortunately this situation has created a perfect opportunity to take a stand against domestic violence. Most teenagers know this couple; they can be the perfect example to start these difficult talks with our children. If companies decide to drop this woman due to her inability to leave her abusive relationship, they can be thought of as saying that they condone it. And that isn’t going to fly.
Going back to my days at RICADV, I gained some valuable insight to this situation. Leaving an abusive relationship is incredibly hard on the abused person. Violence usually isn’t the first sign of abuse. Most times it starts with verbal abuse, and then escalates. But by the time the violence starts, the abused is usually so mentally broken down they start to believe the abuse was their fault.
Instead of dropping her, get active. Do something to help the fight against domestic violence. Don’t turn your back like nothing happened. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Posted by: Lauren