Tag Archives: domestic violence

Open Thread: Chris Brown, Rihanna, and Domestic Violence Part II

by Latoya Peterson

This morning, I was invited on The Takeaway to discuss Chris Brown. You can listen to the show here. Below is a quick summary:

Singer Chris Brown plead guilty yesterday to felony assault charges. Prosecutors say he badly beat his ex-girlfriend (pop star Rihanna Fenty) in February. Today on The Takeaway we are exploring the intersection between youth, abuse, race and culture with Elizabeth Mendez Berry, a freelance journalist who wrote an acclaimed article in Vibe magazine, Love Hurts, on partner abuse in the world of Hip-Hop. Also joining the conversation is Latoya Peterson, editor of the blog Racialicious.

Talking with Elizabeth about this in the studio and then later when we both were home made me realize I wanted to write a little more about this. It feels…unfinished almost, as if we never got around to the real discussion. Some half formed thoughts floating around my head:

* The desire for some blogs and many in the black community to immediately defend Chris Brown can be described as what? Racial solidarity? Internalized misogyny? A desire to be fair? Is there a way to be fair when one person is on the receiving end of the damage? Was the resolve around CB strengthened when he was universally damned by blogs like TMZ and Perez Hilton?

* I really want to talk about the “She’s Caribbean” thing more in depth. The stereotypes that surfaced, and how quickly they were embraced.

* Elizabeth mentioned something fascinating I hadn’t realized – Rihanna hasn’t done anything in this process. She was not the one who gave her name (that was leaked), she was not the one who leaked the photo, she did not place a restraining order, she did not press charges, and she had to be subpoenaed to appear. Does this change the perception around the situation?

*We were asked on the show if justice was served. I still don’t know how to answer that.

**Trigger Warning* The affidavit was also leaked, but it appears few bothered to read it, judging from the fact that many people Elizabeth spoke to still seem to think that Rihanna and Chris Brown were fighting each other, or that Rihanna hit him first. The affidavit explains all the strange markings.

*Oprah was brought up on the show and Elizabeth and I talked more about it afterward. We think Oprah is wrong for trying to push for an immediate realization/confession. It’s all a part of the cycle of fame – everyone wants the redemption story, everyone likes a winner. But Elizabeth thinks Rihanna has been bullied for a lot of this process, and I am inclined to agree.

Not sure what I will write yet. Readers, your thoughts?

Bruises: A Litany

by Guest Contributor Fiqah, originally published at Possum Stew

*Trigger Warning*

I don’t know how to tell you this. There’s so much I can’t say.

I didn’t want to write this ever. I wanted to forget today even happened at all. I wanted to continue on with my shit today and ignore the incident guiding my fingertips in a furious, staccato blur across my keyboard right now. I wanted, for just one day (please God please God please please ANY listening God) to Live My Life. Without bullshitting myself with this little daily meditation for guarding the hope that lives in my heart.

But some days, dear reader, I’m weak. And I. Just. Can’t. I’m not Atlas. I’m just Fiqah. My shoulders are really about to give out.

I don’t know how to tell you this. There’s so much I can’t say.

Maybe I should just tell you what happened.

This afternoon, I decided to do a few loads of laundry. After throwing a few lighter necessities into my laundry bag, I headed to my elevator bank, stopping for a moment to be grateful that I live in a building with three elevators. (This is something anybody who has ever lived in a New York City walk-up does after they move into a building with an elevator, by the way, especially when doing errands.) I pressed the call button and waited for the middle elevator to descend from the floors above. When the doors opened, I was pleasantly startled to see one of my neighbors standing there.

“Oh! Hello, how are you?” I chirped, a smile of greeting on my face.

My neighbor, a stunning older Latina woman with pale golden skin, high cheekbones and a riot of sandy curls, nodded curtly to me. I was taken aback: typically, my neighbor greets me with her own dazzling smile in return, warmly, with sustained eye contact. She’s usually TOO nice with her hello, in the overly-solicitous manner that lighter-skinned women of color greet darker-skinned ones, in that way that says, “Please don’t hate me on sight. I’m not a stuck-up bitch. I’m not looking down on you. I’m your sister, too.” (I think this is part of why I like her; having been on the giving and receiving end of this dynamic at different points in my life, I understand. It’s hard to explain to anyone who isn’t a Black woman.) Slightly put-out, I settled slightly behind her into the opposite corner of the elevator, wondering what had crawled up HER butt and died.

That’s when I saw it. Continue reading

Rihanna, Sasha and Malia

by Guest Contributor M.Dot, originally published at Model Minority

A couple of weeks ago, 50 Cent conceded that Rihanna getting beat by Chris Brown wasn’t real to him. James Montgomery of MTV News writes,

“After I saw the photograph, that wasn’t funny anymore,” 50 said. “I didn’t have any information on it. You’re just going on what the public actually had. It shifts the whole thing. Even if you’re saying you’re in a dysfunctional relationship, I understand that. There’s a point when you’re already past a woman fighting you back. You look at [the picture], and it’s obviously past that point. There’s some issues there that definitely gotta be addressed. Not to take any shots at Chris or Rihanna or take sides in any way, [but] it’s really not cool. It’s not funny anymore, so there will definitely be no more reference to that from me in any way.”

Why is a picture needed in order to convey the seriousness of the topic?

In many ways, I think that it wasn’t real for many people.

According to The Domestic Violence Institute, Black women comprise 8% of the U.S. population but in 2005 accounted for 22% of the intimate partner homicide victims and 42% of all female victims of intimate partner homicide.

African Americans account for a disproportionate number of intimate partner homicides. In 2005, African Americans accounted for almost 1/3 of the intimate partner homicides in this country.

According to a survey conducted by Tufts University,

- Approximately 40% of Black women report coercive contact of a sexual nature by age 18.
- The number one killer of African-American women ages 15 to 34 is homicide at the hands of a current or former intimate partner
- In a study of African-American sexual assault survivors, only 17% reported the assault to police

Continue reading

Beyond Gossip, Good and Evil

by Guest Contributor Elizabeth Mendez Berry, originally published at Ill Doctrine and MendezBerry.com

The Bloods have a strict policy against domestic violence. That’s what a 16-year-old male affiliate proudly told me last year before a weekly “gang awareness” meeting of about fifteen teens, most of them Crips, Bloods or Latin Kings, at a high school in Castle Hill, the Bronx. That week, the topic was domestic violence, and several members of the group, including the 16-year-old, said that hitting a woman was never acceptable. Others argued that there were situations where it just couldn’t be helped.

The conversation turned to an article I had written about domestic violence in the hip hop industry for Vibe. The rapper Big Pun grew up near the high school, and his devastating abuse of his wife (which started when the couple was just 16) was described in the piece. “I heard she cheated on him,” said the only young woman in the group, and others repeated some of the many rumors that swirled around Pun’s wife when she told her story (up until then she had been Soundview’s favorite widow). Several people enthusiastically launched into scenarios where it was OK to hit a woman. There were many. The bottom line: sometimes you’ve got to teach a woman a lesson if she gets out of line. It sounded like a man’s responsibility.

In the midst of the rationalizing, one usually talkative young man stood up and walked out. When he returned twenty minutes later, he quietly told the group that his aunt had recently been murdered by her abusive boyfriend. Continue reading