At only 25, Rihanna is the fourth most successful chart-topping artist ever and has a wealth said to be more $75 million. But clearly money can’t buy you sense. With rumours rife about Rihanna and Chris Browns engagement, why can she not see Chris Brown for what he truly is and why doesn’t she realise the horrific example she is setting to millions of men and women around the world?
Rihanna and Chris Brown were teenage sweethearts who have dated on and off since 2005, but in 2009 Chris Brown viciously assaulted Rihanna. This was of course hot news, and unable to avoid the spotlight and the prying eyes of the outraged public and fans, Rihanna emotionally spoke about the abuse and her break up on Oprah in August of last year. But rather than speaking out about domestic abuse she spoke of her concerns for her abuser ‘Because as angry as I was – as angry and hurt and betrayed – I just felt like he made that mistake because he needed help.” She also admitted during the interview that she was still in love with Chris Brown.
Of course this is not the first case of stars being victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse. Madonna was a victim of ex-husband and actor Sean Penn, Whitney Houston suffered at the hands of ex-husband and singer Bobby Brown, and Tina Turners violent marriage to musician Ike Turner was well known. No doubt Rihanna and Chris Brown will not be the last famous couple to fall under the spotlight of domestic abuse but with the fame that comes from the career path that Rihanna has chosen, surely she has an obligation and a responsibility to set an example to all the young women who admire and idolise her. Therefore she should never have considered any form of reconciliation with Chris Brown, let alone be planning to marry him.
Most would say that the act committed against Rihanna was unforgivable, but obviously not for Rihanna herself, who ever since the attack has remained in contact with Chris Brown. In February 2011 Rihanna had the restraining order against Chris Brown dropped. Surely this belittles other women who have suffered in abusive relationships and implies to guys that it’s ok to beat their girlfriend? She undermines and makes a mockery of the whole legal system; For a restraining order to have been filed says the victim is scared and wants protecting, for the court to administer that restraining order says that that victims fears and need for protection are warranted. Not to mention the hours, money and resources wasted in court.
Statistics show that half of all adult women will be a victim of domestic abuse by a partner at some point in their life, and many victims feel too ashamed and humiliated to speak out, so it stands to reason that many domestic abuse cases go unreported. I do not doubt that fighting against an abusive partner cannot be easy, but surely once you have the support of the law and a restraining order in place that is the time to breathe a sigh of relief and move forward with your life. Not the time to start pining for your abuser. Rihanna was in the perfect scenario to make a stance. Already in the public eye, she had two choices; To be an advocate, speak out and campaign against domestic abuse, for which she could have had an incredible influence over, instilling courage and confidence in millions of women around the world, letting them know that they are not alone and making them realise that if Rihanna could escape it so could they. Or, and the path she sadly chose, defend and return to the man she claims she loves, the same man who beats her and who according to statistics, regardless of promises to change, is more likely than not to reoffend.
I guess all exposure really is good exposure. Chris Browns career does not appear to have suffered from this saga, his latest album Fortune, released last summer, reached number 1 in a number of countries, including the UK and his fifth single to be released from the album is quite appropriately entitled “Don’t judge me”. Since the attack Rihanna and Chris Brown have collaborated on a couple of projects; They released Birthday Cake from her 2011 album Talk Talk Talk and Turn up the Music which was released early in 2012 from Chris Browns album Fortune. No doubt Rihanna will, at some point release an album about their rekindled love.
Rihanna is an influential, modern day woman, who unfortunately does not have the strength and feistiness that she portrays in her music videos. I guess the woman we see on screen is just her alter ego. In reality she is living the life of a weak and fragile woman, in an outdated relationship, in which it is ok to be with a man who beats her. For all the fame and fortune Rihanna has she clearly is misguided; Love is not someone taking their fists to your face. When a relationship ends, regardless of the reason, there should be no going back, if it didn’t work then, it won’t work now. And if a man hits you once, he will hit you again. By taking him back and forgiving him a woman is merely justifying his horrific actions. One can only hope that Rihanna will see the ridiculousness of the situation before she becomes the wife of her abuser.