Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Well, That Ought To Learn Him...

I saw this discussion on Kelly's Court prior to the trial of Chris Brown, who was facing felony charges, possibly an attempted murder charge, against Rihanna. Let me go ahead and warn you now that the photos of Rihanna are graphic:

Let me say that there is a vast misperception about why people stay in, or return to, abusive relationships. There is a cycle of violence that begins with the gradual chipping away of the victim's self-esteem. It does not happen overnight, and does not come on suddenly. If someone threatened someone with physical (emotional, psychological) abuse right off the bat, I think most people would tell the offender to slam off. No, it doesn't work that way. The person begins slowly, often isolating the victim from friends and family, thus cutting off support resources from them, and it goes downhill from there, with a LOT of belittling, demeaning, emotional/psychological abuse layer upon layer. The physical abuse may start small, then ratchet up, but by then, the victim is already so demoralized, has already been told so many times that no one else will want her, that she deserves what she got, brought it on herself, or quite often, if she leaves, will be killed (and a whole heap inbetween those two extremes), thus leaving the victim feeling like she has no choice but to stay. The reality is, many victims who DO leave, are killed. That is the sad reality.

And within the cycle of violence, there is the repentance on the part of the abuser, promising never to do it again, that changes will be made, please don't leave, and so on. It's a "hope springs eternal" situation, and not for othing, but the victim usually actually loves the abuser. I know that sounds strange, but like I said, the abuser didn't start OUT that way, and most likely, doesn't always ACT that way. There is just enough repentance, or good times, or what have you, to convince the already battered victim to stay. So, it isn't quite so easy as just walking out the door. It is usually at that very time that the victim is most at risk.

Rihanna at least has the MEANS to be on her own, which is a major plus for her. Most victims don't have that option, another reason why they stay. They have been made financially dependent on the abuser.

So, when people "blame the victim," saying Rihanna was an idiot for not leaving, they don't understand that it is a FAR more complex situation than that.

And now to the big trial. You saw the video above. You have seen the photos of Rihanna. Well, there wasn't a trial. There was a plea deal struck. Brown admitted he was guilty. Want to know what his sentence was? He got five years of probation, 180 days of community service (in VA), and has to go to a domestic violence program for a year. Oh, and there is a "stay away" order, that actually goes both ways, the judge was quick to point out. And get this - a number of articles talk about how hard this is going to be on BROWN. WOW. Talk about missing the point...

Let's recoup: Brown beat the SHIT out of Rihanna, threatened to kill her, in front of a third person, and he will spend NOT ONE DAY in jail. Not one day. Not one damn day for beating the pure-t shit out of someone who was basically captive (she was in a car).

I have to say, I am getting pretty sick of writing about these men getting away with battering women, threatening them with death, and getting light sentences, or raping minors and getting away with a slap on the wrist. It sounds a message that is loud and clear, one we saw on the airwaves and in the press throughout the course of the past "election": in the USA, women (and girls) are still less than, not as important as, and far more expendable than, men. As long as these men, celebrities or not, are allowed to beat women senseless, rape little girls, and get little more than slaps on the wrist as "punishment," it is a tool to keep ALL women "in line." That is to say when men are allowed to batter women with little comeuppance, it is a lesson to ALL women (and girls) that they better mind their p's and q's. And you better believe women pay attention to this. When approximately ONE THIRD of women in this country experience some form of abuse, you better freakin' believe the other two thirds get the message - loud and clear. The same goes for girls.

Frankly, this is unacceptable. We cannot go around talking about the importance of human rights and women's rights in other countries when so many women in THIS country are having their rights trampled on regularly, by their batterers, and by the courts. That Chris Brown could plea down to serving absolutely NO jail time for what he did, the court system has failed women. And we damn well know it.

And we need to STAND UP to these lax sentences, to the increasingly more accepted violence toward women. We must stand up, for ourselves, for our sisters, for our daughters, nieces, and granddaughters. We deserve better.

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