Monday, March 9, 2009

Rihanna...Please Listen To Oprah!

Someone mentioned to me that I wasn't exhibiting much grace when I wrote about the whole abuse/addiction issue. I was writing about the Rihanna's of the world. I mentor a group of teenage girls and I have had the police come in and teach them a self-defense class. I write about it and talk about it because I lived it and escaped it as a young girl, it cost me a lot more than an few endorsements. I am passionate about listening to the victim, this is especially true in the black community where abuse is pushed under the rug more often than not.

I found this post over on Digital Journal and thought it was worth repeating. Oprah is not my number one source of information, but I do believe she has an important message, herself being a survivor of domestic violence. It sometimes takes a survivor to tell a victim that you will get past the confusion, the hurt, the shame, the questions, the stares, the silent screams and will find the strength to turn around, stare that devil in his face and tell him "NO MORE!!!!" Then, like Oprah, and thousands more who have walked through that fire and made it to the other side, you will reach back your hand and pull another sister through.

Rihanna, listen, the words come from love.

Even Michael Basdain got in the act today on his show. He had police officers call in and tell women the truth that the restraining order is only part of the defense. They, from one end of the country to the other, told the women to get on the firing range and learn how to shoot if you have one of those "I'll kill you abusers." I listened to the show and automatically thought of Tyler Perry's character Madea and her passion for grit ball. I closed my eyes and imagined Rihanna taking that cast iron skillet upside Chris Brown's pretty head.

We are worth fighting for, Rihanna is worth fighting for. She and the young women like her are the reason I had the local police department teach these 12-16 year old girls some self-defense techniques. The goal was not to fight-to-the-death but to claw you way out and run like hell because if you stay any longer, it will be worse than hell.

I send a big thank you to all the foot soldiers in this war. It is an epidemic. It knows no color, no income, no religion, no ethnicity. It's goal is to put fear through psychological manipulation and intimidation. This alone is abuse but coupled with the physical and sexual violence that often comes with this epidemic, it is even more insidious. It must stopped and we will keep speaking out.

Talk Show Diva steps up and offers serious advice for Rihanna
By Nikki Weingartner.

Faced with a potentially tarnished reputation and much opposition to a reconciliation, Rihanna is under more pressure. The queen of TV talk shows, Oprah Winfrey, made her statement loud and clear.
In response to the horrible abuse situation between R&B artist, Chris Brown, 19, and top 40 artist, Rihanna, Oprah Winfrey said loud and clear on last week's show:

"Love doesn't hurt and if a man hits you once he will hit you again. I don't care what his plea is; he will hit you again."

The queen of talk shows has earned her place to speak openly for women across the country, using the highest ranking show on television, The Oprah Winfrey Show as the perfect medium to get the message across. She has openly dedicated an upcoming show to the "Rihanna's of the world," addressing the United States rate of domestic and interpersonal violence at one in four having been on the receiving end of physical abuse by their boyfriends.

News reports are carrying the story that the abuse started over Rihanna's, or Robyn Fenty as she is privately known, discovery of a text message sent to Chris Brown from another woman after the Grammy Awards last month. As explained by the Daily Mail, court documents reveal that Chris Brown:

threw a 'barrage of punches' at Rihanna's face, bit her ear and pressed her neck until she almost passed out.

'The assault caused Robyn F's mouth to fill with blood and blood to spatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle'

It even revealed that after he had smashed in her face and she "faked" a call to her personal assistant, he threatened to kill her stating "You just did the stupidest thing ever! Now I'm going to kill you!" The documents also say that he continually punched her in the arm and hand after she bent over, trying to protect her face and that he even attempted to push her out of his rented luxury sports car, but that her seat belt protected her. When she attempted to contact another personal assistant, Chris Brown was alleged in the court documents to have taken her cell phone and thrown it out the window. Good Samaritans contacted the police when they heard screams for help.

Chris Brown had his day in court last Thursday, where he was officially charged with felony assault and making criminal threats in relation to the incident. He faces up to four years in prison. Yet despite the horrible event and threats on her life, the couple is said to have reconciled or at least they were seen hanging out together at one of the homes of another rapper, Diddy (formerly known as P. Diddy and Puff Daddy). Although the young singer will testify against Brown in court if required by law, a report in the Daily Telegraph described her humiliation, feeling as though "the whole world is judging her" and goes on to say:

Rihanna feels "torn" between supporting her fiance and obeying the wishes of her family who, like Winfrey, are said to staunchly oppose a reconciliation

Rihanna was alleged to have been willing to testify on behalf of her abuser, admitting her "fault" in the incident. However, there are very few reasons for a man to strike a woman, self defense being one, but in this case, the evidence is clear that the beating received by the victim was far beyond anything that would constitute self defense.

Television reports today showed how Chris' fan base and sponsorship is dwindling, as Wrigley's Double Mint Gum and the Got Milk campaigns have ceased using Brown in their ads. Even some radio stations refuse to play his music since the allegations of abuse surfaced. Unfortunately, Rihanna's return to Brown could serve to negatively impact her popularity, as women from around the country unite against her decision as a role model for millions of young fans. Mothers simply will not tolerate their young girls and teens supporting such an outward promotion of violence nor will they encourage those who enable abusers.

On the Today Show (see embedded video clip), Rihanna's future public image was called in question as the CoverGirl model faces a tarnished reputation. Marketing experts predicted a future decline in endorsements based upon what is being called her "condoning" Brown's abuse.

With an overwhelming public outcry against her decision to return to her abuser, it will be interesting to see if Rihanna also listens to Oprah's second bit of advice:

Give it some time, get yourself counselling, take care of yourself and heal yourself first.

For more information on domestic violence and providing support for a friend or family member in a similar situation, visit the National Domestic Violence Helpline.

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