Thursday, September 3, 2009

Who Is Chris Brown and What is a Rihanna?

Who is Chris Brown and what is a Rihanna were the words spoken by Browns attorney when he described his confusion as to the identity of the two stars.  You will note that he referred to Rihanna as an it.  Even though Rihanna was clearly the one that was injured, many have been willing to see the actions of Brown as an aberration.  Even his mother, who wept quietly by his side was quick to say that Chris was not a violent person.   His lawyer made a point of saying how much respect he had for Brown for wanting to be held accountable for his actions.

Chris knew that this was his big chance to explain to the world what happened that night.  It was meant to revive the “good guy image,” that helped to sell so many CDS.  Instead, we learned nothing because  he used privacy as a cloak to avoid taking full responsibility for what he did.  When he was asked about violently smashing a car window, it was referred to as vandalism.  It seems to me, that breaking a window in a fit of anger, would imply that he has serious anger management issues that predate the night he assaulted Rihanna.

Despite the fact that Rihanna was the one bloodied and bruised many have called for her to take responsibility for initiating her own beating.  Jimi Izreal, The Roots resident misogynist makes this point in his post Rihanna’s Turn:

What alot of people don't know is that when two parties are involved in an assault, both parties can be and often are charged separately -- the state doesn't need the cooperation of either victim. We have evidence that Rihanna was pummelled, and we also have court documents that say she assaulted Brown first ... so why hasn't the state brought a case on her?

We need to make them both an example. Unless both of them are held responsible for their actions-- given that we know that women often hit men first -- nothing is learned here.

Let me be clear and state unequivocally that violence perpetrated by either party is wrong but what Chris did and what Rihanna did, are two very different things.   Whoopie Goldberg has been quoted as saying that if a woman hits a man that  she should be prepared to be hit back.   I feel this sort of attitude shows how far we are willing to go to ignore the size difference between the average woman and the average man.  It is one thing to act in self defence and another to purposefully strike back.   There is never any reason that would make it acceptable for a man to hit, beat or otherwise assault a woman.

Chris and Rihanna are not equally guilty of a crime and to suggest that they are, is to imply that men are the ones that live lives of constant fear of female abuse.  We know for a fact that most incidents of violence between a man and woman result in injury to the woman;  in many instances it leads to death.  At no time in that car was Chris Brown in any real fear for his person, whereas; Rihanna had very real reason to believe that she might die.  What more punishment does this woman need than the bloody lip, blackened eyes, bitten ears and the post traumatic stress disorder that came with riding in a car with an abuser?

This whole like argument implies that Rihanna brought this beating upon herself.  No matter what she did, Chris should never have reacted the way that he did.  Brown makes sure to let us know that he is “irritated with the haters” and only wants fans who like his music to talk about him.  It is clear that he wishes he could just sweep this under rug and move on. This attitude reveals just how callously he sees his actions.  He is quick to remind us that he is only 20 and does not yet consider himself a man.  I guess someone should have told him that legal adulthood occurs at 18.   In the end, it is not surprising that Brown will only look upon this an inconvenience when those around him and several media commenter's are quick to either absolve his behaviour or make it the equivalent of Rihanna’s.