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Rihanna -- Young Women Are Watching

YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia, Commentary andVideo, Various Authors Posted: Nov 08, 2009

Editor's Note: In the summer, Chris Brown pleaded guilty for attacking and abusing his then-girlfriend singer and pop icon Rihanna. Yesterday, Rihanna spoke for the first time on Good Morning America. We asked young people to watch a clip of Rihanna's interview and share their reactions on how Rihanna addressed the situation. These contributors are fall interns with YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia.

They Are Both At Fault
Rihanna isnt saying everything that happened between her and Chris Brown. I think she went back to Chris Brown because she felt guilty about something. I understand why Rihanna is not with Chris Brown anymore. Many people look up to Rihanna, and not being together with Chris Brown sends a better message to the public. Rihannas message is that it is not okay to be hit and abused.

However, I don't understand why Rihanna went back to Chris Brown, only to leave him pretty soon afterwards. She was just playing with his feelings.
Chris Brown has been held accountable enough for his actions. Hes had to endure so much embarrassment and humiliation. I don't think he deserves any more punishment. When it comes to domestic violence, both partners, not just one, should be held accountable by taking anger management classes and seeking counseling together.

-Sherry Blunt, 21

Rihanna Speaks Out on Chris Brown Beat Down from yoblogger on Vimeo.

Hold Men and Woman to the Same Standards
Rihannas public response is long overdue. But its challenging to deal with very personal situations in the public eye. Youre dealing with intense feelings and emotions while the media is pointing their finger at you and telling you what you should have done differently. In the Good Morning America interview, Rihanna said, Love is blind. Its true. You cant judge someone until youve been there, been in their position, and understand what theyve gone through.

An individual in an abusive relationship may blame himself or herself for many reasons. That person may think that if only they had acted differently, or been more understanding, the abuse wouldnt have happened.

Also, women dealing with domestic violence sometimes feel ashamed because they feel like they failed at loving. An abuser may love the person whom they abuse, but the abuser might not know how to deal with their own emotions, like controlling anger. When a person cant verbalize or express what is on his or her mind, emotions explode and things turn physical. When relationships become abusive, most of the time that relationship gets worse, not better. The abuse becomes more brutal and frequent.

Its sad that so many young women side with Chris Brown and blame Rihanna for the abuse that occurred. This reflects the value our society places on men over women.

Society needs to up the standards for what is considered acceptable treatment of women. We need to teach our daughters better. Women need to be stronger.
- Kayla Bailey, 22

Loneliness Perpetuates Abuse
Survivors of domestic violence return to their abusive partners because they are lonely. When they reflect back on the relationship, they only think about the good times and pretend the bad things, like abuse, never happened.

Chris Brown let his anger take over. In spite of that, Rihannas love was unconditional, so she went back to him. Young women around Rihannas age need to learn that they can break away of from that kind of a situation and lead a better life on their own. In the interview, Rihanna makes it clear that women shouldnt have to be stuck in an abusive relationship.

Chris Brown will always have fans that believe in him, forgive him, and understand that he made a mistake.

I think abusive partners should be punished for what they have done because it is not okay for someone to hit another person.

Rihanna gave good advice to young girls. However, I also feel she must have done something that triggered the abuse. Im not saying its okay for men to hit women. I just wish she had been more honest about what really happened that led to the abuse.
- Kendra Davis, 18

Break The Abusive Cycle
Rihanna was brutally beaten by Chris Brown. Before the incident, Chris Brown could do no wrong. He was a poster boy and role model to many young boys who looked up him and wanted to emulate his style. Now his picture-perfect image has been shattered and will never be restored.

Rihanna said she is embarrassed she fell in love with Chris Brown. But she shouldnt blame herself for that. There is no way she could have foreseen the abuse she went through. But I dont think this was the first time it happened.

I wonder what would have happened if the abuse occurred behind closed doors without the media involved? Would the abuse be a secret? Would Rihanna still be with Chris Brown? Being young and in love is the best feeling in the world, but it is also the worst.

I fell into a torrid love affair with a person who was abusive. At that time, I "thought" it was love. Although he never put a hand on me, the verbal abuse left me feeling bewildered, ashamed, and humiliated. I kept thinking, What am I doing wrong? and felt everything was my fault. I kept trying to change myself for him, until one day, I snapped and realized the situation was not okay. My mother was abused by my father. I grew up seeing abuse. I thought abuse was normal, so I became a victim to the same cycle that my mother fell into. I decided to get out of this relationship. I broke up with him and learned that before I can truly love someone, I have to learn to love myself first.
- Angelica Arreola, 21

Related Articles:

Black Women Bear Blunt of Domestic Violence

Should Rihanna Speak Out?

Young People React to Chris Brown Domestic Violence Sentencing

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