Rihanna and Chris Brown Reunion?: Why Domestic Abuse Must Not Be Portrayed as Acceptable

The topic of choice this month for PAVE is Healthy Relationships. While February is almost over I want to continue the conversation considering recent news of Rihanna and Chris Brown collaborating on a remix, “Birthday Cake” and confirmation that they are “rekindling” their relationship after Rihanna was a victim of violent abuse in their previous relationship. While this “rekindling” is sure to get a lot of media coverage, I appreciate the feministing.com post going directly to the bigger issues involved that are more important than the celebrity couple reunion itself.

The post discussed how this would affect the conversation on domestic violence being that a reunion between the two celebrities would be a widely viewed, public affair. As mentioned in the post, this raises concern in part because it is not unlikely for victims to return to their abusers; but what kind of example does this set? Will people use this to cut off a real discussion about domestic violence, and the circumstances and norms that surround the issue because a female celebrity chose to restart a professional and/or personal relationship with her perpetrator?

I want to talk about why this happens. Why do victims of domestic violence return to their abuser? I am aware that their are circumstances that prevent victims from getting out of an abusive relationship, but that does not make the violence okay. I agree with the article that the main point is that even if Rihanna and Chris Brown get back together, domestic abuse is unacceptable with no exceptions. I just hope fans of Rihanna and Chris Brown don’t form the wrong impression about domestic abuse from this.



My Stories: Laura Cowan

My Stories: Laura CowenLaura Cowan was desperate and alone with two children when she moved into a motel with a man and his family. What followed was a bizarre, four-year odyssey of polygamy, torture and mental trauma.

Laura Cowan survived life in one of the most notoriously abusive households in recent California history. Now a speaker, counselor and forceful advocate for  abused women, Cowan has come a long way since her abuser was sentenced to seven life terms in prison.

Read David Kelly’s story: Emerging from a notorious hell of abuse to counsel others

News story to check out: Latinos Decry ‘Secure Communities’ In D.C.

This story caught my attention yesterday while listening to the morning news.

A current issue in Washington, D.C. is one we are likely to face in different cities nationwide. As the federal government takes action against illegal immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) works with local law enforcement agencies to use arrest records to check for undocumented immigrants. ‘Secure Communities’ is aimed at deporting criminals who are undocumented immigrants.

The story addresses the resulting problem of ‘Secure Communities’ of further silencing victims of domestic abuse who are also undocumented immigrants because they do not want to risk deportation themselves.

The article explains that in many reported cases of domestic abuse the victim and abuser are initially arrested until law enforcers fully address the situation to identify what happened and who was at fault.

Picture URL: http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/content/features/detail/778/

(also availabe in Spanish)

This further complicates victims of sexual assault, who are also undocumented immigrants, from reporting these crimes and getting help. The obstacles that already exist for these women include limited English language skills and lack of knowledge of the resources available to them. All of these, including fear caused by ‘Secure Communities’ then become a factor abusive partners can use to keep power over the victim.

Does your town or city participate in ‘Secure Communities’? How did your community react to the policy?  Or, how do you think this would affect your community?