Court documents about Chris Brown’s violence against Rihanna were released last week. I’m going to warn you, this is really hard to read, and potentially triggering if you are an abuse survivor. If you can manage, I think the context is important. Full version here, but here are some pieces of it.
“Brown was driving a vehicle with Robyn F. as the front passenger on an unknown street in Los Angeles. Robyn F. picked up Brown’s cellular phone and observed a three-page text message from a woman who Brown had a previous sexual relationship with.
“…When he could not force her to exit, he took his right hand and shoved her head against he passenger window of the vehicle, causing an approximate one-inch raised circular contusion.
“Robyn F. turned to face Brown and he punched her in the left eye with his right hand. He then drove away in the vehicle and continued to punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand. The assault caused Robyn F.’s mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle.
“Brown looked at Robyn F. and stated, ‘I’m going to beat the sh– out of you when we get home! You wait and see!’
… After Robyn F. faked the call, Brown looked at her and stated, ‘You just did the stupidest thing ever! Now I’m really going to kill you!’
…Brown continued to punch Robyn F. on her left arm and hand, causing her to suffer a contusion on her left triceps (sic) that was approximately two inches in diameter and numerous contusions on her left hand.
…“Brown did not know what she did with the key and began punching her in the face and arms. He then placed her in a head lock positioning the front of her throat between his bicep and forearm. Brown began applying pressure to Robyn F.’s left and right carotid arteries, causing her to be unable to breathe and she began to lose consciousness.
Let it be known that there are thousands upon thousands of cases like this. Having worked as an abuse crisis counselor for a few years, I’ve encountered hundreds myself. Rihanna is a celebrity, so this case is widely publicized, but it is a reality that every 9 seconds, a woman is assaulted or beaten in the US.
In the ensuing media shitfest of Chris Brown’s abuse, a lot of truly upsetting things have happened–all of which reflect abuse culture. Abuse culture is characterized by our society’s attitude of victim-blaming, lack of abuser accountability, permissiveness and general apathy to abuse, and resistance to acknowledging/addressing abuse in a realistic way.
(1) The first major wave was of people blaming Rihanna for getting beat up. Y’know, she had that mouth full of blood comin! There were many other forms of dismissing the abuse as well, including making light of it.