Rihanna, The Baffled Beauty

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[The True Measure]

I wonder why shockwaves are travelling through the world because Rihanna was battered and bruised by her boyfriend Chris Brown.

Everybody seems to be bewildered as to why after suffering such horrific injuries she would choose to reunite with him within a few weeks of this assault, as has been reported. A woman being battered by an abusive partner is nothing new, and neither is a woman going back to or staying with an abusive partner.

Is the shockwave due to the fact that Rihanna is a young beautiful celebrity? Is she not just another human being and woman?

It is easy for the watching world to condemn Rihanna. We would do well to remember that we are spectators, on the outside looking in. Most of us, until faced with the same horror, do not know what we would do, after the shock has worn off.

The issue of domestic violence is one which has plagued modern society and during a research I conducted whilst writing a community project for The Children and Women’s Trust, a U.K.-registered charity, I was amazed at the scale of it and how different communities dealt with it. I found that Black women and in particular women of African extraction were less likely to seek help and outside support for fear of stigmatization and being ostracized by their families and in-laws; so they suffer in silence, whereas Caucasian women were more likely to reach out to outside agencies for help in dealing with Domestic Violence.

I also found that most women did not consider their husbands or boy-friends to be abusers because they had only lashed out once; or only lashed out sometimes when they, the women, drove them to it.

Domestic violence takes many forms; it is imperative that we are educated on this. The most common is physical assault, but it can also be emotional, verbal, financial dependency and in most women who suffered abuse other than physical, there was a misconception that they were not in an abusive relationship.

Victimization by a partner can cause serious psychological consequences where there was no history of mental history before, with many women wrongly blaming themselves and even providing excuses for the perpetrator: "I drove him to it," or "he was under pressure," or "he was drunk"; and the list is endless.

We do not know why Rihanna has reportedly reunited with Chris Brown but she would be well advised to seek counseling from a support group for battered women. This is the first step in acknowledging what she suffered at the hands of someone she loves and trusts, and also to rebuild her self-esteem that must have taken a knocking at the same time Chris Brown was knocking her about.

It will do her more harm to merely accept flowers and expensive jewelry and internalize the pain and humiliation that she has undoubtedly suffered.

There have been countless comments condemning Rihanna’s decision, with highroller 33138 posting a comment on the MTV.Com website, "It sets a terrible example for women everywhere", and ladyofthelake says, "stupid, really stupid", on TVGuide.Com.

Whereas I do not condone a man putting his hands on a woman, other than in love, Rihanna made a decision for herself; however misguided the rest of the world may think this decision is, it is her body, her choice.

Who made her the spokesperson for every battered woman in this world? Why lay such responsibility on the shoulders of this young baffled beauty?

My research on Domestic Violence tells me that Rihanna’s decision has nothing to do with stupidity, but rather she is held back by memories of a brief but sweet history she has made with Chris Brown.


Allimadi writes for The Black Star News from London

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