Why Chris Brown Deserved Stiff Sentence

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[Comment: On Domestic Violence]

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, one out of three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.

Abuse in teen and young relationships has recently become a prime topic of national discussion. This is also due to the February 9th incident when singer Chris Brown beat up his girlfriend, Rihanna.

There were various reactions among individuals and age groups but the most commonly publicized one, was outrage. Truthfully, I was not sure what to think because details did not arise until later in the case; but once they did it was undeniable that Chris Brown was totally in the wrong.

According to the official police report, not only did Chris Brown punch Rihanna numerous times in the face and body but he went so far as to “shove her head against the passenger window of the car.” The famous picture resulting from the incident depicts Rihanna with huge knots on her head, a bloody and swollen mouth, and multiple bruises on her face.

Famous talk show hosts such as Tyra Banks and Oprah featured shows focusing on exposing the topic of violence in relationships; Oprah even directly addressed the issue by telling Rihanna that Chris Brown would hit her again and that she should leave.

During the trial when Chris Brown was being charged with the crime he committed, I was shocked to see videos of Chris Brown “supporters” voicing their opinions about the situations. Many of these teen girls believed that Rihanna must have hit him first or said something wrong therefore she “deserved” the abuse.  Seeing that once beloved singing and dancing sensation, Chris Brown, beat up his girlfriend seems to make it less severe in the minds of some of his fans. In many cases, domestic violence is not taken seriously enough and this often leads to severe consequences.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that more than three women are murdered by their husband or boyfriend everyday. At the end of 2008, Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson experienced a major tragedy in her family which involved her sister’s ex-husband murdering several members of her family including a seven year old boy.

The murderer, William Balfour, had a record of violence and even threatened his late ex-wife, Julia Hudson’s life. Although this is a case of abuse turned murder, it is important to look at the facts. It is on record that during the violent assault on Rihanna from Chris Brown, he stated these exact words: “You just did the stupidest thing ever! Now I’m really going to kill you!”

This threat can be seen as an “empty threat” that was not meant literally, but it is clear that Chris Brown has a violent side that should be looked at long and hard. In a recent Larry King Live interview, Chris Brown claims that he “blacked out” during the incident and was “shocked” by his own behavior.

While this may be true, before he fled the scene of the assault he was attentive enough to remove his CD’s from the rented luxury vehicle. These certain details in the police report lead me to believe that Chris Brown knew what he was doing and while he may have lost control, I believe that was a conscious decision on his part.

Although the incident between the two stars may have shed light on violence in relationships, I do not believe it has been as beneficial as it could have been. Because the incident was a huge setback on his career and he lost some endorsements it began to make him an object of pity with people saying that he has “suffered enough” or his actions should not be “held over his head”. All of these statements are totally outrageous and I believe support should be given to the victim in the situation, not the abuser.

Chris Brown’s punishment includes five years of probation and six months of community service. He must stay 100 yards away from Rihanna except when attending industry events where the distance is reduced to 10 yards. This order is in effect for five years.

If he violates the probation, the judge will consider sending him to prison. I feel that his punishment should have been more severe. While I do understand that he is young and young people make mistakes, this sentencing is making a statement to the world that serious abuse is being taken lightly.

The kind of assault Chris Brown dished out should have landed him in prison and the light punishment is damaging; it sets the wrong impression to young people regarding domestic violence.

It should be made clear that it is totally unacceptable, inexcusable and indefensible to abuse your partner, despite your celebrity status or amount of money.

Hopefully this wimpy excuse for a punishment will not lessen the severity of abuse in relationships in the minds of our youth but that seems to be the case.

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