I’m not going to lie. When Rihanna took Chris Brown back I was not happy. In fact, I bordered on morally outraged. How could the girl who had me fantasizing about singing, "Want you to make me feel like I'm the only girl in the world" to the boy who was breaking my heart be so…stoopid? How could the star that millions of young girls idolize set such a bad example as to take a man who has abused her back? Easy.
Rihanna is human, young, and (somehow) in love. Does this give the media the right to criticize or mock her decisions? Apparently, it depends who you ask. Here at BUST, we are all for dissing Chris Brown. He assaulted Rihanna, disrespects females, and his music is drivel. But making fun of Rihanna, i.e. the abused, is a whole different matter.
A writer on Crushable.com went so far as to liken Rihanna’s recovery from laryngitis to taking Chris Brown back. “But regardless of what form this laryngitis takes, I anticipate that Rihanna will be back up on her feet and reunited with it in no time, having completely forgiven it for ever knocking her out.” Wow. Nothing says wit like pulling out an ol’ domestic violence joke! Why not throw in something about rape while you’re at it?
Joan Rivers has also given her two cents in her usual no-one-actually-is-listening-to-you fashion. On her show Fashion Police, when discussing Rihanna’s Grammy outfit she couldn’t help adding “Rihanna, with Chris Brown you’re not bright like a diamond…you’re dumb as a rock.” Sigh.
Being guilty of shaming Rihanna myself, I can see the temptation in dissing her choice in taking back Brown. The fact of the matter is, the majority of victims of domestic violence return to their partners. The UK’s National Domestic Helpline suggests to support someone who has/is experiencing domestic violence, you should “not judge her” and “don’t tell her to leave or criticize her for staying. Although you may want her to leave, she has to make that decision in her own time.”
This is backed up by the glorious Gloria Steinem, who told Jezebel, "Most women leaving violent relationships return at least once because their self-authority has been eviscerated and replaced with a partner's authority. Think Stockholm Syndrome. Rihanna probably needs support, not criticism, and her return could be a cause for teaching, not despair."
While it is clear Rihanna is going to do what she wants, all this publicity could be a chance for a public discussion on domestic violence. It’s time we as a society hold the abusers, not the victims, accountable.
Images courtesy of US Magazine and Instagram