President Obama sent out a Presidential Proclamation that February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
Chris Brown had been asked to perform on the Grammy’s and was welcomed back after a three year hiatus. According to the Grammy’s, it was punishing *them* to not have him perform.
In another part of the Internetaverse, tweets have been posted in which young and older women said they were perfectly fine with Chris Brown punching them in the face as long as he ‘loved them.’
President Obama, can we have this last the whole freaking year instead??
We have a problem, right here in River City because the way I see it, when we let someone like Chris Brown get glory and acclamation we send out a message.
You don’t matter.
You don’t matter as a survivor of domestic abuse. You don’t matter because we will always choose the money over the principle. You don’t matter because privilege and patriarchy always seem to supercede fairness and protection of the vulnerable and hurt.
When I volunteered in my son’s class the year this happened with Rihanna and Chris Brown, many young women (most of them, young teens of colour) were vicious in their dismissal of Rihanna and loud in their support of Chris Brown. He was ‘the man.’ He was ‘so handsome and such a good singer’ and she was nothing but a ‘ho’ and a ‘bitch.’
I talked to a young lady at my college campus who was confused when I told her that I had no respect for Chris Brown and she said, ‘but the man…he’s supposed to be the one in charge. You gotta show him respect. He’s the boss.’
I told her as gently as I could that I have no respect for a man who hits a woman. That sort of man is NOT the boss and furthermore, nobody is boss of me. I’m my own damn boss.
This whole mess makes me want to bawl. It has me enraged and wanting to tear down trees and mountains and howl at the sky. Instead, I give myself some time so that I can write this out in a sane, logical matter.
Love is not being hit for whatever ‘reason.’
Love is not being told that you deserved it. Or being told that you’re ugly or that you are worthless.
Love is not being called names. Bitch, ho, skank, cunt, slut or any other words that are used to demean and control. It’s one thing for me to claim the word for myself. It’s another for someone else to try and make me feel like I’m nothing by calling me these names.
Love is not having a girl or guy on the side without your partner being aware of it. Sexting them or sending them provocative pictures and then being abusive when your boyfriend/girlfriend finds out about you being a lying sneak isn’t OK. You got busted. Deal with it. And not by beating your girlfriend/boyfriend in the face until hospitalized (Got it, Chris Brown?).
Love isn’t rape or sexual assault. Love isn’t grabbing your girlfriend’s breasts or butt or your boyfriend’s crotch or butt without permission. Really? Because you look like a moron who can’t keep your hands to yourself. They aren’t possessions of yours. They’re PEOPLE.
Love isn’t taking away their cell phone or driving their friends away, isolating them. Love isn’t threatening their pets or their children. Love isn’t telling them that if they think about leaving, they better not because they’ll regret it.
And Love surely isn’t society telling us that all is forgiven of a person who acted unconscientiously in a fit of rage. Love isn’t rewarding him with a record deal and with appearances on TV. Love isn’t telling him that it’s OK to act like that. He doesn’t have to worry about repercussions that last because three years is nothing compared to years of PTSD for the survivor and maybe even the survivor’s child(ren).
As far as ***I*** am concerned, Chris Brown should have ended up panhandling. Or singing as a has been in small town lounges. He should be shunned and ignored. He has shown no remorse over his actions. He hasn’t talked about how he should have behaved instead and has not done any of his probation time at a women’s shelter or at a domestic abuse site.
Love isn’t letting people like him get away with their abusive asshat behavior. Yet we see this every day, men AND women getting away with physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. And keep in mind that our kids and our teens and our young adults see these people get away with that behavior every. damn. day.
I applaud President Obama for putting a spotlight on an issue that needs to be addressed. And I ask that people come forward in our communities to help our kids and young adults understand what Love truly is and where attention and recognition are due.
Not on Chris Brown but on those in the community who work tirelessly to make sure that Love is healthy and that the cycle of abuse stops. I thank those who work in the domestic abuse shelters and the crisis lines and in social services and as therapists and peer counselors. I thank those who reach out to their friends and people they don’t know to get them out of abusive situations. I have the utmost respect for those who risk their lives to stop what some call ‘Love.’
If you’re in an abusive situation, please know that you’re not alone. You didn’t deserve it. And you have allies and friends who will help you. Please, when you can, reach out. We’ll be there for you.
If you find yourself acting in unhealthy ways, it’s a good time to seek help. If you’ve grown up in the cycle of abuse, it’s hard to get out or hard to see the patterns. Break the cycle. Seek help. You are amongst the bravest people I know for being honest with yourself and for working on not being that way.
I’ll close with these words that have been spoken at so many celebrations: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.