Thursday, March 5, 2009

No Excuse. None.

Chris Brown got charged today with assault and making threats against his girlfriend Rihanna. I was helping Mahalo to cover the Grammys when I first heard about it. It was first reported as a car accident. Rihanna and Chris are fine, the publicist said, but they’ll not make the Grammy Awards. They’ve gotten back together since he beat the shit out of her before the Grammy’s on February 8.

Sure, I should say “allegedly” here, and sure, I should be euphemistic and say “domestic violence, and sure, since she’s of age and her live is hers to live, if she’s the forgiving sort, then I should keep my mouth shut and keep my opinions to myself. I am, after all, a sporadic blogger who has no stake in the situation and who could really care less about the music of either Chris Brown or Rihanna. The Internet certainly doesn’t need another blogger adding to the noise of this already huge story.

Okay then, fine. Let me tell you another story.

A black woman with a couple of kids is staying on a friend’s couch. To say she is down on her luck is an understatement. Early in the morning, she is woken up out of a dead sleep, by her boyfriend pulling on her hair. He also slammed her head against the wall.

She was so freaked out, and disoriented, that she ran, half-clothed, out of the apartment in the middle of winter, just to get away from him.

The police were called, but she declined to press charges. No photographs, no news reports. Maybe she left him, maybe not. Maybe she’ll end up dead. That is the reality of most domestic violence.

And it’s a true story, too. I was the one who called the police. She was running, half-naked, down the street, screaming for help.

I do not fault either woman for their decisions or their situations. I feel so sorry for them that they feel like they have to stay with people who hurt them, or are too scared to do anything to prosecute those who have hurt them.

But Rihanna is lucky. Very, very lucky. Her gut instinct told her to do the right thing, even though she was not willing or able to follow through. She called the police and made sure they were waiting when she and Brown got to their destination. They were then able to record evidence, take statements and get a clear picture of what happened. Her blood in Brown’s car. Phone calls. Police reports and photos.

You see, in criminal cases, the victim does not have to want to press charges for charges to be pressed. If there’s enough evidence during the altercation, they can press charges anyway. Which is what the police did today.

Brown is lucky, too. He’s lucky that he “only” beat and bit and bruised her (according to reports). And he’s lucky Rihanna was wearing her seatbelt. Brown reportedly tried to push her out of a moving car. If she’d forgotten to buckle up, he could have succeeded. His actions could have broken her legs, her arms, her spine, her neck, could have killed her. He’s lucky he gets to apologize to a live person. Even so, Brown should be punished for his actions, and the law agrees. Whether Rihanna agrees is irrelevant.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7223

Chris Brown and Rihanna latest news

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