Domestic violence, nbd. Right?

After watching some of the online reactions to Chris Brown’s Grammy performance, I had to ask myself what his pretty seamless career comeback says about us.

The fact that Chris Brown performed at the Grammys — the fact that he won a Grammy — just three years after he beat a woman with his fists so badly that she had to go to the hospital shows us just how normalized domestic abuse is in this country.

These reactions to his performance tell you pretty much everything you need to know about what we’ve taught women to expect from their relationships. Violence equals love. Any attention from a man is good attention, especially if he’s wealthy and talented.

We tell women that having a boyfriend or husband is so important that it doesn’t matter how he treats them. If you leave because of abuse, you must be overreacting, and what did you do to provoke him in the first place, anyway?

With this cultural mentality, is it any surprise that one in four women will experience domestic violence, or that 40 percent of girls between the ages of 14 and 17 know someone who has been hit or beaten by their boyfriend?

Sasha Pasulka already wrote a wonderful piece about just how not cool it was for Chris Brown to perform at the Grammys, and she said it better than I ever could have.

I’ll just add this:

If we ever want to stop gendered violence, we have to stop sweeping it under the rug. We can’t just forget about it because it’s inconvenient to stop downloading music from our favorite artist. We can’t forgive violent physical assaults because the perpetrator is attractive and talented or because he just seems like such a nice guy.

It’s time to start siding with victims of domestic violence and stop encouraging their abusers.

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3 Responses to Domestic violence, nbd. Right?

  1. Whitney O'Connell says:

    Two things:

    First, You should think about reading The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help by Jackson Katz.

    Second, instead of sign the word victim, consider using survivor. I know that it is a simple vocabulary change, but I think it speaks to how we see survivors of domestic assault, sexual assault and physical violence.

    Glad to see another woman caring and gendered issues!

    • Alicia Stice says:

      Thanks for the reading recommendations, Whitney! The use of “survivor” versus “victim” is something I’ve struggled with in my role as a journalist and outside of my professional life.

      I generally use whichever term an individual person prefers, but I think I appreciate the reasons behind using “survivor:” To demonstrate that someone is not continually a victim of a crime, but a survivor of one. It’s something I want to keep learning about.

      Thanks for your insights and for reading,

      -Alicia

  2. Whitney O'Connell says:

    Also, thecurrent conscience.com

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