The Onion’s Chris Brown “Joke”

I’m not going to link to the Onion article on Chris Brown’s break-up with Rihanna. Frankly, they’ve gotten more than enough ad revenue off yesterday’s article entitled “Heartbroken Chris Brown Always Thought Rihanna Was Woman He’d Beat To Death”. It’s a hateful piece and there is no justification whatsoever for “jokes” about domestic violence and the murder of a woman.

I’m angry someone wrote that piece.

I’m angry that the Onion saw fit to publish it.

I’m angry that there are white feminists “defending” this piece. 

I doubt very much the Onion would have published a piece like this if the victim of violence was white.

I doubt very much the Onion would have published a piece like this if the perpetrator was white.

This isn’t about misogyny, and the Onion has some serious form for pretending misogyny is ‘funny’, this is also about racism.

Rihanna has the right to live her life in privacy without being publicly humiliated and blamed for being a victim of domestic violence.

By all means, call Chris Brown out on his violence but not like this. Don’t resort to malicious “jokes”.

Male violence is all too frequently ignored, minimised and elided under the guise of “humour”. How many women have to die before we stop pretending domestic violence is funny?

Rihanna is NOT responsible for Chris Brown’s violence

I genuinely don’t get why this is so difficult for people to understand but, apparently, there seems to be a huge swathe of people who are still confused by this issue. This weeks victim-blaming fucknugget is Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Now, I haven’t actually bothered to watch the episode in question but the constant commercials are really starting to piss me off. Yeah, I get that Law & Order: Special Victims Unit are pretending that it isn’t about Chris Brown’s violent assault of Rihanna. Clearly, they are working under the assumption that their audience is, in fact, stupid. But, that’s beside the point. The episode, at least as far as the commercial claims, involves a police officer telling the woman-who-is-not-Rihanna-but-is-a-famous-singer  that she MUST press charges against her famous rapper-boyfriend-who-is-not-Chris-Brown because she is a role model.

Yeah, I struggled not to toss the TV out the window the first time I heard that. Subsequent viewings have not improved my feelings.

This is a bullshit, victim-blaming argument. I don’t see anyone babbling on about Chris Brown not being a good role model because he violently assaulted the woman he is supposed to love.

Nope, it’s Rihanna who is the bad role model for having the temerity to be violently assaulted by the man who supposedly loves her.

Fuck that shit.

The only person who is responsible is Chris Brown.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit needs to get their head out of their arse and actually start making programs about domestic violence which hold the perpetrator responsible. 

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit needs to stop perpetuating damaging myths about domestic violence.

Could We Please Leave Rihanna Alone? Or, at least, try to pretend we know something about Domestic Violenc

Yet another day. Yet another unpleasant, inaccurate, victim-blaming piece of twaddle written about singer Rihanna and her relationship with rapper Chris Brown who, in 2009, was convicted of assaulting Rihanna.

This time, it’s Sarah Tetteh in The Huffington Post not only minimising Chris Brown’s responsibility for his own violent actions but suggesting that Rihanna, and women like her, are partly responsible because they are attracted to “bad boys”. Frankly, Tetteh’s suggestion that “everybody likes a bit of a bad boy” speaks to her own experiences and socialisation within the Capitalist-Patriarchy rather than a truism for all women; no matter how much she would like to believe it. And, I’m sorry but since when is a man who doesn’t commit domestic violence a “drip”? Our culture may glorify male violence but that doesn’t mean we have to buy into the discourse that “real men” are violent men. Having tattoos and carrying guns does not mean women deserve to be assaulted by their intimate partners. Being a “real man” shouldn’t involve violence.

Tetteh needs to consult some actual research on domestic violence. Women’s Aid has conveniently written a list of basic FAQs about domestic violence that are short and easy to read. Nia have an equally well-written piece on the gendered nature of domestic violence. I’m sure Tetteh was aware that domestic violence costs the city of London £2.5 million a day or that the Center for Disease Control in the US estimates that the costs of domestic violence, intimate partner rape and stalking exceed more than $5.8 billion dollars a year. I’m sure Tetteh is also aware than approximately 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime and that 1 in 8 will experience it annually. 2 women a week are murdered by their current or former partners in the UK. If Tetteh is not aware of these facts, she could also try reading Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does he do that? Inside the Minds of Violent and Controlling Men or Dee Graham’s Loving to Survive: Sexual Terror, Men’s Violence and Women’s Lives. Or, any piece of actual research into domestic violence as opposed to defining domestic violence based on an episode of Hollyoaks or Friends.

Interestingly, Tetteh only refers to 3 African-American couples when referencing “volatile couples” in the entertainment industry. What about Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson? Or, Sean Penn and Madonna? Or, Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller? Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards? Charlie Sheen and Brittany Ashland? In terms of violence against women, Charlie Sheen’s twenty year history of multiple convictions against numerous partners including the “accidental” shooting of Kelly Preston rarely gets a  mention. Edward Furlong has an equally long history of domestic violence against multiple partners and his name is never mentioned either. MVAW (male violence against women) is endemic in the entertainment industry and it isn’t just limited to African-American men; no matter how many people try to minimise the behaviour of white male celebrities.

No feminist ever would suggest that Rihanna “is being weak and a victim for going back to Brown”. Feminists are more than aware of what domestic violence actually is since they are the ones who campaigned and fought for refuges, criminalising rape in marriage and forcing police and prosecution services to take domestic violence seriously. Feminists understand trauma bonding; something Tetteh is clearly unaware of. Honestly, anyone who can make claim that feminists think victims of domestic violence are “weak” either knows nothing of feminism or is deliberately lying.

Rihanna is just a young woman trying to survive in the Capitalist-Patriarchy the best way she can. How about we save our ire for men and the political and cultural structures they created which glorify male violence?

How about we just stop blaming Rihanna for Chris Brown’s violence?