As most of you know, I tend to keep this blog pretty light and fluffy - with only the occasional foray into more serious topics. After reading this Boston Herald article earlier - news that has managed to totally depress me all afternoon, I might add - I decided it was time for a more sobering entry. To sum it up, a recent survey by the Boston Public Heath Commission found that almost half of the 200 teenagers surveyed thought Rihanna was responsible for her alleged beating at the hands of Chris Brown. I'm sorry...(rubs eyes)...did I read that right? Say HUH? And the responses get even more outrageous. For example, only 51 percent thought Brown was responsible for the incident, 44 percent thought that fighting was a normal part of a relationship, and a significant number said 'Rihanna was destroying Chris Brown’s career.' I just...I'm almost speechless, guys, and that's a rarity for me.
Here's the deal: I know I was fortunate to have been raised by loving parents who were able to instill in their children a strong sense of self-worth - as well as the ability to comprehend right from wrong. I have never dated an abusive man. On the flip side, I've seen first-hand how seemingly strong and confident women can get sucked into violent relationships. A beautiful, intelligent, college friend continually returned to her abusive boyfriend, despite all of our pleas for her to leave him. So I know this sometimes happens. Still, I guess I'd always believed, up until recently, that most people understood that if someone - male or female - punches you in the face, or physically pushes you around, or threatens to kill you...that's not love...or a normal relationship. It's violence, plain and simple. Statistics show that one in three teens will be involved in an abusive relationship, so we have clearly done a lousy job of educating young women and men about dating violence. And maybe that should come as no surprise, considering I've seen and heard EDUCATED ADULTS describe how Rihanna must have provoked Chris Brown - and that we shouldn't "crucify" the poor boy, since he's young and stupid. UGH. And now, even though Brown has been charged with two felonies for allegedly attacking Rihanna, rumors continue to swirl that the duo are back together again, secretly recording a "sweet and sentimental" duet for his next album. DOUBLE UGH.
Oprah Winfrey this week warned Rihanna and women everywhere that if a man hits you once, he'll hit you again. "If you go back with a man who hits you it's because you don't think you're worthy of being with a man who won't," she said. True that!
So here is my plea: Parents, teachers, brothers, sisters, etc. Please talk to your children, friends and loved ones about dating violence. Teach them that it's not okay to hit someone. Remember, love shouldn't hurt - not physically or mentally. It might hurt your heart but it should never leave a bruise.