Yesha Callahan

Battered Women At The Hands of Battered Minds

batteredwomen

Last October, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I wrote a post titled, “Love Shouldn’t Hurt”, which included a story of my friend, “Tricia”. Tricia was in a seemingly health relationship, until one day, out of the blue, her boyfriend hit her in the face.

In light of the recent Chris Brown & Rihanna incident, I spoke to Tricia the other day, and asked her if she knew whether or not her ex-boyfriend witnessed his mother being in an abusive relationship when he was a kid. As I previously assumed, he had.

Statistics have shown that boys who witness their fathers’ violence are 10 times more likely to engage in spousal abuse later on in life. (Family Violence Interventions for the Justice System, 1993). Unfortunately, this statistic seems to ring true for both my friend’s ex & Chris Brown, both of who witnessed their mothers being abused at the hands of their step-fathers as children.

To ad nauseum the internet and major news outlets are all speculating about the incident. Gossip sites are basically having a field day with what could have caused Chris Brown to snap and physically batter Rihanna. What is even more disappointing is reading the commentary that follows a lot of these posts sites have made. It amazes me that so many people find his behaviour acceptable, depending on what Rihanna did to provoke it.

Provocation or not, I truly find it appalling that people can actually find reasons to justify his actions. Even in reading my young cousin’s Myspace page, she wrote “Poor Chris Brown”. I was dumbfounded.

Poor adult Chris Brown? Not hardly.

Poor young child Chris Brown who witnessed the abuse of his mother, sure.

As his mother was getting physically battered by her husband, Chris Brown was being mentally battered. He even admitted his issues he had growing up last year in Giant Magazine. Also, not to be left out, Rihanna admitted that her life wasn’t a crystal stair either in another Giant Magazine interview.

What I find even more interesting is that both Chris & Rihanna grew up in households with both parents, which goes back to many of the comments that were made on my post, “Where Have All The Black Fathers Gone?”, that stated even when there are two parents in a household, dysfunction can still exist.

Could this incident have been prevented?

I actually think it could have. Instead of throwing a young kid into karate lessons, to teach them how to defend themselves with more violence, I feel that maybe Chris Brown, like so many other children who witnessed their parents being abused, were done a disservice by not putting them in therapy/counseling.

So many people, especially African-Americans, feel that there is a negative stigma tied to therapy, but sometimes this is the only thing to heal a ‘battered mind & body’. Hopefully after all of the gossip, drama & legal proceedings past, both Chris Brown & Rihanna, will get the help they both seem to need to deal with a childhood that a child should never be subjected to.

If you know of anyone who is being abused, pass on this number to them or make the call yourself:

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

The National Domestic Violence Hotline answers more than 19,500 calls per month from victims, survivors, friends and family members, law enforcement personnel, domestic violence advocates and the general public. Hotline advocates provide support and assistance to anyone involved in a domestic violence situation, including those in same-sex relationships, male survivors, those with disabilities and immigrant victims of domestic violence. All calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline are anonymous and confidentia

  1. February 11, 2009 - Reply

    The mentality behind attempts to justify Chris’ behavior are seriously disappointing, and surprise the hell out of me.
    It’s unfortunate he grew up witnessing his mother being battered and I hope he’ll seek counseling now, but you’re right, he is ‘Adult Chris Brown’, not a poor child to give a pass to.
    I hope Rihanna will get the counseling she needs and provide a service to herself and the young sisters watching her, by leaving her relationship. If a man hits a woman once. He will do it again.
    Shine on
    -PZ

    • February 11, 2009 - Reply

      @PurpleZoe

      It surprises me when I hear my own friends & family justifying it. I’m like damn, makes me wonder how they would feel if a family member was in the same predicament.

  2. February 11, 2009 - Reply

    I was thinking the same thing (that Chris Brown saw his mother abused as a child). This is definitely a terrible situtation. I was just telling my sister (and actually thinking about blogging on the subject) of teen couples and abuse. It’s not talked about much, but it really need to be addressed. I hope that Rhianna gets counseling and that Chris goes to anger management therapy.

    • February 11, 2009 - Reply

      @Diamond~Star

      Teens in abusive relationships is definitely an issue that’s rarely talked about. I remember seeing girls in highschool getting grabbed and man handled by their boyfriends, only to have people just watch and laugh at it…it comes to a point, when if it’s done soo much, that they’ll think it’s the norm.

  3. February 11, 2009 - Reply

    I sincerely hate that this incident occurred. Both Chris and Rihanna have such promising careers. I hope that Chris seeks help, because striking a woman is just not tolerated! He will forever be known as an abuser, whether or not he changes for the better. This stigma will be held over his head for the rest of his life.

    • February 12, 2009 - Reply

      @Soulrific

      Both of them had less than stellar childhoods, so who knows what they seem to deem acceptable in a relationship. Yes, the stigma will always be tied to him regardless of the outcome.

  4. February 11, 2009 - Reply

    This really is a disturbing situation. I tend to believe that witnessing abuse growing up leads to this. Of course, this doesn’t apply across the board but sometimes I think people exhibit the behavior they’ve grown to despise in others.
    Sorry, this may not make a lot of sense…I’m so sleepy :-(!

    • February 12, 2009 - Reply

      @curvygurl

      it makes absolute sense…but like you said, it’s not always across the board..i have family & friends who witnessed abuse growing up and the find it deplorable.

  5. February 11, 2009 - Reply

    OK…I had to come back…
    Why did a local dj make the comment that “we don’t know who hit who first”… WTF!?!?! This is one of the problems with the black community…quick to come to the defense of deplorable behavior and co-sign on things that shouldn’t be tolerated. Unbelievable.

    • February 12, 2009 - Reply

      @curvygurl

      Please let me know which DJ this was??

  6. February 12, 2009 - Reply

    I have been really appalled at the response from women about the Chris Brown situation. Reading comments on blogs, hearing on the radio and even from my own mother, who said that the police reports of Rihanna’s injuries were “probably being exaggerated”, her stay in the hospital was her “playing it up” and like your cousin “Poor Chris Brown”. I was disgusted at my own mother and I let her know it.
    We dont have all the facts, but for a woman to have strangulation marks on her neck, a bloody nose and a black eye, and the response to be “supposedly she gave him herpes” is just reflective to me of why some black women get treated badly, we allow it.

    • February 12, 2009 - Reply

      @wandarful

      You are right, the facts are not out, but only one person ended up in the ER.

  7. February 12, 2009 - Reply

    Hey Fungke,
    I came across this site that has a pic of Rihanna’s injury on the home page http://www.theundergroundcity.com/home.html

    • February 12, 2009 - Reply

      @Cuzzo

      Hmmm..I’m not sure how authentic that photo is…it looks a little photoshopped to me.

  8. February 13, 2009 - Reply

    ahhh, u may be onto something.

  9. February 18, 2009 - Reply

    Oh wow. I’m sad tonight. Yesterday I learned my friend is creating this wonderful site violence unsilenced http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article5753440.ece. Today I read this (and ohhh, those horrible disc jockey comments. wow) and now the tv executive beheading his wife. wow. why are we so, so ill as a people? hard to sleep tonight.
    This is a wonderful blog btw. I’ve been lurking and will be back.

  10. February 19, 2009 - Reply

    hii
    too sensible an article. I saw this video..very touching.. god save all these women

  11. February 27, 2009 - Reply

    Hello there,
    I think that there are many women who have been battered emotionally in childhood by being exposed to their mother’s or father’s dysfunctional life choices… violence is such a common aspect of the life of many black children in the lower class tiers.
    It is a shame that this young woman stayed in an abusive relationship as long as she did….this beating WAS NOT her first one…that is obvious.
    Chris did not just fly off of the handle this one time…men who abuse physically are ALWAYS mentally and emotionally abusive as well…always.
    I hope she gets help… Halle Berry spoke about HER own battery incident with Wesley Snipes and he hit her so hard that she is now deaf in one ear….

  12. March 10, 2009 - Reply

    You know one of the things that is really making me upset about this whole ordeal. Is the fact with all that is being said about both parties involved, no one is paying attention to the fact that what they are doing and saying could possibly make things worse. Yes he was wrong no doubt, but after going through this and his past, he may come out even angrier. He could fall into depression which we all know can get so deep, all types of things develop, drug habits, schizophrenia, mental and spiritual dilapidation. They are not watching their words spoken , which have power, seeing all the hate and people who once loved him now despise him, he could spiral into self hate and become more abusive. Not saying he should be coddled, But handled the right way he could come out a winner, change and be mentally healthy and productive. He already knows what he did is deplorable he doesn’t need to be told that, he needs proper help not more damaging help from people and their empty rhetoric. People are dooming him to hell, and ending his life and it just got started he is only 19 he still has a chance to grow. No he isnt a man YET so bump his age. He is a child who has room to receive more guidance.
    Rhianna doesn’t need to be called stupid, calling her that is immature. She needs help as well, she needs mental and spiritual healing. If you listen to her songs and watch her actions you can see, she had some stuff going on too, she has had pain to be so young and heartbroken. Yes she might have been hot tempered enough to hit him, he was DEAD wrong. She also doesn’t need people coddling her and making her feel like she is a victim, cause she walked away she is a survivor. Counseling hell yeah, but not for what happened between her and Chris, that is later, she needs healing from what happened in her past which is the root of what she is going through, THEN she can handle her present. If her past hurt, pain, mental images, frustrations, and all else, if they are not dealt with, her Chris Brown issue will be resolved only to resurface again , or in another manner, because the root is still growing.

  13. March 10, 2009 - Reply

    It is horrible when woman get hit no doubt, but I feel more pain when a women is abused who never utters a bad word, she does all that is required and gets blasted on by her mate, she does nothing to prove him at all but yet she is beat. They are not aloud to live, leave or otherwise act of their own accord, they are controlled, they get hit for nothing absolutely nothing at all, they have to hide they are afraid. They know he is coming and they go crazy making sure every thing is just so right, so his trigger isn’t set off, because they know he doesn’t argue first he hits first.
    Now lets look at the flip side of this, why is no one teaching young women, YES have a voice but be mindful of how you use it. You cannot send the message to young women that it is ok to hit men either, nor be up in a mans face, talking smack, or degrading him. Some women not all , but some women need to take responsibility for their actions, I am NOT and advocate for violence against woman not by a long shot. But at some point a women needs to be told she talks to much Sh*t.
    Women do still need to learn how to keep their hands to themselves and not depend on a man to be responsible enough and hold back his actions, if you are not responsible and mature enough to hold back yours. Woman give to much power to men and assume they will be strong enough to withstand a slew of harsh words, and a laying on of hands smacking them, NO WOMEN, most men WILL NOT stand there and be hit nor verbally assaulted, and you need to be really aware of who you are dealing with and not assume they have the capacity to NOT hit back.
    Men have their issues of insecurity and though they act all bug and though they can be just as mentally and spiritually weak / sensitive as woman, abusive men LACK the ability to control themselves, but again if you intend to raise your hand to a big dude, and trust he wont hit you back, you are taking a serious risk.

  14. March 10, 2009 - Reply

    Forgive me for being wordy my inner preacher/counselor popped up.

  15. July 22, 2009 - Reply

    I once tried getting my parents to get me a therapist and failed. Well, my mom can't really afford it and my father thinks that's a “white man's thing” and that it's uneccessary. In all honesty he needs therapy more than anyone I know. My parents are divorced now and have been for quite some time but when they were together my father abused my mother. I think I could still do with some therapy because there are still some issues stemming from watching their relationship fail that I have carried with me but I have been able to do some self-therapy with the help of God of course but most people are unable to pinpoint the events and situations leading to their emotional turmoil and also decipher what impact that has had on their mentality and relationships with others. Thankfully, I have been able to do a lot of that alone but I think a lot of black people need to be more open to therapy and when I get older I will definitely get a therapist. Even if you think you're happy, I think it's good to see one every once in a while just to help you deal with things and learn how to deal with emotions and stuff better.

  16. July 23, 2009 - Reply

    I once tried getting my parents to get me a therapist and failed. Well, my mom can't really afford it and my father thinks that's a “white man's thing” and that it's uneccessary. In all honesty he needs therapy more than anyone I know. My parents are divorced now and have been for quite some time but when they were together my father abused my mother. I think I could still do with some therapy because there are still some issues stemming from watching their relationship fail that I have carried with me but I have been able to do some self-therapy with the help of God of course but most people are unable to pinpoint the events and situations leading to their emotional turmoil and also decipher what impact that has had on their mentality and relationships with others. Thankfully, I have been able to do a lot of that alone but I think a lot of black people need to be more open to therapy and when I get older I will definitely get a therapist. Even if you think you're happy, I think it's good to see one every once in a while just to help you deal with things and learn how to deal with emotions and stuff better.

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