Yesterday marked the 100th International Women’s Day. And we, the mothers, sisters, girlfriends and wives, daughters and grandmothers of planet earth are in danger. And it’s only getting worse. Globally, every 1 out of 3 of us will be victims of domestic abuse. Nationally, the number is 1 in 4. And as we spiral deeper into an economic cesspool, the numbers will undoubtedly get worse; when men are stressed out, women tend to bear the brunt—literally—of their shortcomings. Violence against women is a global issue. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
No country is immune to the devastating physical and emotional effects of violence. Each year, it results in over 1.6 million deaths worldwide — 96% of which occur in low- and middle-income countries. Violence is among the leading causes of death in all parts of the world for those ages 15 to 44.
One of the most alarming facts, though, is that most cases of domestic violence go unreported. Women go back to their victimizers for all sorts of reasons, mainly though, because they think that they won’t find love elsewhere. Sometimes, we accept abuse as normal because we’ve seen our mothers catch severe beatdowns from their husbands and boyfriends. But abuse of any kind against women is unacceptable: whether it’s emotional, verbal or physical. Men who attack women should be punished to the highest extent of the law. These men aren’t sorry for anything else but being caught. Celebrities—Chris Brown wasn’t the first or second celebrity to viciously assault his girlfriend—should be held to the same standard.
I was shocked, momentarily, to hear that Sean Combs had offered his Miami mansion up to Rihanna, 21, and Chris Brown, 19, to talk things out. The responsible thing for him to have offered to the pair was counseling for him, and a plane ticket ticket to somewhere she could be alone, regroup and receive counseling. But then I realized that it was stupid for me to be shocked about something that men have been getting away with since, like forever. And besides, too many people are making money off of them: mess that up and many people stop eating.
When the incident first happened, Kanye West told MTV: “Just as a person, I don’t care how famous she is or even if she just worked at McDonald’s … it should never come to that place,” and then was reportedly quoted as saying, at a February 13 taping for VH1’s Storytellers,”Can’t we give Chris a break?…I know he made mistakes in his life.” Sadly, other people, ranging from rapper 50 Cent to some of my folks on my Twitter feed, have also had let-bygones-be laissez faire attitudes about domestic violence.
Even if half of what the detective’s affidavit said was true, my skin crawled when I imagined the blood in Rihanna’s mouth splattering out as Chris Brown, a marital artist, punched her time and time again. This is the same dude who is still up for, in the best song category—incidentally, so is Rihanna—for the forthcoming Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards. WTF?! I don’t want my kid, a twelve year old girl, choosing him! Ever. If that’s not a mixed message to send out to children all over the country, then I don’t what is. (Speaking of which, I’m working on a piece about how this is affecting children’s attitudes about gender violence: stay tuned).
Who cares who started the fight? Just walk away. Stop the car. Get out. Walk away. Leave. Break up. Move on.
If you or someone you know is getting abused, please try and get help. Report it.
Call the NATIONAL DOMESTIC HOTLINE
1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 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 confidential.
Hotline Services Include:
- Crisis intervention, safety planning, information about domestic violence and referrals to local service providers
- A direct connection to domestic violence resources available in the caller’s area provided by a Hotline advocate
- Assistance in both English and Spanish with Hotline advocates having access to more than 170 different languages through interpreter services
- Assistance through e-mail on the contact page.
- Informational materials on such topics as domestic violence, sexual assault, battering intervention and prevention programs, working through the criminal justice system and related issues