In an exclusive interview on Good Morning America earlier today, domestic abuse victim and singer Rihanna, broke her silence to anchor Diane Sawyer. The piece was a teaser for tomorrow night’s edition of 20/20, starting at 10pm, in where the pop princess will reveal what her private life was like with her abuser, the equally famous singer Chris Brown. In the interview, she confesses to going back to Brown “8 or 9” times before the story broke that he beat her down to a pulp. Since, Brown has publicly apologized for abusing Rihanna. But still, his career suffered due to the shattering of his squeaky clean public image.
Rihanna tells Sawyer: “That’s embarrassing — that’s the type of person I fell in love with. So far in love, so unconditional, that I went back. That’s not what I want to teach people.”
Earlier this year, I was shocked—but, not really—to hear how apathetic people’s attitudes were about domestic violence and how acrimonious they felt towards Rihanna. I interviewed a group of 7th and 8th graders at a school in east Harlem after the attack for the Village Voice. The consensus: she shouldn’t have incited him. Somehow, Rihanna “provoked” the assault, which left her bloodied, bitten and bruised.
I caught The Wendy Williams show while at the gym and was floored—for, like a second—when an audience member who professed to be a mother (of daughters) stated that she was irritated by people “jumping” on Chris Brown because, well, “he’s talented.” I think she got it all wrong. It was Chris Brown, in fact, who quite literally “jumped” on Rihanna. This send out a dangerous message to women and young girls around the country: if you speak up and expose your abuser, you are somehow to blame for airing your dirty laundry. And if you’re a man or boy, you too aren’t expected to exercise self-control if a woman somehow “provokes” you. Especially if you become famous. Or at least can sing.