Monday, March 2, 2009

Please Don’t Judge the Victim

I’ve followed the Chris Brown and Rihanna story pretty closely for the past few weeks. I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of either one of them, although I do like Rihanna’s Umbrella (but hey, let’s be honest ~ who doesn’t?!?) and Chris Brown has a duet with Jordin Sparks (No Air) that I love. After contemplating blogging about this horrible incident for the past several days and after hearing reports that the two reconciled over the weekend, I decided to write and share my feelings on the subject.

I can’t help but feel sympathy for Rihanna that this horrible thing that happened to her was not only made public hours after it happened, but that it has been splashed around by the media since then. Yes, celebrities know that when they sign up for a life of fame, they often lose a great deal of privacy. But when something awful like this happens, they need the privacy and respect that any one of us would receive if we were in the same situation. Can’t we just let her deal with it in peace?

I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for four years. The guy I was with was unfaithful for the better part of our relationship, and had me completely convinced that no one else would ever want me if we broke up. He belittled me and had little regard for my feelings, wishes, or well~being. Words cannot express the pain I felt each time I learned of a new indiscretion. But I loved him, and continued to love him in spite of all the pain he caused me. And he proclaimed over and over that he loved me despite his actions that pointed to the contrary. So I stayed with him. I was unhappy, but was afraid of being alone so staying with him seemed like the only option. I finally gained the strength to leave, and I am thankful every day that I did.

Now I’m not saying that emotional abuse compares to physical abuse. Physical abuse at the hands of a husband or boyfriend may be one of the worst things any woman ever has to deal with. But emotional abuse leaves scars too, and the reasons why someone might stay with an abuser are the same regardless of whether the abuse is physical or emotional. I can imagine that many abusers make the same pleas ~ “I love you so much,” “I can change if you only give me another chance,” “It will never happen again.” And the thing that people on the outside don’t understand is that it is so easy to believe these statements despite how cliché they sound because you WANT to believe them. You want to trust that this man you love WON’T hurt you again, that he does love you, and that he can change. And no amount of convincing or persuading on the part of family and loved ones will help you see otherwise until you are ready to see it yourself.

Please don’t judge Rihanna, or any other victim of abuse you know who has reconciled with her abuser. And don’t think she’s stupid for staying ~ she may feel like she has no other choice. Just pray for her that she will one day have the strength to leave. And be there to give her love and support when she does (but continue to love her and support her even if she doesn’t).


Amanda said...

I think that was very well said and very honest. I agree with you 100%. They just need to leave her alone and stop judging her.

jenjen said...

Great post Heather. I have never been in an abusive relationship, but I think we need to stay out of their business.