Thursday, March 5, 2009

It Just Gets Worse

So the police report stemming from the Chris Brown/Rihanna assault has hit the press. It's B-A-D, and reading it is chilling. Brown has been charged with two felonies, and there is no way to spin it. Meanwhile, credible publications are saying that the two kids are back together. That isn't surprising — but if even a third of what the report says is true, it is frightening.

The obvious: If the allegations are true, Brown ought to go directly to jail. I don't want to hear comments like, "Well, sometimes you get caught out there, and everybody makes mistakes. They need to work it out." Hitting your significant other until s/he is bloody and then putting them in a chokehold isn't a "mistake." It's a violent crime. Unless she had a gun to his head and threatened, unprovoked, to pull the trigger, there is no excuse for him hitting her. If he did it once (and according to reports, she said it wasn't the first time), he'll do it again. That's what abusers eventually do after the victim accepts their apologies and takes them back.

Putting all of that aside, reuniting with an allegedly abusive lover isn't a great career move, either. As a performer, Rihanna has an edgy, strong-young-woman image that isn't exactly helped by taking her alleged attacker back. I'm guessing her fans will range from disappointed to baffled, and the questions will be unavoidable unless she's planning to retire early or become a recluse.

Why does this matter? Rihanna has given domestic violence a high-profile face. I'm sure she'd rather not have her personal turmoil turned into a teachable moment, but that's one of the few good things that might come of this.

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