"Oh, man, I can’t believe he hit Rihanna!”
This is what my daughter said to me this morning as we were getting ready for school. I listened to her talk about how low it was for Chris Brown to do this and how no one should ever hit Rihanna, and then I calmly turned toward her, and I said, “No man should ever hit a woman.”
Then my son said, “Man is my friend going to be upset. She just loves Chris Brown; this is going to blow her mind. What a creep!”
At first, I was a little irked. The fact that it was a celebrity situation that was making my son and my daughter think about domestic abuse for the first time in a long while was annoying. During the few times we have had to discuss my situation and their father’s violent issues, they’ve flinched. But this morning they are both talking openly about how appalling it is for this celebrity man to hit this celebrity woman.
But when I thought about it further, I realized that it is often the celebrities that bring important issues back up to the forefront of the public’s eye. If it takes Chris Brown hitting Rihanna to make us take a closer look at the horror and consequential damage that domestic abuse has on the adults and the children involved, then I’m all for it. But it is sad to think that my own children find this behavior disgusting and completely unacceptable for a celebrity couple, but don’t want to deal with the fact that their father hit their mother.
I’m expecting too much from them, I know. They are only 12 and 13, and they do love their father, and, despite what he did to me, I want them to have a relationship with him, if it doesn’t involve his fist in or anywhere near or around their sweet little faces.
Am I crazy for allowing them to go visit him? Do men who batter their wives batter their children if the wife, who is now the ex, isn’t around? You tell me.
And should we feel badly for Rihanna but be thankful that the taboo topic of domestic abuse will be in the limelight once again. I think of Mindy Macready and Whitney Houston and how their situations sparked wide public interest into their abusive relationships with their partners and domestic abuse as a whole. But were we viewing this for our own voyeuristic pleasure, or did we really care?
I know that I care, not about one celebrity couple’s abuse issues, but about all women and men who have been violently abused by their partners. If you know of someone or if you are a victim of abuse, there is national hotline you can call to receive help. That number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit their web site. Don’t let us wait for celebrities to remind us and prompt us to take action against this wretched and devastating form of abuse.