As a Survivor of Abuse, It Horrifies Me to See Chris Brown's Victim-Blaming Actually Working

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It's been eight years since Chris Brown got a storm of media attention for brutally beating his then-girlfriend Rihanna. After a photo of Rihanna's swollen, bruised face circulated, Brown was eventually sentenced to five years of probation, one year of domestic violence counseling, and six months of community service. Now, the musician has decided to readdress the incident in his new documentary, Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life, which has already been deleted from YouTube and Facebook.

  • In the video, Brown revisits his account of the event, stating that Rihanna found out he was cheating and "starts going off."

    chris brown and rihanna
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    According to him: 

    "She throws the phone, 'I hate you!', whatever, whatever, she starts hitting me, we're in a little Lamborghini, you know she's fighting me.

    Like I remember she tried to kick me, just like her beating shit, but then I really hit her. With a closed fist, like I punched her, and it busted her lip, and when I saw it I was in shock, I was 'fuck, why did I hit her like that?'

    So from there she's ... spitting blood in my face, it raised me even more. It's a real fight in the car, and we driving in the street."

    He also said Rihanna grabbed his crotch while trying to get his phone, so he bit her on the arm. "I'm just trying to resolve the situation, I'm not trying to fight any further, like I love her, I don't want to hurt my girlfriend."

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  • However, many people are forgetting about Rihanna’s side of the story, which is far more chilling than that.

    Nine months after the assault, Rihanna gave Diane Sawyer her point of view.

    She said:

    "I fended him off with my feet. He had no soul in his eyes. Just blank. He was clearly blacked out. There was no person when I looked at him. It was almost as if he had nothing to lose. He had so much to lose. It wasn't the same person that says I love you. It definitely wasn't those eyes."

    So, why is it that so many people are focusing on Brown's current retelling of the story? 

    This is what abusive men do. They downplay the situation or their role in the situation in order to look like less of a "bad guy." They often come off as charming or non-threatening. They know how to communicate with people in public and show off their best qualities. Rihanna didn't fall for him in the first place because he treated her like garbage. No, I'm sure he came off as sweet and thoughtful ... in the beginning.

  • How would I know this? Because Chris Brown reminds me a lot of my ex-boyfriend.

    chris brown
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    I can still remember my ex's smile and charm. But, I can also remember the night of my high school graduation party when he got so angry that he punched dents in my car. He became so violent that night that even his friends didn't want me to leave with him.

    A few years later, after our relationship had caused me to cut off all my friends and most of my family, I was staying with him for a short period of time. One night, an argument about who-knows-what led him to choke me and push me down so hard that I had a huge scratch down my back. 

    I may have never had a swollen face like Rihanna, but I can tell you that the mental aspect causes a whole lot more pain than the physical does. 

    Most of our fights would stem from trust issues or my accusing him of being unfaithful -- much like Rihanna. The problem is, men who behave this way often give us reason to question them. The mind games, mental neglect, and feeling that you're not good enough can make you feel even more shitty and worthless than a physical punch can. 

  • And not only is Brown victim-blaming, but many of his fans are also taking part in it.

  • Many fans are also willing to forgive and forget.

  • It is important to remember that an abuser's side of the story will ALWAYS discredit the abused to some degree.

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    My ex was a mastermind at making himself look like the "better" half of a couple to my friends and family. 

    For example, if one of our mutual friends asked why I wasn't coming to his or her party, the excuse my ex would give was that I had homework or didn't want to because I was "boring." In reality, he wouldn't allow me to go. He would make comments about my outfit, my weight, or claim that I was smothering him by wanting to join him and our friends.

    I can still recall every piece of clothing that I threw in the trash because he said I didn't look good in them. Although I thought it was my fault for gaining too much weight or being "too needy," he really just wanted to keep me isolated. He was keeping me from outing him while he displayed his least authentic self. 

    Eventually, friends stopped asking about me. Stopped caring where I was. Even if they witnessed him yelling at me, insulting me, or getting aggressive, if I wasn't going to leave him then it wasn't a big deal. 

  • For those who still cannot see the harm in Brown's recent comments, you should remember how common abuse is.

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    Physical, verbal, or mental abuse can have a lifelong effect on someone's life. 

    According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Abuse, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.

    It is also important to note that only a little over half of cases are actually reported to authorities, according to the Department of Justice. In a 2015 US News article, it was reported that in addition to these crimes being highly under-reported, only about a third of victims injured in domestic violence receive medical care.

    More from CafeMom7 Steps to Leaving an Abusive Relationship Safely

  • Men like Chris Brown and my ex can and should receive help, but it's important to remember that it's not the victim's job to try to change them.

    domestic abuse

    They can't change unless they are fully willing to work on it for themselves, and Brown's victim-blaming shows that he is certainly not even close to being ready to acknowledge the real problem.

  • However, the more people who speak up and receive support, the more others will feel comfortable in coming forward.

    taylor swift
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    There was a surge in reports of sexual assaults after Taylor Swift's recent victory where she exposed a former radio DJ for inappropriately groping her.

    More from CafeMom: This Twitter User Nails Exactly Why Taylor Swift's Sexual Assault Lawsuit Matters

    No matter if it's sexual, verbal, financial, mental, or physical abuse, it's important for us to get ourselves out of dangerous situations and support others who are in them.

    Part of the reason that I stayed with my ex for years is because I felt like I had no one else who really cared about me. Of course, that wasn't true. People will often get sick of it when someone continuously returns to a toxic relationship, but do your best to remain supportive as much as possible. Having someone to turn to without judgment can make all the difference. 

  • A lot of years can be wasted in pain and hurt if you remain in an abusive relationship.

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    Don't allow a man, woman, or anyone to defeat you -- you deserve SO much better than that. 

    If you or someone you know is in need of help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.