I am appalled by the number of people, especially young women, who think that Rihanna somehow deserved what she got. Nobody ever "asks for it!" Chris Brown chose to beat Rihanna to a bloody pulp. He absolutely is an abuser. Rihanna, on the other hand, has the enabling “I love him and maybe he’ll change” syndrome. Face it - he will not change. He chose to do what he did and he is absolutely and always responsible for his actions. Don’t make excuses for him.
On the other hand, abusers are pros at making excuses for themselves. Poor me! I was poor! I was abused! I was mistreated! Puhlease - a bunch of immature whiners! An abuser who blames his childhood and/or his victims would be like Bernie Madoff blaming his Ponzi scheme on childhood poverty and/or his victims who trusted him with their money.
Many people have had problems, but most people also don't use them as an excuse to hurt other people. Abusers, on the other hand, use excuses as their justification for hurting others. Blaming others for their actions is also a strategy commonly employed by murderers and other criminals found in our prisons.
People are responsible for the abuse they rain down upon others, no matter how bad their childhood. Everyone, children over 7 (when most courts agree they understand right from wrong) and adults, male and female, is responsible for their own actions. The more we say, poor man or poor boy, the more we enable abusers. No one can make anyone abuse them; abuse is a choice! Abusers must be forced to take responsibility and be held accountable for their own actions, and others should stop enabling their behavior, or we'll never see an end to the cycle of abuse.
Abuse should also not be a predominantly female conversation. This is so important because many children come from single-parent homes in which the mother is the sole support. There is often little to no contact with a father figure, so positive male role models are desperately needed. It would be wonderful to see non-abusive men get more involved in the conversation and to also stand up to men who abuse. I believe men who set a good example should be recognized and asked to give talks to groups of young people on the positive expectations of behavior and problem-solving in a relationship.
Let us all please work together to stop the cycle of abuse and violence!
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