In case you haven’t heard the reports about R&B megacouple Chris Brown and Rihanna:
“Singer Chris Brown has been booked on a felony charge of making criminal threats after turning himself in to Los Angeles police.
Brown, 19, was arrested at 6:30 PM Sunday and stands accused of felony battery, in which the alleged victim suffered visible injuries…Bail has been set at $50,000.
Both Chris and Rihanna bailed on their Grammy performances after the incident leading to Brown’s arrest. It remains unconfirmed whether Rihanna was the victim…”
While the LA Times says its “sources” have confirmed that Rihanna is the alleged victim in this case, neither Brown nor Rihanna have confirmed that.
So I’m not gonna comment on the personal lives of people I’ve never met (no matter how much I like the song We Ride, I have to admit Rihanna is not actually my friend). It’s still unconfirmed what actually happened.
But this is what I do think: if it is actually true that Chris Brown hit Rihanna in the face, I am slightly in awe of the courage it must’ve taken for Rihanna to report the incident.
Incidents of violence against women committed by their intimate partners are widely under-reported. The culture of silence cuts across ethnic communities, though it manifests itself differently depending on the ethnic group. One thing that’s for sure is that when a high-profile man is involved, pressure to keep quiet is enormous. Latoya at Racialicious links to Liza Rios’ disturbing account of her husband Christopher Rios, A.K.A. Big Pun’s, violence. (That’s right ladies, I guess I won’t be dancing to “Still Not A Player” any time soon.)
And when the victim is a high-profile woman, there’s even more on the line.
Of course, we could argue that if Rihanna is the victim, it’s much easier for a powerful, obscenely rich pop star to go to the police than it might be for a working-class mum.
Whichever way you look at it though, one of the greatest weapons of male violence is its ability to keep itself hidden, even while it is a global epidemic. We need to support and applaud the women who are able to come forward - and stand in solidarity with those who can’t.