This morning and all week, pop superstar Rihanna has opened up at long last about the violent outburst she infamously endured at the hands of fellow star and then-boyfriend, Chris Brown.
She spoke with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America this morning, and was interviewed for Glamour this month, saying that she felt ashamed for falling in love with someone who would then hurt her and admitting that she initially went back to Brown after the incident. The full interview will air Friday night on 20/20.
As we’ve discussed before at RHRC, the settling dust on this high-profile story has made all the doubters, the victim-blamers and the "two sides of the story" folks look like the silly misogynists they were.
Now Rihanna’s frankness in connecting her story to that of other women suffering domestic abuse, and her acknowledgment of the fact that her status as a role model helped motivate her to break from Brown, is as much as the feminist community could ask of her. She told Sawyer:
“When I realized that my selfish decision for love could result in some young girl getting killed, I could not be easy with that."
It’s a noble–extremely noble–sentiment. But ulimately the responsibility didn’t lie with her: it lay with Brown not to hit her.
The public has largely turned on Brown, and no number of interviews he gives will repair his image. Still, I remain troubled by the endless media focus on Rihanna as a quintessential "woman in pain," and the debate over why she chose to stay with Brown. Instead, we should be having a raw discussion about the abusers in our midst and how our society allows and even cultivates this scourge.
Great commentary from around the blogosphere: