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Rihanna: Abuse has No Place In Love

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Dr. Ernest Levister, Jr
The photographs of a battered Rihanna were shocking –but the fact that a ‘love smitten’ young girl is being abused by her boyfriend is not. As extraordinary as Rihanna might be as a performer, her decision to take her alleged batterer/ boyfriend Chris Brown back is actually quite ordinary.

Every day, across America, women are beaten to a pulp by their boyfriends (roughly 13,000 incidents per day are reported to police) in most cases the victim chooses to excuse their inexcusable behavior.

According to the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, it’s not surprising that Brown 19, and Rihanna, who turned 21 last week, were involved in a violent dust up. Young people between the ages of 16-24 experience the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence in the nation.

U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics confirm, an astounding one in three teens report having been abused by an intimate partner, or having a friend who has been abused.

Brown could very easily be a good man who did a bad thing. He says he’s sorry and is getting counseling from his pastor and family members. Reportedly the couple has reconciled. It should be made clear that while clergy and family can be a wealth of support, behavior of this nature must be addressed by a licensed mental health professional.  Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey has warned Rihanna against reconciling.  Her message ‘He will hit you again’ is on target. Too often communities of color choose to turn a blind eye to young abusive brothers citing stress from poverty, celebrity, dysfunction at home, intoxication, drug use, jealously, break up, mental instability, etc.  Domestic violence is disrespectful and inexcusable.

It’s time for our communities to join Oprah in speaking out against abusive relationships. Young males (Black males in particular) need to learn that growing up watching your father beat your mother (as Brown admitted on the Tyra Banks show) may establish a destructive social norm, thus making you believe that violence is appropriate in male/female relationships.

Young girls need to learn about the health implications and serious consequences (criminal and social) for brothers who choose to beat up their partners.

No woman should ever have to withstand domestic abuse—especially at the hands of someone who claims to love them. Simply put – Abuse has no place in love!

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