Rihanna, for all of her beauty and talent, has become the poster-child for partner abuse and it's issues. I feel so sorry for her. What was done to her and her relationship has come to overshadow her many accomplishments in the public eye.
I don't condone abuse. Does anyone taken seriously condone abuse? But, somehow, we continue to blame victims. This is so destructive.
Abuse victims have a hard road. Manipulation and control can feel so much like love. Abusers are well versed at making their victims feel like they don't deserve better. I know that in my personal situation, my abuser was the master at convincing me that I was unattractive, unintelligent, unlovable, but he loved me. It was incredibly effective at making me feel like I was not valuable in the world, but I was valuable to him.
While I clung to him and felt like the pain was somehow perfection and he would do anything for me, in reality he felt like he could do anything TO me. He was the nice guy. The hero. He would never intentionally do anything wrong. But me? I was flawed. And my flaws meant that I was a horrible person. If he was hurt, I had done it intentionally. But he loved me anyway! How could I not love this man who was willing to love such a monster?
Rediscovering how wonderful I am and what flaws my abuser has didn't happen until he was gone. I could never have figured that out while I was in something that felt that special...and isolated.
But as a culture, we help those isolating abusers. Check out this article about Rihanna from February 7:
"She's a disgrace to women"
A disgrace to women? Yeah, we all think she needs to get out of the abusive relationship. But, calling her a disgrace to women isn't helping. Why do we think she needs to get out of that relationship? Not because she's a disgrace to women. It's because she's a beautiful, talented woman who we see other girls looking up to. She's a role model, a beauty, and talented. THIS is why she should get out. And THIS is how she gets out.
Only when Rihanna realizes that what she has with Chris Brown is "special" only because he makes her feel like she could never feel that loved by anyone else will she be able to get out. She has to first realize that she IS a beautiful, talented, amazing woman who can feel that loved by any number of respectful, wonderful people. Because she really is that great. And she has to realize that the "special" she feels is amped with a little fear and a little confusion. Feeling special without those things is actually so much better.
But having society scorn her. Having articles about how she's a disgrace. Having society know her as a victim instead of an amazing person. These are all great ways to make the "love" she feels coming from Chris Brown feel safer than going out into the wolves without him.