By Hannah Sherman, JWI Intern
I have a confession to make: I’m that awkward person, singing and dancing in the car that you pull up next to at the intersection. While I can’t help but belt out (quite out of key, let me assure you) the tunes that come through the car stereo, one artist has made me reconsider if I truly want to be singing his songs.
When news broke three years ago that Chris Brown physically assaulted Rihanna, I was shocked. It may have been naïve at the time, but I thought celebrities were immune from the problems of the “normal” folk. This incident quickly took the issue of teen dating violence to an international, public stage, proving to the world that this is a serious issue that needs to be recognized.
While in the immediate aftermath Chris Brown faced massive media backlash, this year’s Grammy Awards welcomed him back, allowing him to perform on the same stage that Rihanna would perform on later that evening. The most shocking and horrifying part of the evening was not even that Chris Brown was allowed to perform, but the way in which his fans reacted on twitter.
Now call me crazy, but being physically abused isn’t something that I would ever wish upon myself. While I would have thought most people would agree with my sentiment on the matter, it seems as if some of his fans not only excuse his violent past, and even make light of it. In a horrifying selection of tweets, young women expressed that Brown could ‘beat them anytime’, one going to far as to posit, “Do you realize that it would be an honor if he hit you?”
In a blog for the Orlando Sentinel, Lisa Cianci writes, “Where have we gone wrong as a society when girls think it’s OK to be hit if the guy is hot?” If we start legitimizing violence, we only make it more acceptable. Contemporary media and society are desensitizing youth to abuse, breeding this culture where violence is glamorized. If we don’t make changes to the ways in which the media deals with domestic violence, we risk the endless perpetuation of teen dating violence.