Chris Brown, Emma Roberts And The Growing Issue Of Relationship Violence

Chris Brown, Emma Roberts And The Growing Issue Of Relationship Violence

It's time to break the cycle of emotional and physical relationship abuse
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Domestic violence is an issue that affects people of all ages, classes, genders, race and regions. According to US Department of Justice, women aged 16-24 experience the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence.

It could be you, me, a family member or even a celebrity. Regardless, we are not alone, and this growing problem on college campuses and in life calls for action of change--not for acceptance.

In 2009, the relationship between celebrities Chris Brown and Rihanna splashed across the pages of every tabloid when Brown was reported to have choked the pop star until she was unconscious. In addition, TMZ reported that after the incident, Rihanna was left with major "contusions on both sides of the singer’s face, a black eye, a split lip, bloody nose and bite marks on one of her arms and on several fingers."

Brown was arrested, and less than a month later, Rihanna was back with Brown vacationing in St. Barths.

In 2013, actress Emma Roberts was arrested for domestic violence when her and her "American Horror Story" boyfriend, Evan Peters, were overheard by their Montreal hotel room neighbors fighting. When the police arrived, Peters had a bloody nose and bite marks on him. TMZ reported that Peters did not press charges, and the couple was back together within a month. The two have been off and on ever since.

One in three U.S. adolescents is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, and 43 percent of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors, including physical, sexual, tech, verbal and controlling abuse.

More than half of abusive relationships reconcile within three months of breaking up.

Rihanna said that she got back together with Brown because she "thought she could change him after the beating." According to Campus Safety Magazine, most people believe this, but honey, you can't. He or she is who he or she is, and an apology (or many apologies) won't change that.

I know, I know...you love him/her, but love is about partners promoting the best versions of one another, not physically and emotionally tearing them down. If you are scared for your own or his/her safety after a break up, report it to your campus security and they will guide you through the steps.

Here's the number one issue: people have accepted relationship abuse as normal. Those who commented on the TMZ reports of both Roberts and Brown (as well as Ray Rice, Ozzy Osborne and many other cases) often blamed the victims as "probably deserving it" and "whining over a little roughing up."

IT IS NOT NORMAL. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ACCEPT ABUSE AS A DEFEAT. If your partner isn't treating you like the damn diamond that you are, you need to buff yourself off and find someone who will.

So, you may be thinking, "How do I know if I'm in an emotionally and/or physically abusive relationship?" Here are some warning signs from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Humiliating or embarrassing you.
  • Constant put-downs.
  • Hypercriticism.
  • Refusing to communicate.
  • Ignoring or excluding you.
  • Cheating.
  • Provocative behavior with others.
  • Use of sarcasm and unpleasant tone of voice.
  • Extreme moodiness.
  • Saying “I love you but…”
  • Saying things like “If you don’t _____, I will_____.”
  • Domination and control.
  • Withdrawal of affection.
  • Guilt trips.
  • Making everything your fault.
  • Isolating you from friends and family.
  • Using money to control you.
  • Constant calling or texting when you are not with him/her.
  • Reading your texts and monitoring your calls from outside the relationship.
  • Threatening to commit suicide if you leave.
  • Tells you that you are worthless, that no one loves you, that you should die, etc.
  • Uses your past against you.
  • Calls you names, insults you or puts you down
  • Prevents or discourages you from going to work or school
  • Prevents or discourages you from seeing family members or friends
  • Acts jealous or possessive or constantly accuses you of being unfaithful
  • Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs
  • Threatens you with violence or a weapon
  • Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes or otherwise hurts you, your children or your pets
  • Forces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will
  • Blames you for his or her violent behavior or tells you that you deserve it

Relationship abuse is never ever acceptable. If you are in an unhealthy relationship, break the cycle. Love is respect, and you are worth nothing but respect. No matter if it's a celebrity, a family member, or a friend, ask for help.

Contact your college campus security and/or the following toll-free hotlines for more information on relationship abuse and advice on exiting an abusive relationship:

LoveIsRespect.org National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
1.866.331.9474

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1.800.799.SAFE(7233)

National Sexual Assault Hotline
1.800.656.HOPE(4673)


Cover Image Credit: http://www.tunxis.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/love-is-not-abuse.jpg

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Better Not Bitter

"Let your past make you better, not bitter."

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After completing my junior year at Iowa State, I have found myself reflecting on a lot of the experiences and people who have helped me get to the point I am at today. Family obviously comes to mind, followed by my friends, my sorority sisters, my boyfriend, my professors, and my mentors. I am able to contribute a lot of my success to their support and compassion that they have shown me throughout my past three years. I am also able to contribute my success to the woman I have grown to be and to the woman I have always wanted to be. You see, three years ago, the woman I was was buried in a toxic relationship that didn't allow me to flourish into the woman I was striving to be.

Let me take a step back, this article is not meant to bash the person who it is about. In fact, it's more of a thank you. Because you see, without him letting go of me, I would have never taken the leaps and bounds out of my comfort zone to become the woman I am so damn proud to be today. This is also not meant to say that I am I glad I was in such a toxic relationship, it was honestly so terrible that I wouldn't wish it upon anyone but I am in fact, thankful. I learned more from that relationship that I have in anything else in my life.

First, I learned to be a fighter, and not in a bad way. I learned to stand up for myself and what I believe in. I have become vocal about my passions and stand up for people when they are treated wrong. I no longer let people walk all over me, but rather I stand my ground firmly and confidently. Thank you.

Second, I learned to be fierce. Fierce in love, kindness, compassion, and willpower. I believe in my abilities and the things I am able to accomplish if I set my mind to something. I have learned that in being fierce, there is absolutely no time to doubt myself which has worked greatly in my favor. I learned that demanding respect in all relationships I have formed has been about me making the decision to make myself a priority and learning to never settle for any less than I deserve, ever again. Thank you.

Third, I learned compassion. I learned to be kind to the other woman, and mostly, to the person who chose to hurt me. It took everything in me to remain kind while I was being hurt, but I am so thankful that I stayed true to the values and morals I was raised on. I have carried this with me throughout the past three years by choosing to show compassion to all people around me, and looking deeper into the reasons behind the actions and decisions that people make. Often times there is something going on behind closed doors and because of that, it is important to always, always radiate kindness. Thank you.

I wanted to extend my gratitude to the person who hurt me because if you hadn't, I wouldn't be the badass, boss girl, powerful woman that I am today. I am confident, smart, loving, and fully capable of giving and receiving the kindest, most sincere kind of love. My life has changed for the better, and I wouldn't change a single thing. I wish you the best, because let me tell ya, it feels great.

By the way, if you ever feel like you deserve better than what you're receiving in a relationship, trust your gut & walk the hell away. It's worth it.

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