The reconciliation comes while Brown is still on probation for his 2009 pre-Grammy Awards assault that left her beaten and bloodied.
This year at Hoy we are looking at the issue of domestic violence in immigrant communities.
Thus far we’ve conducted a survey of domestic violence providers in Illinois, interviewed director Andrew Oh about Mandevilla, a film about domestic violence in the Korean community, and looked at the implications for immigrant women of the lapsed Violence Against Women Act.
We’ve not done much about popular culture, and the Barbadian-born singer is indeed an immigrant who is a survivor of domestic violence.
Several aspects of the interview stood out for us.
Rihanna’s experience illustrates that domestic violence is by no means limited to poor and unknown people, but can happen to the wealthiest and most successful performers.
The singer is aware that others may not approve of her decision because it could be seen as forgiving violence against women, acknowledging that there may be good reason for the concern, according to the website:
“I decided it was more important for me to be happy. I wasn’t going to let anybody’s opinion get in the way of that. Even if it’s a mistake, it’s my mistake.”
At the same time, she asserts that things have changed in the relationship, according to the interview:
“When you add up the pieces from the outside, it’s not the cutest puzzle in the world. You see us walking somewhere, driving somewhere, in the studio, in the club, and you think you know. But it’s different now. We don’t have those types of arguments anymore. We talk about shit. We value each other. We know exactly what we have now, and we don’t want to lose that.”
Rihanna also appears to be ready to leave Brown if he ever acts as he did before, the magazine said:
“He doesn’t have the luxury of f**king up again. That’s just not an option. I can’t say that nothing else will ever go wrong. But I’m pretty solid in the knowing that he’s disgusted by that. And I wouldn’t have gone this far if I ever thought that was a possibility.”
Rihanna has spoken before both about her father’s abuse of her mother
In a 2009 interview with Diane Sawyer after having been beaten by Brown, Rihanna said her father frequently beat her mother: “I don’t want to say normal, but it wasn’t a surprise when it happened. At night I would not want to sleep because I was thinking about what would happen.”
Rihanna explained to Sawyer that she would make noise to distract the couple and would hit her father on the leg in an effort to make him stop.
The interview also is revealing in that Sawyer presented Rihanna with evidence that Brown had pushed her against a wall in an incident before the violence.
The singer initially said she did not consider the act domestic violence before amending her statement to say that Brown had not made her bleed before the February 2009 incident.
David Schilling does not accept that distinction.
He’s a clinical supervisor at Healthcare Alternative Systems, a non-profit that provides services for people with HIV, substance abusers and domestic violence perpetrators.
Greg Pratt and I attended a group this morning.
During the two-hour session Schilling stressed over and over that domestic violence does not have to involve striking another person.
Rather hitting is the most extreme step on a series of steps that includes controlling someone’s movements, making verbal threats, and using physical intimidation.
Several of the men in the room said they had not understood that before attending the class.
In the interview with Sawyer, it appeared that Rihanna did not, either.
The singer now says that things are different with Brown, and we hope she’s right, for her sake and for others.
Her father already said in October that he would Brown and his daughter to wed.
If indeed things work out, it could be a positive example of healing and reconciliation.
But I wonder, both for her and for the millions of young fans who idolize her (Rihanna has 28 million Twitter followers, the world’s fourth-highest total. )
We’ll continue to watch as the story unfolds and welcome your opinions, too.
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