I went looking this morning after I heard that TMZ had gotten a post-altercation photo of Rihanna from someone in the LAPD.
From the beginning, in dissecting this case, the debate I had was often over the term “visible injuries.” My closest friend was skeptical, saying ‘women fight dirty and we don’t know what happened…she could have a single bump or bruise.’ I disagreed, pointing out, as others have, that Brown is a large man and that he could easily have restrained her without injury.
So I went to see how bad it was. I expected a couple of bruises, which would’ve been bad enough.
But the child (well, not anymore — today is her 21st birthday) looked like she’d been jumped. Once I shoved down the horror of looking at her injuries, I was able to notice her expression. Sad. A little broken. With her eyes closed, she looked defeated.
And I felt immensely guilty for participating.
I don’t know Chris Brown or Rihanna, but I know they both need something they’re not going to get from having their lives dissected in the public sphere.
I was talking to another friend and she expressed her outrage that we only care about domestic violence when it happens to people we don’t actually know. I don’t think that’s strictly accurate. I’ve seen a lot of gruesome statistics over the last few days. A woman gets abused every 9 seconds. On average, 3 women a day are killed by their significant others. 1 in 4 women will report domestic abuse or rape at the hands of an intimate partner (and how many aren’t reporting?). Women who leave their partners are at 75 percent higher risk of violence or death than those who stay. And these numbers are even higher for black and latino women.
Of course, if you haven’t seen it by now, you can easily find the image on any number of gossip websites. But you won’t see it here, because ultimately, it’s not about “how bad he beat her.”