Intimate Partner Violence Part II (Chris & Rihanna)

It has been three years since this incident happened. Brown was 19 and Rihanna was 20 years old. He was mandated for treatment, given five years’ probation and court-ordered to stay away.

Unfortunately for them, not only do they have to deal with the personal ramifications of Intimate Partner Violence or IPV, they also have to deal with the constant attention from the media – Twitter, Facebook, news reports, etc. Rihanna is faced with people judging her for the choices she makes and right now, people are calling her stupid for working with Brown on an album.

Brown is being ripped apart in the media for something he did three years ago. Every time he takes a step forward in healing and working on himself (focusing on his music), he is taken ten steps back with tweets, facebook messages and signs throwing his past actions in his face. I am in no way excusing his behavior – indeed – he received consequences for his actions – by having a criminal record, probation as well as lost endorsements and reduced radio play. But, I’ve also noted that he has for the most part, kept out of the spotlight until recently.

Given how easily news travels and how accessible it is for everyday people, it is no wonder that Chris & Rihanna are receiving such a backlash.

So I ask you, think about the worst thing you’ve ever done in your life. The absolute worst thing you have EVER done? Do you have that in mind? Think about how horrible you felt after realizing that what you did was wrong. Now think about how you’d feel if you saw signs attacking you every time you hit a milestone in your life. During a job promotion, graduation, celebration or family event – how would you feel if you couldn’t watch television because you were being constantly insulted? How could you work on rehabilitating yourself and growing from the experience with people constantly telling you that you don’t deserve forgiveness, redemption or good things in life because of ONE action in your life?

Everyone loved Chris Brown before this happened. People praised his talent, ability and music. Then he did something very stupid and hurtful. He fell from grace, was held accountable for his actions, accepted the consequences and is now trying to make better decisions. Yes, he will screw up – he’s very young. But, then again we all do.

Level 0: Heiddi has no significant relationship with any product, service or brand mentioned in this post.

Intimate Partner Violence, Part I

Ever since the Grammy awards aired, I’ve seen several instances in the media where Chris Brown is bashed. It has happened via tweets, news reports and at concerts. While everyone is certainly entitled to an opinion, I think this has gone very far.

Even now, as Rihanna & Chris have released new music together – with Brown being called various names and Rihanna being called “stupid” for even considering this – I’m compelled to share my perspective on this subject.

I’m a therapist by profession and working in this field has taught me a great deal about domestic or intimate partner violence.

Some stats to reflect on (regarding teen violence):

(Unless otherwise noted, the following data in this section are from a Liz Claiborne, Inc. study on teen dating abuse conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, March 2006)

  • Half of teens (50%) reported they’ve been in a dating relationship and nearly a third (32%) said they’ve been in a serious relationship.
  • 1 in 3 teenagers in a serious relationship reported that they’ve been concerned about being hurt physically by a boyfriend or girlfriend. One out of five of these teens say they have actually been hit, slapped, or pushed by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

These are probably numbers that have been mentioned in the past. One thing that has not been talked about is how to heal every person affected by Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). The people targeted for assistance are the victims and the children from those relationships. One person often left out of this is the abuser.

Society has taught us that violence on any level is wrong and that the person committing those acts are “bad people.” We have also been taught that there is no redemption for these people. And that if a victim returns to his/her abusive partner, the victim is “stupid.” Society then “reabuses” the victim for that choice. And the abuser gets a backlash from family and/or friends and may lose relationships because of the abuse.

Would you be willing to get help if you knew someone would call you stupid because of your choices? How would you be able to focus on your healing if you are constantly barraged with negativity?

As a professional trained in the social services field, healing can only come if all people affected by IPV are helped – not just the victim and/or children, but also the abuser. There are people that want to change; those that want to continue the relationship; those that are willing to do the work to change patterns of behavior. Even abusers.

In NYC, where I live, there is only one program aimed at helping men working to be non-abusers. Seeing as many families are affected by intimate partner violence, more services need to be in place to help every person in the family, especially if the parents want to stay together. *Please note intimate partner affects people of all races, ages, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation*

I am aware that change is very hard, indeed, I know it is given my professional field of choice. And intimate partner violence happens very often. What I also know is that all people who are willing and open to seek help should get it. And they should be given unconditional love and support simply because change is so hard.

Go here to find more information on Intimate Partner Violence in NYC.

Go here to find more information on Intimate Partner Violence nationwide.

Level 0: Heiddi has no significant relationship with any product, service or brand mentioned in this post.

Whitney Houston: A Tragic Loss

One of the rarest, most memorable voices of all time has been silenced. Whitney Houston has always been a favorite of mine ever since her song “The Greatest Love of All” was released. I sang along with “I wanna Dance with Somebody” and “How Will I Know” even though I couldn’t hit her notes. Not many people could.

And that’s what is special about her. Her voice was a gift and it was fleeting. I’ve read about her lows the last several years of her life – drugs, erratic behavior and her rocky relationship with her now ex-husband, Bobby Brown. For me though, all of that pain heightened her gift. Her voice is one of the most, if not THE most, distinctive ever. Anyone hearing her music would know it was her. Because of her difficult last years, her triumphant early years became more so for me.

Her music was amazing. By far, my favorite song is her version of the national anthem and no one will be as recognized for that song than Whitney. So here, I won’t talk about her problems – we all have them. I want to share my love for her talent, her gift; the gift of her voice.

To Whitney, may you sing now with the highest of angels in heaven for you were one of their members graciously lent to us here.

Rest in peace, Whitney. (1963 – 2012)