Thursday, March 19, 2009

Young girls inclined to blame woman in dating abuse cases  

7 comments
The Times has an article about the perception many young girls have towards dating violence, using the recent Rihanna/Chris Brown case as an example. This is really heartbreaking. Among the reactions they got from young teenager girls were:

"She probably made him mad for him to react like that."

"She probably feels bad that it was her fault, so she took him back."


Unfortunately, not enough parents and teachers take the time to educate children about domestic violence. Mimi Valdés Ryan, former editor-in-chief of Vibe magazine, believes that this behavior stems from the jealousy young fans felt towards Rihanna while she dated Chris Brown. I don't find this explanation adequate at all though. I'm more inclined to believe this analysis:

The girls' willingness to minimize Mr. Brown's alleged behavior also reflects a learned social signal, said Professor Morgan, who teaches African-American studies at Harvard. They've been taught, she said, "What really matters is that we don't destroy boys." Teenage girls think that if they speak out against an abuser, the boy's future will be shattered, she said. "We have to appreciate that this is not simple for them."


From birth, girls are taught the many ways to "please their man." Turning in a boyfriend or husband for abuse is hardly something that fits into Cosmopolitan's "Attract Hot Guys Like Crazy" article.

It is absolutely crucial that we teach our children about domestic violence. It is never too early.

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7 comments: to “ Young girls inclined to blame woman in dating abuse cases


  • March 19, 2009 at 8:45 PM  

    "Mimi Valdés Ryan, former editor-in-chief of Vibe magazine, believes that this behavior stems from the jealousy young fans felt towards Rihanna while she dated Chris Brown."

    Seriously? Wow...that saddens me.


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  • March 20, 2009 at 9:25 AM  

    The social signal that black girls should not destroy black boys is intriguing. After all, for so many decades while blacks fought racism, women sacrificed gender gains for race gains. I read an INCREDIBLE book that I highly recommend Freedom's Daughters (http://aalbc.com/reviews/freedomsdaughters.htm)
    and it showed me how hard black women were working to drive the civil rights movement but how willing they were to allow black men to take the credit. The book suggests that the main reason was that black women wanted to return that sense of manhood and leadership to black men after slavery had emasculated them for so long.

    It is just my humble opinion, but perhaps in the case of Rihanna and Brown, Rihanna innately believes that black women don't destroy black men; esp. one as prized as Brown, who used to be such a wholesome role model.


  • March 20, 2009 at 11:23 AM  

    I don't think that social signal is limited to any one ethnic group. But I do think the integrity of a male's reputation is generally considered more important than a female's general well-being.

    And I also think it's fuct that THIS is the case that suddenly brought domestic violence into discussion, as if it's a thing that just started this century. Fer cryin' out loud.


  • March 20, 2009 at 2:12 PM  

    I agree, Danyell. While I think that it's a positive thing that people are holding dialogue and debate on an important issue, I really wish it didn't take this incident to bring domestic violence into the light. It's as if no one really cares about violence against women... until it happens to a celebrity.


  • April 11, 2009 at 6:45 AM  

    Your story was extremely touching. Your expressiveness demonstrates and I can sympathize and relate to every word.


  • April 11, 2010 at 4:05 PM  

    I agree that we live in a society where woman are constantly being sent signals of how to "keep their man satisfied" soo when this Chris Brown/Rihanna scandal arose, I could see why some girls might have thought that "she provoked it". Of course I believe that such a thought is ludicrous, but it is definitely a society-influenced idea.
    It absolutely awful that some girls might think like that, but that is why, like you said, we need to teach children about domestic violence and how it should not be tolerated whatsoever. We should teach that under no circumstance is violence ever excused, and there is no such thing as possible "provoking".