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The Famous Faces of Domestic Abuse

Chris_Brown_Rhianna The Internet is abuzz this week with news of Rhianna's 20/20 and Good Morning America interviews (Jodi also wrote about Rhianna speaking out about her domestic violence experience here), the ones she's giving in conjunction with the release of her new album, Rated R. Now, on the eve of those media appearances, a few additional people are speaking out about what specifically happened to Rhianna and about domestic violence in general.

Mariah Carey, the best-selling U.S. artist of the 1990s had this to say:

"You know, I just think you get into a situation and you feel locked in. . . . [F]or me, to really get out, it was difficult because there was a connection that was not only a marriage but a business thing, where the person was in control of my life."

Mariah_Carey_Tommy_Mottola Carey was married to Columbia Records exec Tommy Mottola for four years during her rein as America's pop phenomenon -- the killer voice that made a nation full of girls and women jealous of her 1) talent and 2) fairytale wedding and marriage. It seems -- although Carey never mentions Mottola by name -- that what seemed like the perfect life to millions was actually a terrifying, abusive life that Carey claims was "[e]motionally, mentally, in other ways ... scary."

Carey was the 90's It girl. As a woman who vividly remembers watching Carey sing "I'll Be There" and wishing I could be that talented, her life seemed was charmed, perfect. She was rich. She was talented. She was beautiful.

So is Rhianna.

Chris Brown has recently said he's not sure how the public perceives him. He is, in fact, "confused" about what the public thinks of him. You know, that's actually kind of a fitting word. Confused. I think it's fitting for the stance this country, at least, takes on domestic abusers, especially celebrity domestic abuse.

Brown is ultimately a kid. He made this horrible, ridiculous mistake. Can he redeem himself? Ever? Mottola was a grown man who had an insane amount of power, both professionally and personally, so is that different? Do his age and position make him less forgivable? Both men abused -- in one way or another -- two of the most successful entertainers and artists of the last two decades. How does this happen? How does this happen REPEATEDLY? Who do we choose to forgive and why? Can you still respect Brown as an artist? Could it be forgivable if he hadn't acted like a total punk over the last six months and had been believably remorseful?

Can you forgive any abuser while still teaching a nation full of girls that forgiveness is not approval, buying someone's music is not saying it's OK they hit someone, let alone someone they claim to love.

Do the messages get blurred when you don't make abuse black-and-white, cut-and-dry? I imagine it's REALLY hard when you're raising a daughter, but it's just as hard (harder in some ways, even) when you're raising a son (as I am) to say, this is the kind of person we can awards and praise to for his talent but not for his character. Is that an easy difference to teach? God, I hope so.

That's a long list of questions, I know, but mostly I wonder when we -- a society obsessed with all people who are air-brushed and paparazzi-stalked on a regular basis -- will realize a fat bank account does not make anyone's life enviable. These women may not ever be called by debt collectors, but abuse seems to find its way into the glitziest gated community. Is money worth all that? I think those women, dripping with diamonds and awards, would resoundingly say no. 

I wonder if an entire generation of young girls believe them.

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Excellent post. I will be linking it to my FB page. :)

For me...I just can't/won't/refuse to do anything to support an abusive person, regardless of their talent. For me...their talent does not permit their behaviour, and if I do buy whatever it is they're selling (music, dance, acting, etc...), it's communicating to them that I'll excuse their transgressions because their talent is worth excusing their transgressions. I know not everyone agrees - and that's fine. Just throwing my opinion out there.


Thanks so much, Diana. I wanted to hear what the readers thought. I'm wondering, though, is there any chance for an abuser to redeem himself? Or is it a one-chance-is-all-you-get kind of thing with abusers? I'm not sure what I think, to be honest. Not that I condone the abuse, god no, but if we're saying that there is no way to be forgiven, what motivations is there for an abuser to get help? I'm conflicted, admittedly.


I for sure think that there are ways for abusers to redeem themselves without condoning or allowing abuse. It takes a long time and a lot of work/motivation on their part, but sure, it's possible. I think they need a program similar to AA, providing forever support and guidance.


I believe that forgiveness is the choice of the person who was wronged and isn't dependent on the person who committed the wrong. It doesn't depend on the person who commited the wrong having redeemed themselves and it doesn't condone the action.

Forgiveness is also not an automatic statement of forgetting and/or trusting the person.

What this has to do with the listening public and whether they should buy Chris Brown's music or not I'm not sure. The listening public doesn't need to forgive necessarily but they can hold a grudge on behalf of the one who was wronged.

I had a thought though: We read books by people who were not excellent human beings. We watch movies with actors who aren't excellent human beings. Is that right? Should we boycott everything that involves someone who commited some horrible act? Or do we separate out the work the person does from the human being they are. I had the same series of thoughts about Roman Polanski as well. I don't know what the right answer is.


While in NO way condoning Chris Brown's behaviour (or Tommy Mottola's, if that's who MC was speaking about), should there not be some scope for forgiveness, for hoping that a person can be rehabilitated and acknowledge that what they did was wrong and that they must NEVER act that way again? Isn't that essentially what happens with kids? They act like complete arseholes but once they realise the consequences of their actions, they become better people who know the right way to act and the wrong way?

Couldn't Robert Downey Jr be used as an example of someone whose life was WHOLLY destroyed by the EXTREMELY poor choices and decisions he made, whose wife would certainly have suffered torment because of him, if not physical pain then most definitely emotional, but who managed to turn things around, be as cured as it's possible for an addict to be, REMAIN a good partner and keep (or re-earn, I suppose) the respect and approval of those in his profession and of his fans?

Am I being naive?


I can't stand Chris Brown or his music right now. I think everyone (ie: too many young girls) is too quick to forgive him because he is HOT or rich or famous or makes a "good" song. (They also say it's RiRi's fault...)

Even in Rihanna's 20/20 interview she said, "I could not be easy with that" in reference to her getting back with CB and influencing A MILLION young women to do the same...

Even if Chris never hit her again, doesn't mean those girl's boyfriends wouldn't do the same thing (& keep hitting or maybe killing them).

I think if Chris was serious about rehabbing his problem, instead of saving face (and his career) I'd be a little more inclined to "forgive" him.

From what I can tell, for Chris, it's all "'bout the money, cars, clothes...he just wants to be successful." (after he publically beats his woman)


...what iambellaluna said...

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