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Two leading women’s charities have condemned Chris Brown for “blaming” Rihanna after an assault he made against her back in 2009.
In a new documentary, the rapper claimed that he was driven to punch, bite and push his then girlfriend against a car window after she was violent towards him following Clive Davis’ Grammys event. Rihanna had been upset he received a text from a woman who’d approached them at the party—one he slept with early in their relationship.
“She starts going off, she throws the phone. ‘I hate you,'” he recalled. “She hits me a couple more times….I remember she tried to kick me, but then I really hit her, with a closed fist, I punched her. I busted her lip. When I saw it, I was in shock. I was like, ‘Fuck, why the hell did I hit her?’ From there, she just spit in my face, spit blood in my face, and it enraged me even more.”
According to Brown, the couple’s relationship had grown increasingly violent after he admitted that he had slept with someone else while they were dating.
“My trust was lost with her. She hated me after that. I tried everything. She didn’t care, she just didn’t trust me after that. From there, it just went downhill because it would be fights, it would be verbal fights, physical fights as well…”
Refuge, a leading domestic abuse charity, asserted that Brown’s remarks work as an attempt to shift the blame to Rihanna, and that there is never any excuse for a man to hit his partner; violence is a “choice.” It also stated that victim-blaming is a common tactic used to obtain control over the abused and deflect responsibility.
“Whatever goes wrong in a relationship, no man has a right to hit his partner. We all say and do things we later regret, but domestic violence does not ‘take two,'” Refuge CEO Sandra Horley told Harper’s Bazaar UK.
“No woman can make a man hit her; violence is a choice he makes and he alone is responsible for it. Blaming the victim is another way perpetrators maintain control over their victims–it shifts the responsibility to the woman. Manipulating her into thinking she is responsible is a ploy abusers use to deflect from their violent and controlling behavior. Hitting a woman is never acceptable behavior–it is against the law.”
Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault and accepted a plea deal in 2009. He and Rihanna rekindled their relationship in 2012, but split up after a few months.
Abuse charity Women’s Aid also described Brown’s interview as “victim-blaming” and outlined the dangers of such claims. Also speaking to Harper’s Bazaar UK, the foundation’s CEO, Katie Ghose, stressed that the perpetrator is “solely responsible” for his/her actions and that “abuse or violence of any kind is never the victim’s fault”.
“Despite pleading guilty to felony assault and accepting a plea deal, in this documentary Chris Brown is victim-blaming Rihanna for the horrific physical assault he perpetrated against her back in 2009,” said Katie Ghose, Women’s Aid chief executive.
“Brown is sending out a very dangerous message to both survivors and abusers by relieving himself of responsibility for his actions by blaming Rihanna for provoking him.”
Ghose added that victim-blaming is commonplace and has dire impact on the victims.
“Women are frequently discouraged from coming forward for fear of being blamed for the abuse,” she told us. “Nearly half of domestic abuse survivors responding to a HMIC online survey had never reported the abuse to the police.”
If you think you might be experiencing domestic violence, you are not alone. Visit Rainn.org for support and information.