New Developments in the Rihanna/Chris Brown Case

“Sadly, the alleged violent assault of Rihanna by Chris Brown is not unique -- women and girls in every community experience violence every day," said Family Violence Prevention Fund President Esta Soler. "While there are many unanswered questions, the police report seems to suggest that this was an extremely violent and sustained assault. If it is true, it is deeply disturbing. As with all dating and domestic violence cases, the criminal justice system has an obligation to ensure that the perpetrator is held accountable.

Without question, Chris Brown is entitled to the same presumption of innocence as anyone else charged with a crime, but we should all remember that violence is never acceptable. Nothing a victim does, and nothing in a perpetrator’s background, ever justifies violence. Those who commit violence must be held accountable, and their victims need and deserve protection, support and privacy.

It is important to remember that leaving a relationship often is a process. This kind of violence takes a severe emotional toll, and each woman must weigh numerous factors and decide what is her best course of action. Nobody should blame Rihanna if she has not yet left this relationship; we should instead be asking why Chris Brown may have resorted to violence.

Unfortunately in most cases, abusers don’t change without professional help and accountability. Chris Brown has talked in the past about the trauma he experienced growing up in a home in which there was domestic violence. Kids in that situation need help, and he may not have gotten it. Certainly, that does not excuse any crime he may have committed, but it is a reminder that we can and must do much more to help kids who witness abuse.”


Background: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 1,200 deaths and two million injuries to women from intimate partner violence each year. On average, three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends each day in this country. 15.5 million U.S. children live in families in which partner violence occurred at least once in the past year, and seven million children live in families in which severe partner violence occurred. Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner – a figure that far exceeds victimization rates for other types of violence affecting youth.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund works to end violence against women and children around the world, because every person has the right to live free of violence. More information is available at www.endabuse.org. In partnership with the Advertising Council, the FVPF has launched That’s Not Cool, a new campaign designed to help start a conversation among teens so they will connect the dots and recognize when controlling behavior becomes abuse. Learn more at www.thatsnotcool.com.

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