One cannot escape the recent news of Chris Brown’s “domestic abuse” incident, which allegedly involves his partner Rihanna. However, a quick look at Chris Brown’s myspace page shows us that the victim blaming is well under way.
The comments really show us that we have a long way to go as it relates to gender based violence. Victim blaming deflects the attention from the offender. What we should be asking is how can we hold offenders accountable for their actions? And accountability has to come from the community, the media, family and friends. Wrigley, upon hearing of the news, suspended its ad campaign, which featured Chris Brown. It will be interesting to see what angle the media will take and how other public figures will respond, as the details of the story keep unfolding. But, one thing is for sure, when we respond to intimate partner violence with victim blaming, we uphold such actions and behavior and play a role in the cycle and reproduction of violence.
We must take a stand against violence against women in all its forms, from interpersonal violence to state violence, like harmful policies and government interventions that affect a woman’s ability to achieve freedom from violence and reproductive freedom. Stopping the victim blaming and holding offenders accountable are first steps, but we also need to advocate for just and fair laws and practices for women.
Contributed by Maria Elena Perez, Director of Community Mobilization