Forgiven and forgotten?

When Sam Baker, the editor of Red Magazine, retweeted a Huffington Post article on Friday, I could have thrown something. Considering I was holding my phone and a cup of tea, neither would have ended well.  It took me a while to be able to write a rational post about it or I would have had this up sooner.  I wasn’t upset at the retweet but the subject of the article: Rihanna and her reported decision to feature Chris Brown in a remix of her upccoming single, “Birthday Cake”, after she invited him to her birthday party and he asked all the guests to sign confidentiality waivers.

There are so many things wrong with this situation that I almost don’t know where to start. This is the Chris Brown that she pressed charges against for an assault that left her battered and bruised. If anyone thinks that it wasn’t that serious then please read this police report and see whether you think it’s serious enough to warrant prosecution.

Many people have said that Brown should be forgiven for his actions and allowed to live his life as he wishes and that if Rihanna has forgiven him then why can’t the rest of the world? But it isn’t that simple, for so many reasons.

If Brown had been truly remorseful then that would be one thing although I don’t think anyone should have been having perform at a major music event (yes, Grammys, I would be referring to you) until he had fulfilled the terms of his sentence and his probation was completed in August 2014. He still has a long way to go. But when you consider that he doesn’t appear to have changed, why should he be forgiven? To be forgiven in my world, you need to have shown true remorse, to have changed the things that caused you to react that way in the first place. Brown doesn’t appear to have changed at all. When asked on “Good Morning, America” about the incident with Rihanna he commented that it wasn’t really a big deal anymore but followed it up by smashing the window of his dressing room and storming, shirtless, out of the building. When some singers and actors tweeted their distaste that Brown had been asked to perform at the Grammys, Brown retaliated by tweeting “HATE ALL U WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY Now! That’s the ultimate FUCK OFF!“. Whilst the tweet was later deleted (I suspect his management threw a tantrum about his image or similar) it does demonstrate that this is still a highly volatile individual.

Chris Brown tweet Grammy win

Chris Brown's 'celebratory' tweet after his Grammy win

As for Rihanna, I am worried about the effect of her actions. One of the problems with domestic violence is that as well as being physically damaging, the abuser often emotionally abuses their partner to the extent that they believe that they are completely unloveable and no-one other than this person who beats them could ever love them. Rihanna, as much as she may not want to be, has become an example to women of how to deal with a man who beats them. She went straight to the police and pressed charges even though that meant this highly personal and probably highly embarassing incident being dragged into the spotlight. She did the thing that so many women cannot do: she left.

So for her to go back, to allow someone who did this to her back into her life, Rihanna is sending out the wrong message: that it is safe to let these men back into your life. For so many women, it turns out to be the last thing they do.

I understand that one incident, even one so appalling as what Chris Brown put Rihanna through cannot necessarily destroy the love between two people. I understand that she may have forgiven him and considering they work in the same industry, it must be nigh on impossible for her to avoid him. But no matter how much she may love him or want to forgive him, she owes it to herself, and every other woman in the same position, to stay away.

Could you ever forgive a man who beat you up how Chris Brown did? And do you think he deserves forgiveness?

Average Josephine x