The Ugly Truth
I was initially flabbergasted by all of the quotes from celebots putting in their two cents about how Chris Brown is really, underneath it all, actually a nice guy, and it's not like this has happened before. It's not like he has a *history* of beating women. He just screwed up! She was probably being mouthy! I couldn't believe that people actually think this way, in this day and age. Until I remembered: up until very recently, you thought that way too, Screwsan (and just because you thought it about yourself doesn't make it any less of a shitty sentiment).
I knew a nice guy once. We dated for awhile. Then, one time, after we broke up, when I was arguing with him on his front porch, he strangled me. He'd never been abusive before. He wasn't violent to me when we were dating. It was easy for his friends to take his side--after all, he's nice and I'm...well, I'm a mouthy bitch. And even those people who stood up for me and helped calm me down didn't really see this as a domestic violence issue. Neither did I. After all, victims of domestic violence are a certain way, they live with a pattern of abuse, and it often takes them years (as made-for-TV movies starring Candace Cameron tell us) to bust out of their terror-filled lives. Those kinds of domestic violence victims and abusers are all over the media, seared into our brains. It's a horrible reality that many victims of domestic violence live this way. It's very important to educate the masses about the cycle of domestic violence so that victims of it may feel empowered enough to leave their partners before they are killed.
But this trope of domestic violence is only part of the story. Then there's all the rest of us (and by "us," I mainly mean women here), who lead "normal" terror-free lives. There's all the rest of us who have nice boyfriends, boyfriends who, you know, only screwed up once and felt really really bad and would never do it again. (Or ex-boyfriends who only screwed up once and even then, after the fact.) There's the rest of us, who will not lead violence-filled lives, but may just be touched by violence. And we will ignore it. We will internalize it. We will learn to not talk about it, because he was a nice guy and he didn't mean it and it was only once. We will blame ourselves and our bad luck at relationships and our big, bitchy mouths. We will think that because there is no "cycle of violence" present in what happened to us that there won't ever be one. We will shrug it off and tell ourselves, "It's no big deal. i walked away from it. I'm not a victim of domestic violence."
But that's not true. And that kind of thinking is dangerous. That kind of thinking gives violence a foot in the door. That kind of thinking makes polite excuses for something we can't afford to be polite about. Violence in relationships (whether they are new relationships or old relationships or over relationships), violence against women, is never ever ever okay. Even when he's famous. Even when you're famous. Even if he's never done it before. Even if he's a nice guy. Even if you're on his front porch and you are angry. It's not fucking okay. It's abuse. And it's common. And it's probably happened to someone you know.