Wednesday, September 2, 2009

From Emily: How do we respond to the Chris Browns of the world?

Tonight I saw part of an interview Chris Brown had on Larry King. The interview raised a lot of questions for me about how we can encourage growth and changes in perpetrators of abuse without downplaying the seriousness of what they've done. Brown's lawyer said he'd come to love him as a son or a nephew, and that he didn't think Brown would do something like that ever again. If his lawyer is right, then good. What bothered me was the way Brown explained what had "happened" in "the incident." He said he regretted not being more mature, since the mature thing would have been to walk away from the argument.

True - but beating a partner indicates a lot more than immaturity. Brown's repeated complaints about "the haters" who are "just bent on criticizing" him, and his insistence that he's only apologizing to Rihanna and his true fans [emphasis not added], all strike me as signs of immaturity. Beating someone up, though - that's more than immaturity.

So - is it wrong for all of us feminists and "haters" to continue criticizing him even after he's apologized? Are we interfering with his ability to grow and change? Does he even want to change, or does he just want to restore his reputation?

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