Not enough women are aware that both can kill you. Mercilessly. Quietly. Unexpectedly.
Just as “breast” softens the frightening, unforgiving sound of cancer to the masses, rendering the pink ribbons and “Save The Tatas” shirts marketable to said masses; domestic implies that the violence is tamed, expected – and to some extent, accepted – in the home. It suggests that it is anything other than nightmares steeped in male-dominated power and aggression, leaving its victims wrapped in isolation, guilt and shame.
With African-American women experiencing domestic violence at a rate 35% higher than their Caucasian counterparts, this dynamic is sadly not uncommon in our communities. We live with it, whether in our own homes, or on the sidelines of someone else’s. We feel the unspeakable pain as blows, both psychological and physical, continue to rain down on our mothers, sisters, daughters. Us.
But is it ever forgivable? Does the sage wisdom, “If he hits you once, he’ll hit you again,” always apply? Can men ever learn from the pain they inflict on the women who love them?
And if any of the above are true, how does a woman continue in the relationship without veering down the slippery slope of forgiveness into the unhealthy, dangerous abyss of apologism, leaving impressionable young women believing that its’ a safe road to travel?
This is the theme tackled on Huffington Post by publicist, Sasha Brookner, in a scathing indictment of former video vixen turned women’s health advocate, Melyssa Ford.
Titled, “Don’t Poke the Sleeping Dragon: The Dangers of Male Apologism,”Brookner takes Ford to task for her appearance on “HuffPost Live, “ with Marc Lamont Hill, during which she finds various reasons to justify singer Chris Brown’s vicious attack on then – and allegedly now – girlfriend, Rihanna. According to Brookner, the “litany” of possibilities Ford rattles off for the attack are irresponsible and reckless, especially coming from a so-called “women’s health advocate”:
“She wasn’t on the show to be an advocate for women’s health. Instead, in the face of yet another seemingly uncomfortable panel, she began with a litany of obviously well-rehearsed factors that most likely lead to Rihanna receiving her renowned WWE smackdown. Her pretexts included: blame it on the alcohol (shout-out to Jamie Foxx), immaturity, love, impetuousness, you do what you see, provocateuress, he was having a bad day, wrong time of night and my ultimate favorite, Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus (“Don’t Poke a Sleeping Dragon”).
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Seriously, the only thing missing was Rihanna infecting Chris with the Ebola virus. She conjectured Rihanna must have been all up in Brown’s face snapping her fingers, neck rollin’, gum smacking with her bamboo earrings swinging. And if that wasn’t enough “advocacy,” she assures viewers that the car attack was an isolated incident, because apparently she’s now a member of Scotland Yard.”
Brookner is bold in her belief that redemption is conditional. From Brown, to T.I. and Ford herself, she suggests that some acts are indicators of metastasized character weakness, rather than singular incidents – and violence, particularly men abusing women, is number one on that list. The Chris Brown-Rihanna situation heightens the stakes because it was played out in front of millions of impressionable people who may be going through similar situations, potentially causing young women to stay in volatile relationships with men who feel entitled to intimate forgiveness.
Let’s be clear: For every action there is a subjectively equal and opposite reaction and when damaged people are in intimate relationships, it is difficult to discern what those actions and reactions may be. Domestic violence is a generational, contagious disease, infecting children in lasting psychological ways that manifest in their own adult relationships.
Knowing this, it is not a choice; rather, it is essential to understand the pathology of not only the abuser, whether it is physical or emotional, but the person being abused. The reciprocal acts of perpetuating and accepting violence are symptoms of a much broader diagnosis, and when a couple fully acknowledges that illness, and seeks professional help, forgiveness may be a possibility — but intimate forgiveness doesn’t have to be.
A woman doesn’t have to share her body again to forgive. She doesn’t have to share her heart again to say, “Apology accepted.” She doesn’t have to open her home again to express concern and sympathy. Sometimes, nothing says, “I love you,” more than accountability.
Therein lies the fine line between forgiveness and apologism. Abuse in any form is inexcusable. It is never the woman’s fault, as Ford suggests. There is nothing that a woman can do to make a man hit her, but both people involved in an unhealthy situation need to honestly examine how they got there, why they stay and when it’s time to leave.
As Brookner writes in her piece: “…there is a noteworthy distinction between forgiveness and fondling.”
If one does choose to intimately forgive, they must do so without apology, fully aware of the risks involved. Because that distinction can often be the difference between life and death.
More On Domestic Violence Below:
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1. Blue. #May10 #NYC
2. Daddy & Me
Blue Ivy walks across mommy's at-home photoshoot, but it's the most adorable photobomb ever!
4. One Big Happy Family
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5. Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue in Beverly Hills — Nov. 11
Beyonce in these heels though?!
6. Beyoncé & Blue in NYC — Nov. 4
Look at Blue in her adorable little bow!
7. Beyoncé & Blue spotted in NYC — Nov. 4
Blue holding on to mommy for dear life.
8. Beyoncé & Blue spotted in NYC — Nov. 4
Momma Bey looking fierce with her mini me in tow.
9. Blue dressed as Michael Jackson.
10. Blue & Ivy
Just look at that face. Seriously, Jay could never deny this child! She knows how to make all his mean mugs!
11. Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue in Beverly Hills — Nov. 11
Look at that cutie!
12. Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue in Beverly Hills — Nov. 11
OMG Blue in a top knot? Yasss!
Blue has grown up to be an adorable toddler! We're swooning over this photo of her playing on the beach.
Looks like Blue is taking a walk in mom's shoes...literally.
15. Beyoncé & Blue
There's nothing like being cuddled up in mom's arms.
Blue is looking all kinds of adorable! Look at that left hand go! LOL.
17. Blue On The Big Screen
Bey & Jay look at Blue during a video played at an "On The Run" tour stop. How precious!
18. Pardon Blue's Back
She's growing up so fast! We're loving the top knot. Take that Blue Ivy hair critics!
19. Jump Around
Bey & Blue share an adorable moment on the trampoline. Hello summer!
20. Rocking Some Cute Ponytails
Blue Ivy was spotted with a new 'do! Bey & Jay's mini-me was holding on to her father during a little day stroll.
21. Strolling With Mom & Dad
Blue, Jay and Bey all spotted in East Hampton.
22. Blue Has A Manicure Day With Mama Bey
"Me and my Blue, and my Blue Blue, riding🐝"
23. Hanging Out With Mom
Baby Blue is walking to the door, and it looks like Bey is trying to keep up!
24. Trying On Some Heels
Will Blue be slaying a performance in the near future?
25. Holding On To Mom
Blue looks like she has something to say to Bey.
26. Playing A Game Of Tennis
Blue walks on the tennis court.
27. Cuddling With Mom
Blue & Beyonce have some much-needed cuddle time.
28. Blue Ivy
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29. Bey & Blue Take A Stroll
Doesn't Blue look adorable with her colorful dress and cute hair ribbon?
30. The Carter Lounge Together
The family was seen out and about.
31. Jay Z Carries Blue While Bey Looks On
Jay carries Blue in his arms.
32. Leading The Way
Blue Ivy looks too cute with her bowler hat and Mama Bey watching from behind. She's really growing up!
33. Out On The Town
Blue Ivy & Momma Bey enjoy some much deserved time off in Spain.
34. Traveling With Mom and Dad
Blue is used to traveling with Mama Bey and Poppa Jay, but she also looked a little flustered at some moments. It's ok, baby Blue!
35. A Day At The Park
Poppa Jay Z lets Blue Ivy have her way with the bouncy horse.
36. It's A Family Affair
Beyonce, Jay and Blue jetsetting in Dublin.
Blue dressed up like a hipster and plays a quick game of peekaboo! How adorable!
38. OMG It's Blue's Beautiful Face!
FINALLY! We get to see how beautiful Blue is! Look at the adorable headband! "Blue 💙"
39. Blue Ivy
Life's a beach!
40. Brooklyn Stand Up!
"Beyonce & Blue"
41. Blue Ivy's Got Her Own iPhone
"Momma, what's your password?"
42. Beyonce's Lazy Day With Blue
"Momma, I asked you for your password!"
43. When Blue Ivy Takes Your Phone, Beyonce Be Like...
"Fine, I'll go ask Daddy!"
44. Blue Ivy On Tour
"Bey & Blue"
45. It's Playtime
Beyonce & Blue take some time out to play.
46. A Chilly Day In NYC
"Beyoncé, Jay Z and Blue Ivy in NYC - Jan. 19"
47. All Bundled Up
The royal family makes their way to their fancy car.
48. Kisses From Dad
Blue's all bundled up, getting love from Daddy.
49. Blue At The White House
Blue Ivy's taking after mommy and writing a letter.
50. Blue Loves Bo
The White House pup, Bo is showing Blue Ivy some love.
51. The Carters At The White House
Check out the royal family checking out the scene at the White House.
52. It's Christmas Time Again
Blue and Bey checking out the White House Christmas tree.
53. Blue Lovin' Bo
Blue Ivy, dressed like a Princess, showing Bo some love.
54. Like Father, Like Daughter
Blue playing dress up with Daddy's hat.
55. Fun Times With Mommy
Blue Ivy spends some QT with mommy.
56. Mommy & Me
Blue and Bey take a break for some snacks.
57. Silvery Blue
Beyonce carries Blue, while the adorable toddler rocks a metallic jacket that we want and need.
58. The Holy Grail
Blue, Bey & Jay
59. One Big Happy Family
"#miami #newyear #2014"
"Beyoncé & Blue 💙"
61. Blue & Daddy In A Blue Jacket
"Jay and Blue 💙 #NewYear #2014 #Miami"
62. Hold On To Me
"Happy New Year Mommy!"
63. Dora Dora Dora The Explorer
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64. Daddy & Bey
"Look over there Blue, you own that too."
65. Blue's Big B-Day
"Mommy make sure they can only see the back of my head."
66. Painted Faces For Blue's Bday
"Let me get down Mommy, I wanna play!"
67. Kisses From Mommy
Beyonce and Blue prepping for Momma Tina's Masquerade Ball
68. Talk To The Hand!
Beyonce, Jay Z and Blue Ivy were spotted leaving Joey's restaurant in Miami, on January 8th, and Blue had a message for the paps! Talk to the hand!
69. Me & My Daddy
While Beyonce's arm rested, Jay carried Blue from Joey's restaurant, in Miami on January 8th.
70. Blue's First Words
"I'm ready to slay right along with you, Ma!"
71. Imagine The Sound Of This Lullaby
A newborn Blue Ivy gets serenaded by her superstar mother.
72. Don't Mess With Blue!
Every now and again, Blue Ivy reminds you...she is her father's child!
73. All Gold Everything
Blue Ivy takes after her dad's swag. The inseparable duo were spotted in South Beach, Miami illuminating the streets outside their hotel with their yellow luster!
74. All Of The Lights!
"Mommy! All the pretty colors are so blinding! I'm...just..so..overwhelmed! When's my shot coming?! When's my shot coming?!" Blue plays on set with Bey at her 'Blow' video shoot.
75. Hey Blue!
"I can be happy sometimes, see?"
76. Blue Ivy With Daddy
"Why are we clapping, again? I'm not in the shot."
77. Jay Z Tries To Get Blue To Listen To "Magna Carta Holy Grail"
"Daddy, I'm more of a Nas fan."
78. Stepping With Mom
"Wait, Ma. I want the camera to see all angles of this sick dress!"
79. Splashin' & Playin'
"Mom, this water is clean, right? Because I'm not trying to splash in water I can't trust."
80. Beyonce Discusses Important Matters
"Mommy, I completely get it. Yes, I promise to watch the throne."
81. Mommy's Hugs
"Ok, Ma. I love you to pieces, but I like oxygen too." Bey may be the Queen, but this scene from her video "Blue" makes it look as if she can't get enough of being Mom.
82. Blue Ivy Twirls
"Aaaahh, I'm having so much fun not thinking about anything...wiippeee...oh, wait...getting a little sick."
83. Just So You Know...
"I run things. Don't get it twisted."
84. Mommy & Me Loungin'
"Oh, Mommy, I'm so tired of seeing the wigs you snatched last night all on our floor. It's so exhausting. Like, when're they getting picked up? Not now? Oh. Ok."
85. A Kiss For Blue
"Mommy, let me sleep, dang!"
86. Slurpin' On That Milk...Slurpin' Slurpin' On That Milk
"Mommy, gimme that bottle!"
We could watch this adorable GIF of Blue Ivy nonstop forever!
88. Jay Sneaks In Kisses
"Dadddd! Get..Away!..I don't want...No, ugh..No kisses!"
89. Blue Stares Back...
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90. Blue Still Doesn't Get Why Anyone's Here
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91. Blue and Bey Out For Lunch
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92. Blue Is One Tough Cookie
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93. Blue Jetsets With Jay
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94. Beyonce Keeps Blue Covered
"Mommy, I think you forgot my feet. I'm cold right now. Are we inside?"
95. Beyonce LOVES Her Blue
Look at that face, how could you not kiss it?!
96. Blue Swings With Mommy
"I like the swing, this is nice, Mom--Oh, I'll let you pose for that shot."
97. Blue Decked Out In Pink
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98. A Hot Pink Summer
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99. Working Her Moves
"Was Blue trying out Bey's bootylicious moves already?"
100. Mean In Green
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