How I Lost A Friendship To Domestic Violence

August 20, 2012  |  

Anybody watch the Rihanna’s interview with Oprah?

I caught part of it. They talked about a number of things; her career and how she deals with the pressure, her ability to drive and of course, her relationship with Chris Brown.  I know folks are tired of hearing about Rihanna and Chris Brown. That was so five years ago; both having moved on to even bigger careers and Karrueche. I’m kind of there too – only because it is such a polarizing issue when the reality is he beat her up and we should accept that and not make excuses for him. With that said, there is one part of the interview worth noting.

It’s the part when Rihanna speaks candidly about the time when Brown beat her up in the car, particularly having to go through that publicly. In the clip a teary-eye Rihanna talked about how she still has love for Brown, which sounds both shocking and truly awful considering how messed up the two were together. However she said, “I lost my best friend. Like everything I knew, switched. Switched in a night. And I couldn’t control that. So I had to deal with that and that’s not easy for me to understand or interpret. And it is not easy to interpret on camera. Not with the world watching. So it was hard for me to even pay attention my mind and figure things out because now it became a circus and I felt protective. I felt like the only person they hate right now is him. It was a weird confusing space to be in because I was angry, hurt and betrayed. I just felt like he made that mistake because he needed help and whose gonna help him. Nobody’s gonna say he needs help. Everybody does gonna say he’s a monster without looking at the source. I was more concerned about him.”

Listening to her, I can understand where she is coming from. Mainly how the media circus around the entire incident dictated what she had to do -not necessarily because it was in her heart at the moment to leave him alone but rather to protect her image, her career and the money both were generating for their handlers. Rihanna needed time to process what was happening for her and to come to her own conclusions first. And unfortunately, we as the adorning public didn’t give her a chance to do so. But that’s the thing about domestic violence: the fallout tends to impact more people than just the direct victim of abuse.

Listening to Rihanna, I am reminded of how I lost one of my best friends to a domestic violence situation. My friend, for the sake of anonymity we’ll call her Sue, and I had been best girlfriends since high school. In late teens, she began “dating” this guy, whom she met in college and eventually they had a son together. The guy was a major league douche bag, so for the purpose of this story, let’s call him D-bag. Not only did D-bag cheat on my friend constantly, but he was emotionally and we suspected physically although it was never confirmed, abusive as well.

He was also very controlling over her, regulating what she could wear, what places, and with whom, she was allowed to go and even what she ate for dinner. She used to tell me about his “quirks” but I didn’t get the full experience of it until one night, when we were out celebrating a friend’s birthday at one of the neighborhood bar/clubs. I had scooped by to pick her up. Once in the car, Sue, looking frazzled, asked if we could make a quick detour to his house. I asked her what was wrong. She told me that her baby’s father, who didn’t live with her, was refusing to let her go out with us until he saw what she had on. Huh? Fawk no. I’m not driving over there for that. Tell him to kiss your A$$ and pay his child support. But she was insistent to the point of tears. Oh Hell. I relented and drove her over to his grand momma’s house. He was waiting impatiently outside of the house. She got out the car, told me to wait here and assured me that everything was going to be okay. I rolled down the window to get a good listen.

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