Just like most of everyone (at least everyone on Twitter last night), I watched the Grammys and was astounded at the news about Chris Brown and Rihanna. I believe I first heard it from Necole Bitchie or Concrete Loop, can’t recall which. In no time flat it was confirmed by the likes of People Magazine, TMZ, and E!.

In summary, following some kind of domestic altercation that was initially described as a “traffic accident,” 19 year old R&B star Chris Brown has turned himself in to the LAPD and was booked on suspicion of making criminal threats. He’s been released from jail, having posted $50,000 bail. Sources claim that Barbadian-born R&B singer Rihanna, who’s just 20 years old, suffered visible bruises after the confrontation. And the internet has gone buckwild with speculation. Some of the comments have made my stomach churn.

Take a gander at any of the popular gossip blogs right now, and read those comments if you want to feel your blood pressure rise. I’m not about to link to any of the posts that REALLY got my goat, but I need to get this off my chest. As a proud Trinidadian woman, a West Indian woman, a woman from the islands… I do NOT appreciate the stereotypes that are being thrown around by commenters seeking to condone or explain this act of violence. I’m seeing all kinds of nonsense. And I quote:

He better watch himself, those island women are crazy.”

Who didn’t tell chris that island women were nutso?

Caribbean women are crazy, she probably cut him.”

That island b***h probably put some roots on him.

Chris Brown laying the SMACKDOWN on Carribean joints. [frank lucas voice]. My ni**a!

Then there’s the other kinds of offensive comments, the ones that don’t just put the blame on Rihanna because she’s a “crazy island woman.” These other comments blame her simply because she’s a woman.

She must have provoked him.”

I believe Rhianna probably started it first and it got Chris mad. Rhianna looks like she is a ish starter.

And my least favorite of all: “Its so stupid how if a man hits a woman its his fault and we should feel sorry for the woman. You all know how it goes, these hoes get snappy, she probably annoyed him and hit him herself. lol at everyone feeling sorry for Rihanna.”

Hold. UP.

Where do these kinds of twisted interpretations and stereotypes even begin? When did we get to this point, where we instantly blame the victim?

It’s like people don’t know what to say about this sad situation, so they’re just talking out of ignorance and stereotypes and assumptions. It seems people are saying anything to try to explain why R&B music’s it couple wound up missing what should have been one of their most magical evenings together.

First of all, the only people that presently know exactly what happened between this young couple are Chris Brown, Rihanna, whoever may have been in the vehicle with them, and the law enforcement officials who are investigating this crime.

Second of all, domestic violence is never OK. It’s never to be explained away, dismissed, or most shamefully of all, celebrated. No matter how much you may love someone’s music or style or ability, to explain away Chris Brown’s alleged crime by saying “she probably started it” or “I heard she gave him herpes,” or whatever the excuse of the moment is, is woefully inappropriate and misguided. It reveals volumes about how women are valued in this society.

A man should never lay his hands on a woman. Point blank, period.

Even Chris Brown has acknowledged how domestic violence affected his own life, as a child. He’s gone on the record as saying “I don’t want to put a woman through the same thing that person put my mom through.” Whatever went down, I am sure he can’t help but recall the environment he grew up in and surely he must sincerely regret whatever his behavior was that led to this situation. Even he would probably be disgusted at the “explanations” his own fans are offering for this incident right now.

And third — in the heat of this moment, even as fans are seeking to defend and explain what happened to their favorite stars in the face of these powerful allegations, it’s important to remember how old they both are. Chris Brown is 19. Rihanna is 20. These kids need help, guidance, and the careful investigation of the law right now. Not rumors, innuendo, hearsay, and judgment. If you’re among those who have been stringing their song titles into weak jokes about domestic violence, or leaving vehement, profanity-laced comments either in favor or against Chris Brown or Rihanna in light of what happened, I implore you to stop. Think about what you’re saying, what message you’re giving, and why.

My thoughts and well wishes go out to the families of both Rihanna and Chris Brown right now. This can’t be an easy thing for either side. Time will tell what really happened here, and I hope justice is served fairly. This isn’t just another hot-button celebrity story. Domestic violence is a serious societal ill, and our collective attitude towards it should be examined and improved.

There are some tremendous domestic violence resources online. If you’ve been a victim, or know someone who has, I encourage you to visit the Safe Space Foundation, the National Domestic Violence Hotline (call 1-800-799-SAFE), Women Called Moses, and the YWCA, or the Family Violence Prevention Fund at endabuse.org.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this story, and if you’re new to Afrobella, I encourage you to check out my FAQ on commenting. I don’t allow cursing or personal attacks on my site, and I usually delete comments with that kind of language. But I do welcome and encourage intelligently stated opinions of any variety.

What do you have to say about this sad situation, bellas and fellas?

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