You can't have failed to read the story of pop singer Rhianna beaten up by her boyfriend Chris Brown (I can sing you a bit of Umbrella, but him, not so sure- perhaps that was part of the problem) whilst en route to the Grammys.
The story took several twists and turns. Firstly I found it shocking that the story even broke in the first place; you can only imagine how much of this stuff goes on and is carefully brushed under the (red) carpet? The fact this even scratched our radar proved it was something very bad indeed. Once the pictures leaked, it was unthinkable that she would take him back; why would she? A successful, independant pop star, greatly admired by people with you know, no taste in music, but don't hold that against her.
There was a positive moment when her dad spoke up and said 'At some point, she will speak out. I hope she will stand up for women all over the world.' My heart soared when he said that; I really hoped that would be the case. I looked forward to that.
'Role model' has always struck me as a horrible phrase; who would want to be one? When The One Show robots asked Moz if he has a responsibility to his fans, he replied, 'I have a responsibility to no one.' And thank God.
But the life of a pop show-pony is different. Rhianna (and Chris Brown) produce music for teenagers. It is all about appearance (because there genuinely is nothing underneath). It is image, image, image; if you look right, and can be marketed correctly, it doesn't matter how you sound. Look at the way Britney's meltdown has been all but erased, even though it's still written all over her face. If they say it enough times, maybe we'll believe she's that sweet little girl again, and not picture the hospital stretcher and the dilated pupils and the headshaving. Oh and don't mention the children, she sure loves those little boys.
In the rock/indie world, this kind of behaviour adds to your kudos. But the pop world is a different machine. The Simon Cowells and Pete Watermans want these people wrapped in plastic, saying the right thing. Domestic violence? That's an issue not conducive with the glitz and the glam- the lie.
Chris Brown is beneath contempt. I refuse to believe he could claw his way back into any sort of career; he has got to be finished (please don't let this statement come back to haunt me). Wife-beating is about one rung more sales-friendly as kiddy- fiddling, I'd hope. But Rhianna? She has the opportunity now for something amazing, something to be proud of, and that is to be a good example to every 18-year-old girl getting slapped around by her boyfriend, or any married woman getting regular beatings. If Jade Goody can really make thousands of women go and get a smear test, then Rhianna could make at least a few young women in awe of her look twice at their relationship, look twice at their face and realise they want it to stay pretty. They might think, 'if Rhianna can leave, so can I.' She needs to stand up and make a statement, and not just a verbal one, but one with her actions.
If she gets back with Chris Brown, what kind of message is that sending out? That even with all her money and success, she can't do any better. So God help women trapped in poverty being abused, or women so ground down that they can't see a way out. Because if even Rhianna's advisors, her PR machine, and apparently close family can't stop her going back, then what hope is there for the average women who you know, loves him, and he's nice 95% of the time, right, and he's so sorry afterwards (these things are cliches because they are true).
I don't believe what I read anyway, so hopefully it's not the case. But if it is, she could end up doing more unintentional harm to women than that thick fucking pig of a boyfriend of hers. And it may seem anti-feminist, and like I'm blaming the victim; I'm not. Because this is about women. But too many women have dropped the charges, only to see this man they love coming at them with a knife next time, or turning up with a shotgun, or murdering their kids, or their mum, or their new boyfriend, or the whole bloody lot.
I do believe that occasionally abusers who want to can change. But they can't change overnight. And they have to realise what they've done is abhorrent, not just be told it. And they have to be genuinely sorry; wait for a lot of time to pass, and in the vast majority of cases, to not be with that person they hurt anymore. Because those dynamics in that relationship have changed forever.
A story on Digtal Spy today says, 'Rihanna's father Ronald Fenty recently insisted that he would support his daughter's decision to rekindle the romance.' That's not a romance. It's a crime scene.