Rihanna and Feminism

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[Trigger warnings——domestic violence and rape]

Rihanna has taken a lot of flack for returning to a relationship with Chris Brown. Upon her return to this relationship, several very public condemnations against her choice have been made. She has been accused of being a poor role model for young women who will see it as acceptable to return to abusive relationships.

Frankly I find it shocking that anyone would use the guise of feminism to further the misogynistic victim blaming so common when dealing with domestic violence.

If feminists are talking about rape, they will quickly, and rightly, point out that no woman, however she is dressed, is actually “asking for it.” We must continue to fight the tendency to believe that men can’t help themselves, and women need to be the ones to prevent rape by dressing modestly, and avoiding certain situations. A person can only lessen the chances of being raped by taking precautions; a perpetrator of rape, however, is the only person who can eliminate rape by refusing to partake in raping anyone. Rape is not the victim’s fault.

So with domestic abuse. The statistics are against Rihanna’s safety as she returns to a relationship with a man who has a history of violence against her. But his violence against her? It’s not her fault. By ridiculing her and blaming her for continuing with Chris Brown, we are blaming her for his actions. To direct outcry over his abusiveness at Rihanna is anti-feminist.

Now, who of us is friends with Rihanna that we could do anything constructive in her life? I’m not. I’m guessing you aren’t. But Rihanna isn’t the only woman in a relationship with someone who has caused her physical harm. How do you help a friend in a violent relationship? Here are some DOs and DON’Ts from professionals who work with domestic abuse victims daily:

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