No Privacy

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I, like most of America, took a look at the Rihanna photos. My reaction runs the gamut.

Right off the bat, Chris Brown is done. I had a conversation with some friends about this. Some felt like Chris would get the R. Kelly treatment. I disagree.

At the end of the day, I think Kelly got a pass because the alleged victim and her family weren't interested in pursuing it. While I hate how much sexual abuse is ignored in the black community, there's no denying that the now adult woman's refusal to take apart in the R. Kelly trial affected my thoughts on the whole thing.

With Chris Brown, I just don't see that happening. The photo is just too damaging on a number of levels. While quite a few of us wanted to reserve judgment at first, its obvious the young man has a number of serious problems and needs counseling.

First, its obvious he hit her multiple times that night. Hard. With his fists. I just can't imagine hitting a woman like that, ever, for any reason other than to protect the life of me or a family member. Even then, I wouldn't want to see the pics of the damage I had done. Initially, I think there was some room for Chris on this. Given his age, I think some people could have forgiven him following some counseling had it been only one hit.

But the severity of the hits shows he didn't just have a one time lapse in judgment. I think they provide some proof that he has been hitting her for a while. It's hard for me to believe he would be so bold and repeatedly hit her in public like that if he hadn't struck her before.

In my opinion, that all adds up to a tough road for Chris to climb to get back into the limelight. Or at least it should.

Which kind of brings me to my other thought. Why don't stars get any measure of privacy? One look at the picture and I immediately understood why Rihanna wouldn't want it released.

Imagine getting hit like that. Then imagine a photo of you after getting hit like that being all over the internet.

There has got to be some dividing line between entertainment and privacy. Rihanna should have had the right to release that picture if and when she ever decided she wanted to share it. Whoever leaked it from the police station should be fired immediately. Laws and rules protecting privacy are there for a reason. And celebrity or not, protecting the privacy of a person who is the victim of abuse is one of them. Countless woman don't report incidents for fear of humiliation or some other kind of negative backlash.

This does not help.

When you add in all the comments trying to lay the blame for all this at Rihanna's feet, I've got to wonder how far back this whole thing will set abuse cases.

If a celebrity like Rihanna can't get support, what hope do any of the regular young girls in the neighborhood have?