Chris Brown has posted a video on YouTube of himself apologizing for beating up Rihanna so badly she had to be hospitalized. Not that he has to work too hard to regain the admiration of the thousands of teenage girls who rallied behind him immediately after his brutal attack on his girlfriend….
The admirable aspects of the YouTube apology are that Brown explicitly links his violence to the domestic violence in his childhood home, making it clear that his attack was far from a normal lover’s quarrel. Also, he indicates that he “sought and is seeking help” to ensure that he never repeats his brutal behavior.
The problem with his apology is obvious: it rests on the faulty assumption that severe partner abuse can be remedied by a two-minute YouTube video. Brown repeatedly speaks of “those few moments” in which he beat Rihanna to a bloody pulp, as if his attack was a one-time mistake.
Batterers often repent and promise to never get violent again. The hundreds of thousands of young women who have watched Brown’s seemingly earnest apology find themselves in a situation all too familiar to victims of domestic violence: their beloved does something unforgivably cruel, then comes crawling back with his tail between his legs, promising that he’s changed for good.
The YouTube apology paints Brown as an average guy who’s made a mistake; in fact, he is someone with anger management problems so severe that they could destroy his life and the lives of everyone close to him. In other words, he is neither a role model, as he claims to be in the video, nor the kind of guy any girl in her right mind would want to date.
Do you think Brown’s public acknowledgment of his inexcusable behavior does more harm than good?
Photo: New York Times