Throughout this past year (at least since Feb), I have drafted about 7 or 8 posts on 'Dating Violence' but have been unable to publish any of them, possibly because the issue is a little too close to home for me, but I've decided to 'face my past' and speak anyway.
For the record, my husband is not abusive and has never been. This is something from my past and for the time being, I am happy to let it stay there.
So, what are my thoughts on CB?
Well, his situation goes some way to dispelling the myth that all perpetrators of dating or domestic violence are twisted monsters you can spot a mile off. Not all perpetrators have a past history of abuse or violence. In a lab test, if a researcher had shown you pictures of CB's innocent boyish face, compared to that of a 'thuggish felon' who looked more like say, Lil Wayne or Busta Rhymes (no offence to these gentlemen) I bet you would probably have never pegged him as the one likely to hit his girlfriend. Beauty can cloud our perceptions.
Do I think that he was an inherently flawed predator just waiting for the right moment to 'take someone down'? No, I don't. I think what happened probably came as much as surprise to him as it did to his girlfriend, his mother, friends, family and fans. He snapped. Why? We'll never know because he's not telling - and that is his right, after all, he is having to live through something that most people would handle privately in a very public way.
For the record, he has never once accused R of hitting him first - or at all. As for the 'shoving against the wall' incident reported in his probation report; in his Larry King interview he claimed not to know what that was about; and in R's interview, she clarifies "He shoved ME against the wall" not the other way around. The only reason I am mentioning this is because I am sick and tired of listening to people (especially young people and fans) claiming (indeed stating as fact) that she must have hit him first. CB has never stated that, not even in his guilty plea (in which case he could have used it as a mitigating factor in his defence).
It really does my head in that this 'provocation argument' could be seen as a valid justification for the beating he gave his partner that night. I am not excusing violence, but I am aware of how heated arguments can get, between young friends of the same sex, let alone between partners!
I can imagine that if sufficiently enraged, a woman (or man) might slap her partner in the face; or thump their friend in the arm or chest. It's not hard to imagine that the recipient of that blow might retaliate with a slap or thump of their own. Let's call that 'even'. What I don't get is how you can excuse moving from this 'even stevens' place, to an all out wrestling match or brawl; where one of you is throwing more punches than the other, to the physical detriment of that other. That is not justified, instead it indicates a loss of (self-) control on the part of the attacker, who has clearly passed the point of logic and reason.
I cringe at the cultural norms that exist within our communities that imply that domestic abuse is the fault of the woman, that date rape is the fault of the woman; or that in either case "she must have done something to deserve it". When are we going to leave that backward thinking behind and move into a period of sustained positivity and support so that women who are being abused (physically or emotionally) do not feel they have to hide away in shame, too afraid to ask for help for fear of ridicule or recrimination.
I think that CB's latest interview paints him in a much more positive light than the debacle that was the Larry King show. He appears genuine, genuinely contrite and genuinely interested in moving forward in a positive light. His affection for R is evident, for example, when asked how he felt about her, a genuine smile broke over his face. I can imagine that it must have been hard for him to accept the loss of someone he loved over (what he calls) a mistake. I have no doubt that he is sorry about what happened. He appears to be responding well to his 'therapy', so my hope is that he is grown enough within himself to ensure that this never happens again.
He emphasises that domestic abuse/dating violence is 'never Ok'; he doesn't blame anyone but himself (none of that "I saw my stepdaddy do it, so it was natural that I'd eventually do it); he reiterates his regret over what happened and what it has cost him and offers advice to others.
He is a young man (or rather a big kid) but he is learning and growing and you can't fault him for that. I would sincerely hope that his own fans learn from his example - CB doesn't malign R's character or attempt to throw mud her way at all, as I said, his affection for her is clear: a pity some of his fans can't adopt the same attitude and respect her because he does instead of badmouthing her every chance they get.
The interview is definitely worth watching. (Beware the comments on YouTube as some are very offensive).
What are your thoughts?