Hit me baby one more time

Published 2:27 pm Wednesday, March 4, 2009

“I wanna apologize clear back to the first time I hit you?”

Sound familiar? It’s a quote from the movie “Urban Cowboy.” It was said by John Travolta’s character and although the movie ends with the dysfunctional couple back together, in reality the quote is one that is repeated by wife beaters across America.

So what has me all stirred up? If you are keeping up with our celebdom, then you may have guessed. But for those who do not follow “As the World Turns in Hollywood” or “The Bold and the Beaten” or “One Fight to Live as I head to General Hospital”… I’m talking about the glamorous life of celebs. Particularly, I’m referencing two top musical stars known as Chris Brown and Rihanna (She is so popular that no other name is needed).

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The shocking event began during celebrations for the Grammy Awards show in which both stars were scheduled to perform and were nominated. Instead, the two star-crossed lovers got into a heated argument in a very expensive automobile. The end result was a badly beaten and bloodied woman stranded on the side of the road. A scene which is repeatedly played out across the country, but normally minus the Lamborghini.

Take away the glitter, take away the bling, take away the Lamborghini and under the surface of this superstar is simply a woman. No matter her part, no matter how ugly the tempers exploded, a man never has the right to hit his woman.

Yet, this very talented, clean cut young man became violent, and not just a slap or a shove, but his attack was with his fists and even biting his victim. All of this is of course alleged and the police are investigating but for visual evidence I would submit the circulating photo taken by the police that was mysteriously leaked to the press. It reveals a battered woman.

How popular is this guy you may wonder? Young teeny boppers are in an outrage — either appalled at his horrific behavior or naively defending his actions. I heard an angry girl on a local radio station accusing Rihanna of beating up her own self. That is why teens don’t vote!

Men hitting women always gets me riled up. Shouldn’t it? I have never been exposed to the brutality of a relationship which allows hitting. Although, my husband does keep a bruise on his arm where I am always punching him for his mischievous behavior or outrageous statements. So am I guilty of husband beating? Do we look at women on men violence in the same light?

Nope, we have double standards. But if I hit my 6’4, two-hundred plus pound muscled husband, I don’t think it will have the same result.

Maybe… and just maybe, if I hit my husband with a heavy iron skillet with all my strength up side the head, then I will allow him one self defending punch before crying wife beater. But only once, because my inner rule is any man who disrespects me enough to hit me can not be in my life.

Will justice be served? Will Chris Brown serve time? He has already lost radio play and lucrative endorsements. Will he continue to be scorned by society? Will Rihanna heal both physically and emotionally and move on in an attempt to learn to love and trust again?

Or will she do what so many battered women do? After three weeks, the Hollywood gossip is titillating us with the news that Rihanna has retreated back to her abuser. This independently wealthy woman with a great career, public sympathy, awesome physical exterior, has apparently decided to take Chris Brown back.

Why do women do this? It is an occurrence that happens every day.

Every nine seconds a woman is physically abused by her boyfriend or spouse and 95% of assaults on ex-spouses or spouses are men against women.

Domestic violence is repetitive in nature which means no matter how many times he apologizes, even if it’s clear back to the first time, it probably means there is a future apology in the works.

About one in five women victimized by their spouse or ex-spouse reported that they had been a victim of a series of at least three assaults in the last six months.

For all we know this may not have been the first indicator. If it compares to many abusive domestic scenes then Rihanna could face a future of hard knocks.

There is a name for this syndrome. It’s called Battered Women’s Syndrome. It is a psychological condition in which the woman in an abusive situation will make excuses, believing the violence was somehow her fault.

A battered syndrome woman will have the inability to place the responsibility for the violence elsewhere. These women fear for their life or children’s lives and believe the verbal threats of their abuser. They are irrational in their belief that the abuser is somehow omnipresent.

Remember OJ beat Nicole and had several police visits during their stormy marriage which brings me to a very disturbing statistic: Murdered women are killed by their intimate partner 42% of the time. Yikes.

No one can say for sure once a beater always a beater, but I can probably assume that a couple of days in anger management and a slightly sincere public apology will not cure the violent tendency. Hopefully for the pop star this was just a rare instance of mass proportions and never to be repeated. But statistics give me better odds of being right.

You might be a wife beater if… you hit your wife.

You might be a battered woman if… you have been hit.

Simple. Many women need help. They don’t have a Rihanna size pocketbook and are dependent on the beater for existence. There is help. There is hope. You must have the courage to refuse to be hit again. Don’t stay down and don’t go back.

The sad truth of this superstar couple is that you can have the whole world at your feet — all the money and fame, the looks and the talent — but you can not escape your human frailties.

I hope Mr. Brown takes care of the precious gift of forgiveness that has been placed in his hands and keeps those hands to himself.

Tracy Williams is a guest columnist and can be reached at her website: myhometowncolumn.com