What happened to zero tolerance?

Sometimes, I hate people.

So Chris Brown, best known for beating his girlfriend so badly that the judge slapped him with a five-year restraining order, has launched a new album.

Appearing on a talk show yesterday, an interviewer asked him about that whole girlfriend-beating incident and allegedly the guy threw a chair at a window. Because nothing says you’ve beaten those anger issues like throwing the furniture around, right?

He’s a douche bag.

Except, after the TV show there are young women lined up outside the TV studios begging for a chat and a photo with their idol, Chris Brown. Let me just say that again: women BEGGING for a photo.

Seriously? I mean, seriously??

When did domestic violence against women become acceptable – adorable, even?

I’m raising a daughter and I can say with absolute certainty that I have a responsibility to teach her that violence is not acceptable. That it doesn’t matter how many cars someone has, or how many hit records, or how much you think you love him – if a guy hits a woman, he’s a loser. You walk away. End of story.

I’m not black and white on many issues but on that one? It’s a no-brainer.

You’d think we wouldn’t even need to have this conversation. But go and check out the comments on the E! News stories back when Chris was arrested for beating Rihanna. Go and see how Chris Brown’s record company is still supporting this fuckwit, and celebrating the fact his album is the number one download on iTunes. Go and see how 50% of teenagers in one survey said that Rihanna deserved to be beaten by her boyfriend.

I find this acceptance of violence even more depressing than the fact that the violence exists. Because what makes these women tick? What did their mothers teach them? How do they not see the contradiction in demanding respect and independence while at the same time saying that it’s okay for a guy to punch you, so long as he’s hot or rich? Or sorry?

I’m not sure what the answer is, or where the root cause lies. I could argue till the cows come home about the misogyny in popular music lyrics, the sexism that’s embedded in newspapers and magazines, the failings of the judicial system which allows violent men to carry on regardless in too many instances. I don't think it's that simple.

But it’s depressing as all Hell.  


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. Rachel
    23rd March 2011 / 3:42 pm

    Excellent post, glad someone else shares my views!

  2. 23rd March 2011 / 3:47 pm

    It’s so hard though sometimes for the woman involved. I don’t think it would be for me but then it isn’t me.
    The women queueing up knowing what he’s already like? Now that is bad, that is such a terrible message to be sending out, but then what’s going on in their lives that means that someone like Chris Brown can seem attractive?

  3. 23rd March 2011 / 3:56 pm

    Great post – he’s a disgrace. That’s an awful pic – I’d never actually seen her after the incident. Bloody hell.

  4. 23rd March 2011 / 4:29 pm

    Great post, well put. I hope with every fibre of my being that my daughters never think it’s acceptable to hit or to be hit outside of a boxing ring! And I sincerely hope they never go begging a photo off of some waste of space like that turd, unless of course they want to photoshop him into something embarassing. Depressing indeed.

  5. Nikkii
    23rd March 2011 / 4:49 pm

    If the rumours are true and they are back together….. well it will be interesting to hear her testify in court and what? take the blame?

  6. Elle
    23rd March 2011 / 4:53 pm

    Great post, and I couldn’t agree more. I am not a Mum (I just enjoy reading your blog!) but I was in an agressive relationship in my early 20s and find this glorification of abuse sickening. I also consider the record labels and anyone else fuelling this fuckwit’s continued fame as being as bad as he is; they might as well stick an ad on the TV promoting domestic violence.
    It’s a subject that riles me and your post articulates exactly the reasons why. Thanks 🙂

  7. 23rd March 2011 / 6:40 pm

    I agree, his behaviour is disgusting and all violence and abuse is intolerable. I also feel shocked by Rihanna’s recent song choice and lyrics that S & M style behaviour turns her on. Hello? This coming from someone abused? How good a role model is she for your daughter?

  8. Livi
    23rd March 2011 / 6:57 pm

    I totally agree, fame seems to somehow negate appalling behaviour and I have absolutely no idea why

  9. 23rd March 2011 / 7:05 pm

    Couldn’t agree more.
    I was once beaten up by a former boyfriend. Although in retrospect I can see that my naivety and poor judgement left me open to it, I never regret for a moment that my very first act afterwards was to report the scumbag to the police. Nor did I feel remotely like a bitch when my response to his attempt at a groveling apology saying he felt terrible about what he had done was “Good. Now rot in hell.”
    Violence is never acceptable, no matter what the excuse.

  10. 23rd March 2011 / 7:15 pm

    Some of the most disheartening things I’ve ever read were the Chris Brown defence comments on his website not long after the story broke. Women, but mostly young girls, excusing him and tearing the character of Rihanna to shreds – accusing her of things that I won’t even bother to repeat, mostly due to their libellous content.
    It’s shocking how good looks and celebrity can cloud judgement, particularly in the adolescent, but like you’ve said it’s really about instilling a sense of absolute disgust with regards to violence towards women (or anyone else for that matter) at an early age and making sure that it is deemed totally unacceptable – no matter who you are.

  11. 23rd March 2011 / 7:33 pm

    Makes my blood boil. I really feel there is a slide towards violence and abuse of women being acceptable and normal. I know the issue has never gone away but somehow, lately it seems to be accepted that this is what women should expect.

  12. 23rd March 2011 / 7:52 pm

    Good post – though it goes both ways. I’ll also be teaching my son never to accept or suffer physical violence … I’ve sadly also indirectly had experience of some unacceptably violent women in relationships, and I do think that there can be a tendency (not talking about your post, just in general) for ‘men’ to be seen as the guilty party. The majority of cases of physical violence in relationships are male led, but by no means all.

  13. 23rd March 2011 / 7:59 pm

    That’s awful. I understand how abusive relationships fall into a pattern where women think their man really will change, particularly if he makes her believe each time that it won’t happen again.
    The worrying trend is that our culture seems to be making it seem acceptable. I’m not sure that it is totally new tho. I remember Dean Holdsworth getting off with probation after punching his wife, possibly in public, when he was still quite a high profile footballer. I still can’t stand him for that.

  14. 23rd March 2011 / 8:09 pm

    Totally agree. I have also been sick to my stomach with the whole Charlie Sheen thing – tried avoiding anything to do with it on twitter and was unfollowing people like crazy but it just kept coming. How can a man who has beaten up several wives and girlfriends still be given airtime and paid millions of dollars? There have been restraining orders and threats and violence. have How come he was only sacked when he criticised his boss? How can thousands of women then follow him on twitter? People I respected that I thought were cool were following him and actually saying things like ‘oh well they’re sex workers, what did they expect getting involved with someone like him?’
    Seeing someone like Chris Brown still getting adulation from young girls and saying Rihanna deserved it just makes my blood boil.

  15. 23rd March 2011 / 8:16 pm

    Excellent post!
    I think that it demonstartes the lack of self worth that some of these girls have about themselves, as they still want the ideals of being adored by someone with those traits. I really hope it is not the fact that they are so shallow to only want the material things. The other thing is, some girls pride themselves on being the one ‘who could change him’ as he would never do it to them! It really is sad and upsetting.
    I hope and pray that I am able to raise my own daughter to value herself enough, to know that if a man ever attempted to hurt her physically, or mentally she would have the strength and family support to walk away.

  16. 23rd March 2011 / 10:18 pm

    I do understand it’s hard, of course it is. But this idea that it’s okay, it’s no big deal – just ugh! Horrible.

  17. 23rd March 2011 / 10:19 pm

    I know, there are worse pictures online. Horrible to look at, but we should – if only to remind ourselves that it was not trivial or just a tiff.

  18. 23rd March 2011 / 10:19 pm

    Thanks – I do wonder where these girls’ parents are and how they feel about them idolising someone like that.

  19. 23rd March 2011 / 10:20 pm

    Glad you like the blog! Yes, I get so cross with everyone promoting him, as though this is no big deal. Cross!

  20. 23rd March 2011 / 10:20 pm

    Well, yes, that’s a whole other issue, isn’t it? Troubling.

  21. 23rd March 2011 / 10:21 pm

    Good for you, I’m so glad you found the strength to walk away and take action.

  22. 23rd March 2011 / 10:21 pm

    I agree, some of those comments had me close to tears. How can these young girls be so STUPID?? I don’t care that it sound judgmental, there has to be something wrong for them to say those sorts of things.

  23. 23rd March 2011 / 10:22 pm

    I agree – this idea of giving women a slap or a punch seems to be so commonplace in games, books and music – and I’m sure that’s quite a recent, albeit increasingly common, phenomenon.

  24. 23rd March 2011 / 10:22 pm

    Agreed, of course violence is unacceptable no matter who.

  25. 23rd March 2011 / 10:23 pm

    Well, you know, you can’t analyse another woman’s choices I know, but I do think if you have daughters then you have a responsibility to teach her what is and isn’t okay.

  26. 23rd March 2011 / 10:24 pm

    Oh yes, I almost threw up in my local HMV this week they were doing a special on his films and shows with a big sign saying, “Everything is better with charlie!”. Oh really? How do you work that out, then? Grrr.

  27. 23rd March 2011 / 10:24 pm

    Low self-esteem has a lot to answer for, I agree.

  28. Nina
    23rd March 2011 / 10:52 pm

    Read a brilliant article in the NY Times called ‘Disposable Women’ all about Charlie Sheen and the lack of comments about his history of domestic violence: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/04/opinion/04holmes.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&pagewanted=all
    It’s incredible how much this gets ignored! An intelligent, articulate etc. etc. girl I went to school with recently posted on Facebook ‘Is it wrong that I really want Rihanna and Chris Brown to get back together? They were so cute!’. Luckily it was immeditaely greeted with several responses of ‘Dude – he beat her up. What’s wrong with you?’ but it still shocked me that she could think like that.

  29. 23rd March 2011 / 11:10 pm

    Great post – not least because someone needs to explain why 50% of teenagers think that this was a reasonable thing to do WTF???
    Dear goodness in an age of the proliferation of WAGs are we now to condone abuse because all women are asking for it?

  30. HerMelness Speaks
    24th March 2011 / 8:13 am

    A minute though. Women who stay with abusive men are not necessarily stupid, inarticulate or unintelligent. I do not say this because I have been in an abusive relationship. But often, by the time it gets to that stage, a lot of emotional currency has been invested and, not unlike a considerable monetary investment, not always that easy to walk away.
    In our willingness to, rightly, eschew violence against anyone, let us not summarily dismiss the people who have not yet found the strength to leave.

  31. 24th March 2011 / 12:27 pm

    No, but women who stand in line to have their photo taken with an abusive man just because he’s ‘hot’ or ‘famous’ are stupid. In my view.

  32. 24th March 2011 / 1:48 pm

    I’ve currently (sadly) fallen out with my 17 year old due to her boyfriend being unfaithful and generally bad for her emotionally.we tried 6 months of gentle persuasion with reassurance that she was worth more etc but now he’s been unfaithful again,and managed to include most of her female friends in his dalliances she’s decided to stick to him like glue… I have no idea as a parent how to resolve this other than reassurances of how much we love her and want her here with us. She really doesn’t think he’ll repeat the behaviour – we’ve watched her go from stunning,confident dancer to greasy,badly dressed totally lacking in confidence. The only option we can see is to move abroad – far far awaybefore she turns 18 but then won’t she just repeat the behaviour? She said she wouldn’t stay with him if he was ever unfaithful,it gives me little confidence that she’d leave him if he hit her

  33. Vic
    24th March 2011 / 3:50 pm

    I’m going to get lynched.
    I don’t condone what Chris Brown did. Domestic violence is a big no and as in all cases appropriate punishment should be dealt. However, alongside punishment there seems to be a so-called duty to rehabilitate criminals (because essentially, that is what he is). Part of that rehab should involve getting them back in to work. If this were a builder, someone would get him back on site and paid employment. So what, Brown’s career is singing, but doesn’t he have a right to maintain that career? Say that builder became rather successful at putting bricks together and grew to own his own construction company. Would we refuse to buy the houses he built on the basis of his past activity? No. We’d blindly carry on and move into our lovely new home. I can’t help feeling that this is essentially the same thing as the purchase of Brown’s music. I have his album, I enjoy listening to it. So shoot me.
    However, I think the issue here is not Brown himself, but the women (or more likely girls) who are supporting him. It makes you wonder what kind of esteem issues they must have to find such a man alluring. Sure, we all like the bad boy but there’s bad, and there’s dangerous. Clearly these girls are too young to know and understand the difference.

  34. 24th March 2011 / 6:00 pm

    It really is a sad state of affairs; but as a society we make it fit when we want to. We have an outcry when a released convict moves into our neighbourhood especialy if there crimes are of a sexual nature but then we buy tickets to watch the convicted rapist Mike Tyson fight; and in the same vein we all watched him in ‘Hangover’ myself included here, had Delroy Grant been cast it would have been bedlam.
    In short I am agreeing with you, we have glamourised the celebrity world now to point that they are beyond rational judgement. Should they face a jury of their peers an army of fans will only clear their name.
    I have no conclusion to this little rant, except I feel rubbish now as i never even realise that I paid money to see a chap acting who had previously raped a woman in a film both at the cinema and at home.
    Officially now as depressed as hell

  35. Helen Grounds
    24th March 2011 / 8:38 pm

    I’m shocked by the survey, no I’m disgusted by it infact.
    I’m bringing up a boy and want to bring him up knowing violence is never the right thing to do. You don’t hit someone and if someone beats you up then you do the right thing and walk away and speak to someone about it. This includes bullying and beating up women who you apparently “love”.
    Thank you for writing this, it was a great read and very informative. He shouldn’t be given a dime after what he did.

  36. 25th March 2011 / 12:52 pm

    Gosh, that’s a really tough situation, and it is very hard to give kids that self-confidence and strength to walk away, isn’t it? That must be so hard to watch. I wish you lots of luck with it.

  37. 25th March 2011 / 12:54 pm

    Well, I’m going to disagree because this is a guy who makes a living out of being a brand, being a role model and who has not shown an ounce of genuine contrition for his behaviour, instead endlessly whining about ‘haters’ who won’t ‘let it go’. Who was out on a jet ski partying the weekend after this all went down. Sorry, that doesn’t really work for me. Not to mention the fact that his violent behaviour clearly has not been addressed or resolved.

  38. 25th March 2011 / 12:55 pm

    Oh dear, I think you make some great points – this guy would get off in court because he’s famous, and that really IS depressing as hell. Ugh.

  39. 29th March 2011 / 8:21 pm

    The cult of celebrity 0- it’s sickening. If ever my boys raised a hand heaven forbid !

  40. dmlagos@hotmail.com
    14th April 2011 / 9:42 am

    Lucky for her she hasn’t got kids with this loser. I never wasted a penny on his music because let’s face it half the so called R&B music out there is all about getting illegal highs or gangster life.
    Why has money got to do with it? Only professional boxers who are getting trained and paid to fight will tolerate that. If she gets back with him she is mad. All her professional gains will be sullied by the her private life with this loser.

    27th May 2011 / 10:49 am

    I think it speaks to the brainwashing these children are subject to. He’s admitted to assaulting her and then later makes a song saying “look at me now I’m getting paper”. Children are taught that making money buys off and washes away anything bad you’ve done. Teens are taught that integrity means nothing and making money justifies any action. Women are trained to look past abusive behavior only to see the bottom line of a mans bank account. Men are told there are plenty of fish in the sea thus making every women expendable. Chris Brown isn’t my favorite artist in anyway shape or form, but he is a symptom not the disease. THE ZERO TOLERANCE MUST COME FROM THE WOMEN AND FANS. ONLY THEN WILL THIS CHANGE.
    My album entitled “Zero Tolerance” will be available for FREE LISTENING and download June 7th, 2011