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Oprah Winfrey's Double Standard on Domestic Violence

bebeoprah11 I am not an Oprah fan…..

I used to be one of those big Oprah fans and dedicated supporters who loved the show and everything else affiliated with Oprah Winfrey. I was proud to see a strong, black woman rise up from a troubled childhood and climb the ladder of success, but in recent years my support of Oprah has dwindled tremendously. I don’t watch her show and I wouldn’t even consider picking up an issue of  her magazine. But this blog post is not about the various reasons I no longer support the Big O. This blog post is about Oprah’s continued support of singer BeBe Winans even after he was accused of physically assaulting his ex-wife in February of this year. It is about Oprah speaking publicly about her disdain for Chris Brown after his altercation with Rihanna, but still remaining bubbly and friendly with BeBe Winans as if one abuser is better than the other. Abuse is abuse regardless of who the abuser is.

BeBe was arrested, as was Chris Brown. Both men were taken to jail for a physical act of violence against a woman. Oprah, in my opinion handled the Chris Brown situation from a judgmental point of view. She not only spoke her opinion on the situation, but she also did an entire segment on Domestic Violence; a subject that the Big O didn’t appear to give a damn about before the Chris Brown and Rihanna incident.  Yet, in the case of BeBe Winans, who is one of Oprah’s favorite singers and close friends, she seems to have a innocent until proven guilty view of the situation. Even after the arrest and a pending court appearance, BeBe Winans will be hosting Oprah’s Karaoke Challenge which will air November 5, 2009.

Of course Oprah can befriend whomever she likes. She can have anyone on her show that she chooses, but I seriously do not believe that Oprah would allow Chris Brown to host a podcast, nonetheless a portion of her show.  Her actions when handling both of these situations just seems hypocritical and biased. Whether it be a push, which is what BeBe Winans was accused of doing, or a full out attack as in the case of Chris Brown, domestic violence is wrong.

If you are going to speak out on domestic violence and take a stance against it, do so without being biased. Do so without approaching the situation as a victim supporter and an abuser trasher…unless the abuser is your close friend. Don’t  look at it with a different set of eyes and speak on it with a different voice just because he is a gospel singer and a close friend.  That, Oprah is hypocritical.

 With the celebrity status that Oprah Winfrey has, she of all people should know that there are three sides to every story. Neither Oprah nor the rest of the world was in the car with Chris Brown and Rihanna, neither were we witness to the incident that occurred between BeBe Winans and his ex-wife Debra Winans. With that being said, we are not aware of the full details of either incident.

Oprah is quoted as saying in relation to the Chris Brown & Rihanna incident:

Love doesn’t hurt. And if a man hits you once, he will hit you again

If that is your belief, apply that to every abuser Oprah, not just Chris Brown. Please don’t get me wrong, I feel that the show was very beneficial. It not only gave the issue of domestic violence a louder voice, but it spoke about and to a group of people who are becoming victims of domestic violence far too often, teenage girls.

I just feel that efforts to end domestic violence should; provide awareness of the issue, assistance to victims and help for the abusers. You can’t have one without the other, if the cycle of violence is to be broken.

Chris Brown & Rihanna (my two cents)

2007_6_betawards1We have all seen and heard the mountain of news stories, radio talk shows, blog posts etc concerning the incident between Rihanna and Chris Brown. Media outlets such as TMZ  and Access Hollywood have had day to day coverage on the story. For a while I stopped paying attention because it was becoming too much of a media circus. The truth has become too far and beyond and the here say and exaggeration overpowered the real issues of the case.

For those of you who know me personally you know that I take domestic violence very seriously. I in no way support abusers and I take a strong stand against violence against women.

With that being said, I would like to first address  the fact that I along with everyone except Chris Brown and Rihanna were not present the night of the incident. We are only partakers of what the news media chooses to report. What has been reported ranges from allegations of Rihanna giving Chris Brown herpes, to Rihanna attacking Chris Brown in the car because Leona Lewis text him. Then there was the story that it wasn’t Leona Lewis, but another woman that text Chris Brown that sent Rihanna into a frenzy that led her to hit Chris Brown with her shoe. The stories have been never-ending and recently it was reported that Rihanna has decided to tell the police the true story about the night’s events. This story includes a woman texting Chris Brown, Rihanna becoming enraged and attacking him as he drove. Chris tried to get control of her while remaining in control of the car and the fight ensued. This led to both parties throwing blows in the moving vehicle and outside of the vehicle.  

The many comments I have heard and seen concerning Rihanna’s decision to remain in a relationship with someone who allegedly  beat her have been for the most part negative and ignorant. When a woman stays with an abusive partner there are underlying issues and that issue is not just the fact that she loves him. If you allow someone to physically abuse you it is guaranteed that you have some emotional issues going on as well. Physical abuse and emotional abuse go hand in hand. Even if the abuser isn’t saying things that have you emotionally distressed the victim’s own self esteem issues feelings of worthlessness are .  Many people wonder why and how a woman can continue to love and stay with a man that abuses her, but if you are an emotional wreck and don’t really know where to turn or how to get out of the situation, you will remain in the situation. Many times women are embarrassed to seek help. So many times women hear all of the negative remarks about women remaining in these situations being stupid and deserving what they get, they are afraid to speak up and seek help for themselves.

The news has also reported that Brown is now seeking a plea deal in which he would not have to serve any jail time. This could only happen if the federal charges he is facing are dropped to misdemeanors. How could the courts allow that to happen, well if the recent reports are true and Rihanna is going to admit to initiating the fight by slapping Chris Brown first, then proceeding to hit him in the face with her shoe the felony charges have a great chance of being reduced to misdemeanors because of Rihanna’s actions. For many people the news of the plea deal is shocking, but as I stat4ed before, we don’t know the whole or true story, so in the end we have two adults who have decided that regardless of what happened that night they want to be together….that is their choice.

Diddy who is friend to both Rihanna and Brown recently caught flack for allowing the pair to reconcile at his Miami home. While on the  Ellen DeGeneres Show Diddy talked about his decision to allow the couple to spend time together at his home.

Here is the video of Diddy explaining his reasoning behind his decision

In my opinion the media’s attack of Diddy over this is ridiculous. Rihanna and Chris Brown are adults. If they come to a friend and ask a favor, why wouldn’t he grant that favor. How many of us in our everyday lives have known that our friends relationships had major problems and we allowed them time to talk it out. Not because we approved of any negative behavior, but because we were their friend.

Then there is the entire show that Oprah dedicated to the topic of Dating Violence & Battered Women. Oprah is beginning to pluck my last nerve. I know that many of you are strong supporters of Oprah Winfrey but I am not for many reasons. I won’t go into detail here because that would be an entire blog entry in itself, but I will say that sometimes we need to realize that everything isn’t our business. Everything isn’t an opportunity for us to speak up and speak out on, especially if we are going to make accusations and pass judgments when we don’t know the facts.

Along with Oprah was Tyra Banks, who recounted on the show her own personal battle with and abusive boyfriend. Banks stated that the boyfriend was not physically abusive, but was very jealous, controlling and emotionally abusive.

Banks and Winfrey’s message was that Love Doesn’t Hurt and that if a man hits you once he will hit you again. Winfrey went on to say that regardless of if Rihanna hit Brown first, he had no right to hit her.

I know I may get ridiculed for this, but I don’t agree with that statement. I in no way approve of men battering women, but human nature does not always allow the first reaction of walking away. It is 100% wrong for a man to hit a woman, just as it is 100% wrong for a woman to hit a man. We should all live by the golden rule we learned way back in kindergarten which is “everyone keep their hands to their self’. This action will keep everyone out of trouble. Now in the event that a woman does hit a man he should walk away. But how many times can you walk away from someone hitting you? How many times have the people who are passing judgment just sucked it up and walked away when someone/anyone hit them? So just as Chris Brown is being verbally pounded and chastised for laying hands on Rihanna if she started the attack, she also needs to be counseled and talked to profusely about keeping her hands to herself.

I know that many people who are watching the news coverage of the Chris and Rihanna ordeal was swayed to believe everything the news reports. It is hard not to look at Chris Brown as a monster who deserves to be thrown underneath the jail. But I can personally speak on behalf of abused women and I can also speak on behalf of one of the many people who witness on a regular basis women who cannot control their anger when it comes to their man. Just as I have a personal account of being a battered woman I also know many women who will throw blows and start fights with men and live this dramified life every day.

To end this I would like to say that Domestic Violence is wrong…end of story.

But for those of us who were not there we can’t say how it happened, who started it and what the outcome should be. For our own lives are oftentimes not as much of a clean slate as we would like them to be. If we can throw stones at Chris Brown for hitting a woman and we can ridicule Rihanna for reconciling with him, we should also throw stones at our self for the bad relationship we remained in for way too long. We should ridicule our self for slapping our ex boyfriend because we found out he was cheating. We should reminisce on each time we started drama and lived to tell about it because each one of those incidents could have been one where someone took our drama serious and ended our life.

John 8:7

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.