Teenage Girls React to Chris Brown Abuse




Article Courtesy of The New York Times

By Jan Hoffman

In the hallway of Hostos-Lincoln Academy in the Bronx this week, two ninth-grade girls discussed the pop singer Chris Brown, 19, who faces two felony charges for allegedly beating his girlfriend, the pop singer Rihanna, 21. At first, neither girl had believed Mr. Brown, an endearing crooner, could have done such a thing.

“I thought she was lying, or that the tabloids were making it up,” one girl said.

Even after they saw a photo of Rihanna’s bloodied, bruised face, which had raced across the Internet, they still defended Mr. Brown. “She probably made him mad for him to react like that,” the other ninth grader said. “You know, like, bring it on?”

The girls agreed that Mr. Brown overreacted. According to court documents, the fight last month erupted after Rihanna read a text message to Mr. Brown from another woman. Mr. Brown, the affidavit said, then punched, bit and choked her.

Should he be punished? No, said the girls, whose names were withheld at the request of the school. After all, they said, Rihanna seemed to have reconciled with Mr. Brown.

“So he shouldn’t get into trouble if she doesn’t feel that way,” one girl said. “She probably feels bad that it was her fault, so she took him back.”

Her friend nodded. “I don’t think he’ll hit her like that again,” she said.

On blogs and social networking sites, teenagers are having an e-shouting match about this highly publicized episode — perhaps the first time their generation has been compelled to think aloud about dating violence.

And what may be surprising is the level of support for Mr. Brown. While thousands of teenagers have certainly turned on Mr. Brown, many others — regardless of race or gender — defend him, often at Rihanna’s expense.