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“But, for me, and anyone who’s been a victim of domestic abuse, nobody wants to even remember it. So to talk about it and say it once, much less 200 times, is like … It didn’t sit well with me.” Rihanna should be commended for her honesty, her courage and the considerable insight she has shown.
She is not, as she said, a “poster girl” for domestic abuse. At the heart of Rihanna’s latest comments lies the issue of choice.
In Rihanna's case, she was punished not only for being a victim of domestic violence and then for returning to the perpetrator (she and Brown initially got back together), but also for being famous – as the incident was mentioned and imbued with meaning again and again by commentators.
“A lot of women, a lot of young girls, are still going through it. It’s not a subject to sweep under the rug, so I can’t just dismiss it like it wasn’t anything, or I don’t take it seriously.
She’s wearing a white crop top, denim cutoff shorts, Puma sneakers, and a flowing Chinese-patterned robe.
When she orders three half-portions of pasta dishes (spaghetti pomodoro with basil, gnocchi, and ravioli), I ask how she maintains her curvy but slim figure.
Domestic violence is a choice that men make about the power and privilege they assume, and the way they use it.
Yet so often it is framed as a choice the victim makes: that she chooses violence by not leaving, by falling in love, by giving him a second chance, by not wanting to be on her own. How can women ever move on from abusive men in a culture that tells them the man is not really, truly at fault?
As the 27-year-old readies her long-awaited new album, she talks candidly about the chasm between her reality and her reputation.
“I am going to do what makes me feel happy, what I feel like doing.
But that would be empty for me; that to me is a hollow move.
And while people may assume that her life is just one big, long, sexy night out on the town, she insists it’s not true. “Honestly, I’ve been thinking lately about how boring I am,” she says.
“When I do get time to myself, I watch TV.” Now we’re off and running, both of us mourning the end of [true stories of women who lost control and committed murder].
Those are things that actually happened in real life,” she says.