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Chris Brown Admits to a Family History of Abuse

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Is this the reason he allegedly beat up Rihanna?

Chris Brown
By now, you have probably heard about the allegations leveled at 19-year-old R&B sensation Chris Brown. Brown and his girlfriend, singer Rihanna, had been spotted together at a pre-Grammy event in the Beverly Hills Hilton. Shortly after, the Los Angeles Police Department says after an argument in a car, a "woman suffered visible injuries and identified Brown as her attacker." The LA Times reported today that Rihanna was that victim. Chris Brown has been booked on a felony criminal threats charge. If the D.A. files charges in the case, domestic violence charges could be added.

We don't know about you, but we were shocked to hear this story. However, in 2007 Brown told Giant magazine he has a history with domestic abuse -- his stepfather abused his mother for years. In the article, Brown recalls telling his mother at the age of 11, that some day, he would go to jail by age 15 for killing his abusive stepfather. "I just want you to know that I love you," he told her. "But I'm gonna take a baseball bat one day while you at work, and I'm gonna kill him."

The story took a bizarre and gruesome turn when he says his stepfather attempted suicide, shot himself in the head and missed his brain, sending the shot straight through his eyes. He survived the suicide attempt but was permanently blinded. "When you're blind, your senses are heightened, like your smell, hearing, your sense of touch," Brown explains. "You can move and maneuver around your sight. But he used to hit my mom ... He made me terrified all the time, terrified like I had to pee on myself. I remember one night he made her nose bleed. I was crying and thinking, 'I'm just gonna go crazy on him one day...' I hate him to this day."

Could all this pent-up rage be the reason Brown went on the attack? We spoke to Helga Luest, President and CEO of Witness Justice, about the dangerous cycle of violence. "It makes sense that someone who witnessed violence as a child would repeat the same behavior as an adult," says Luest. "Early exposure to domestic violence not only sets the tone for how a child believes adults should interact, but it also shapes his world view."

"What's more, for people who grew up viewing violence, there are certain life events that can trigger violent outbursts," Luest explains. "For example, for celebrities who explode into fame rather quickly and are viewed under a microscope, the media scrutiny could be a reminder of growing up in a house where you were scrutinized and punished for making mistakes."

As for the reports that Brown and Rihanna had a rocky relationship, Luest says it's possible some of their arguments mimicked the ones Brown grew up watching, and his supposed attack could have been served as a trigger for his outburst. "Whatever behavior kids see and hear growing up serves as a model for how men and women should behave," she says. "And even if you know the difference between right and wrong, those impressions can be difficult to overcome." The main problem, according to Luest, is that families don't talk about their experience -- and no one is using the word violence. Because of that, victims of abuse grow up to believe violence is normal and they end up repeating that behavior in their own relationships.

The bottom line is that kids -- especially those exposed to violence at a young age -- should seek counseling as soon as possible, to ensure they don't repeat the cycle of abuse.




next: Girl Afraid of Dentist Starves to Death
87 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jackie February 10, 2009, 7:28 AM

I am sad to hear this about Chris, he is looked up to by so many young Americans, but I think if he gets counseling and goes public with talking about his past and goes around to high school and colleges telling his story to try to help other young people that have had abusive family members, It will help him as well as others to try and overcome this rage they tend to have deep inside them.
but he MUST publicly tell Rihanna that he is truely sorry.

shay/nay February 10, 2009, 1:33 PM

I don’t think chris brown should go to jail cuz he had a rough life when he was younger and c’mon its a fight i bet he did’t really mean to beat down rhianna and plus do you think he would hit her? maybe a little hit or so but i don’t think he meant to:} if he goes toi jail then it could mess up his singing career

ceej February 10, 2009, 3:15 PM

Actually that’s only half the story. They were arguing because it is speculated that Rihanna gave Chris Brown herpes and he actually tuned HIMSELF in after the rough housing incident. It wasn’t as if he ran away and she filled a report.

Common February 10, 2009, 5:45 PM

It always amazes me, the ignorance. “he shouldn’t go to Jail!… Cause he had a rough life!” Most abusers, physical and sexual were once the abusee. By Shay/nay’s logic we should free all the pedifiles and domestic abusers cause I’m sure they all had bad childhoods. And to justify your reasoning with “it will mess up his career” solidifies you ignorance. An Ceej your just as ignorant, Yes, he turned himself in a day after he left the scene. And probably after realizing that the person he beat wasn’t some poor groupie he could pay off!

Kitty2pat February 11, 2009, 1:46 AM

My kids are tired of me asking the same ole’ question about situations which is:”where is Chris’ mother and what does she have to say?” I do realize that these kids are grown or at least consider themselves to be so …which translates into not being able to tell them anything. If Chris’ mother lived with a man who abused her she may feel guilty, embarrased, and that she has no right to say anything but if he ever needed her before, he sho’ needs her now!

Boo-Hoo February 11, 2009, 10:57 AM

BOO-HOO to Chris Brown…poor baby…had a rough childhood…boo-hoo. I know too many friends that had horrible (and I mean much worse than Chris Brown) childhoods and they adjusted themselves. Taught themselves to be respectful adults, treat their relationships with care and to never hit another human the way they were hit. Sorry, I will never buy into that one. My question to those that are ok with what he did to his girlfriend…if that was you or more importantly your CHILD…would you make excuses for them? I highly doubt it. Period.

SarahH February 11, 2009, 11:12 AM

I think that this is a devastating story, but will hopefully shed some light on the cycle of domestic abuse, and the effects that it has growing up as a witness/victim. My heart goes out to both parties involved and I hope that they both get the help that they need and that everything turns out OK for the both of them. I heard reports that Chris turned himself into the L.A.P.D which, in my opinion, suggests that he was feeling very guilty and probably shocked that he was capable of his behavior. I hope that his admittance is the first step in getting the help he needs.

Joy February 11, 2009, 10:01 PM

PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES AND THEY BOTH MADE ONE. CANT NOBODY REALLY COMMENT ON WHAT REALLY HAPPEN BUT THEM.I”M SORRY THAT A DOWNFALL LIKE THIS CAME INTO HIS LIFE BUT MAYBE THIS IS A WAKE UP CALL FOR BOTH OF THEM. I WISH HIM THE BEST OF LUCK. GOD BE WITH YOU CHRIS BROWN.QUESTION??? IF SHE HIT HIM FIRST, WOULDNT THAT BE SELF DEFENSE? AND EVERYBODY IS ALWAYS SAYING THAT IT IS NOT RIGHT FOR A MAN TO HIT A WOMEN BUT ITS NOT RIGHT FOR A WOMEN TO HIT A MAN? I’M PRAYING FOR YOU CHRIS BROWN.KEEP YOUR HEAD

sally February 12, 2009, 10:13 AM

Many of you are absolutely disgusting. You are right, Rihanna made a mistake, by dating an ignorant and abusive man. Chris Brown should be forgiven for strangling someone into unconsciousness, biting them, and punching them in the face because he had a bad childhood? Are you serious?

bnthrdntht February 12, 2009, 10:32 AM

Self-defense is covering your face or running away not breaking a cheekbone, biting flesh off, and choking to unconciousness. Chris Brown is a great artist, but as a man, I have NO tolerance for domestic violence. NO REAL MAN SHOULD. For you women, please respect yourselves enough not to justify this type of behavior…

wayne February 12, 2009, 11:57 AM

He shouldnt go to jail? there is a story behind most people in jail and how there past dictated there action (THERE STORY BEHIND IT) if he shouldnt go to jail nobody should be in jail because to u “its not there fault” think about it the world would be more fucked up and it would continue in cycles lmao

idiots February 12, 2009, 12:59 PM

Joy - you can barely write and your comments further demonstrate your level of intelligence. What mistake did Rihanna make other than being around an abusive person? You said, “Can’t nobody really comment on what really happen but them.” First of all, I am so blown away by your atrocious grammar that I want to scream but that is not my point. You then go on to address the absurd idea that Brown might have beaten Rihanna in self-defense. Not only are you commenting “on what really happen,” but you are also proposing that an assault involving biting, punching, and choking was simply to defend against a girl half her attacker’s size? Honestly, you frighten me.

sandra February 12, 2009, 1:01 PM

Ummm ceej? The speculation that Rihanna gave Brown an STD is moronic and completely unfounded. My students are spreading this rumor. Where did you get your information?

Anonymous February 12, 2009, 4:41 PM

Everything that is being said has not come out of Rihanna nor Chris’ mouth. Nobody really knows what happened yet. It is all speculation. All we know for sure is that Chris beat somebody up. Rihanna hasn’t even confirmed that it was her. So before everybody loses their panties over this, lets find out what really happened first.

latoyer  February 12, 2009, 9:41 PM

Hey he is only 19 years old and it not too late for him to get help.

L February 16, 2009, 2:38 AM

There’s no excuse for this kind of violence. Let’s hope it’s a wake-up call for Chris, and he gets some help, not just as a good public relations ploy, but that he will commit to sticking with it for as long as it takes to exorcise his personal demons. And it can take some time. One session with a mental health professional would be no more than a joke.

Just February 17, 2009, 7:13 PM

Some of you are ridiculous. You don’t have all the facts and probably never will. For all we know she attacked him. Has anyone brought up the rumor that she busted her brother in the face with a glass bottle in an unprovoked attack?? Is that not demonstrating a violent streak too? They both need help. They both exercised poor judgement in getting so involved in a relationship without being emotionally prepared. If he did it then he should face the consequences. If she attacked him then she should face the consequences too.

Butt April 8, 2009, 9:35 AM

Let the kids go ,everyone makes Mistakes

NoNo April 13, 2009, 3:29 PM

I think Chris needs to be off the hook for this one. I mean everybody makes mistakes.

Chase October 18, 2010, 11:56 AM

That was intriguing . I like your quality that you put into your work. Please do move forward with more like this.


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