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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
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