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Chris Brown Pleads Not Guilty

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Although Radio Disney sensation Chris Brown allegedly beat girlfriend Rihanna, he has pleaded not guilty to two felonies -- assault and making criminal threats. Is this a "teachable moment" for moms? Here's what psychologist Dr. Cara Gardenswartz has to say.

Chris Brown

Clinical psychologist Dr. Cara Gardenswartz, Ph.D: Surveys report that one in five teens who've been in serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner. One in five boyfriends had threatened violence if presented with a break-up.

Lessons for our kids:

The disturbing story about Rihanna and Chris Brown and media attention can lead to conversations about domestic violence and emotional abuse. We can teach our children that violence is never acceptable, and discuss what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior in relationships. We can talk to our children about how difficult it is for people to leave situations.

Questions to ask your teens:

- What do you consider a violent relationship -- emotionally and physically?
- What does a healthy relationship look like and what does an unhealthy relationship look like? A romantic one? A peer one? A relationship with an adult?
- What would you do if you were in Rihanna's situation? The moment the abuse happened? Afterwards?
- Would you get back together with Chris if he apologized?
- Is hitting ever acceptable?
- Is it Rihanna's fault at all?
- What are ways you can deal with your anger?
- Is there a difference between being threatened by someone you love vs. a stranger?
- What is date rape?

Ask your teens what they consider abuse -- then educate them on it:

Types of Abuse:

Physical: Hitting, pushing, biting, punching, choking...
Any type of touch that feels uncomfortable

Emotional: Cursing, swearing, attacks on self-esteem, blaming, criticizing your thoughts and feelings, controlling someone through manipulation

Threatening, throwing, smashing, breaking things, hiding things

Any non-consenting sexual act or behavior

You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your boyfriend:
- Tries to isolate you from family or friends
- Continually criticizes you
- Acts jealous or possessive
- Monitors where you go, who you call and who you spend time with
- Punishes you by withholding affection
- Threatens to hurt you

You may be in a physically abusive relationship if your partner has ever:
- Thrown objects or damaged property
- Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked or choked you
- Kept you from physically leaving a situation
- Used a weapon to threaten or hurt you
- Prevented you from calling police

You may be in a sexually abusive relationship if your partner:
- Wants you to dress in a sexual way
- Calls you sexual names in a demeaning or provocative way
- Has ever forced or manipulated you into to having sex or performing sexual acts
- Held you down during sex

How to get out of a domestic violence situation:
- Tell your partner this is not acceptable
- Whether or not he listens to you, walk away.
- Don't encourage an argument -- it will escalate
- Tell your peers and adults
- Call the police
- Make sure you are in a physically safe place
- Get medical help if needed
- End the relationship -- PERIOD
- There is no room for couples therapy -- it is contraindicated for abusive relationships because it can escalate abuse

Do you think the Rihanna-Chris Brown situation is a "teachable moment" for moms?

next: New Video Shows a Cool Casey Anthony
7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous April 6, 2009, 10:05 PM

At least SOMETHING good van come out of this horrific situation. Thanks DoctorG

herpesgirl April 6, 2009, 10:43 PM

Breaking news!!!

After the exposure of Rihanna gave Chris Brown herpes. the new subscribers on the largest STD dating site

==== Positivefish. com =====
have increased by 25% everyday. Someone even told me that Rihanna has an account
on that site! Do you believe it?

grubbypaws54 April 7, 2009, 1:08 PM

Gimme a break. This kid needs to grow up and step up. He DID assault her and pics taken to prove it. Why is he pleading NOT GUILTY? His family has commented several times since the incident that he is ‘apologetic’ etc etc so it’s obvious he knew he did something wrong when he did it. He needs to be accountable for his actions!

Rachel April 7, 2009, 3:40 PM

It is ridiculous that he’s pleading guilty. I appreciate this post being posted. Especially the part on what to do fi you are in a violent relationship. As a victim of DV I support Domestic Violence Awareness much more than I used to! ANYBODY who is in a vioent relationship needs to understand the severity of it…forget your pride and take care of yourself and GET OUT of the relationship….PERIOD!

Marjorie April 12, 2009, 12:05 PM

thank you Dr. G for all the good advice and practical ways to speak in advance with our kids about such an important issue to prevent it from happening.

Gbkydowx June 30, 2009, 6:48 AM

ApM0iW comment3 ,

Iomyvbph July 1, 2009, 8:14 AM

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