Earlier, I wrote about how 22-year-old Emma Roberts was reportedly arrested for domestic violence. If you don’t feel like reading the previous article, here’s a brief summation: Roberts was arrested in Montreal after police were called to the hotel room she was sharing with boyfriend and fellow actor Evan Peters. He declined to press charges, she was released, and the whole incident was kept under wraps until yesterday when TMZ broke the story.
When we posted the article on our Facebook page, we received a few comments that I feel should be addressed.
Okay, first of all, Julia Roberts chased down people who were following her for photos near a school. That is completely different than, say, punching your boyfriend in the face. As for the idea that her father Eric Roberts (re: the “apple falling far from the tree” comment) — arrested in 1987 for assaulting a police officer — somehow contributed to Roberts’ alleged propensity for violence, I find it dismissive to credit anybody’s parents for their child’s choices.
Second, it does not take two to tango. It takes one person who lets rage dictate their actions. I have read and heard so many accounts of domestic violence victims being told by partners, friends and police that they must have done something to incite the aggression, that they are somehow at fault, that it “takes two to tango.” This is just victim-blaming nonsense. It takes one person and one punch.
But here is the primary purpose of this post: the first commenter has a serious point. A good point. One that I am conflicted writing about, because I simultaneously agree wholeheartedly with and am profoundly against it.
Chris Brown is an awful human being. Like, truly awful. He is the kind of person who, when confronted with negativity regarding his past actions by somebody, says he wants to shit in her retinas. He not only brutally beat his girlfriend, he showed virtually zero remorse about the incident for ages after (considering he got less of a penalty than most people would for possessing weed, it’s no wonder he thinks he’s golden).
This is not the same because we know what happened with him and Rihanna. We have seen the police report. We know he tried to push her out of a car, shoved her head against a window and punched her over and over until blood spattered all over the fucking vehicle. And he has continued to be violent. He has learned nothing. While he has inexplicably been allowed to have a career again, with awards shows and huge magazines glossing over his “bad boy antics,” many of us have not forgotten — primarily because he makes it impossible to forget.
As of right now, we do not know exactly what happened between Emma Roberts and Evan Peters. She’s been spotted with bruises on her legs, though, so there’s a possibility that she was (A) defending herself or (B) involved in a mutually violent altercation. While an argument involving violence between two partners is by no means all right, it is still a very different situation than one partner beating the other one.
However, the commenter does touch on a huge issue: people are less inclined to believe women can be abusive to men, as most (yes, most) relationship violence occurs with men attacking women. That fact doesn’t change the terrible abuse perpetrated by many women against their partners, of course, but it certainly makes the public’s image of the problem tending to involve a female and male victimizer. The image is rarely of a beautiful, 5’3″ actress.
Due to the idea that women are inherently weaker than men, there are so many people out there who do not find it possible for a woman to abuse a man. But psychological and verbal abuse don’t require physical strength, and guns do not require big muscles — women can still be cruel, manipulative and harmful to their partners. But as our wonderful reader Cee pointed out on the original post, the stigma of being a man abused by a woman can result in the incident being brushed off, going unreported or unpunished.
And then there’s the race thing. We do not live in some magical world where racism doesn’t exist; it does and, generally speaking, it benefits white people. Honestly, I have heard a lot of rape and domestic violence jokes in my day (pro-tip: they are always awful when the butt of the humor is the victim, so please don’t tell me any), and many of them involve racial stereotypes regarding people of color. There is still this idea that black men abuse women more than white men do; this is obviously untrue and deeply offensive. Not that my experiences are by any means indicative of statistics overall, but I have been exclusively hit by white men. This gross fallacy definitely carries over to female abusers. It’s deplorable, but people are generally not going to look at a cute white 22-year-old woman and think, “I bet she hits her boyfriend.”
People have also long held the incredibly mistaken notion that beautiful, successful people cannot be abusive. This is wrong. Time and time again, this has shown to be wrong. You can be wealthy and famous and remarkably talented and also beat your wife with a baseball bat. Those preceding qualities do not change the fact that you beat your wife with a baseball bat.
If Emma Roberts did, indeed, harm her boyfriend and this was not a two-way street that involved both parties attacking one another, then there is no reason to treat her any differently than we do Chris Brown. If she physically abused her boyfriend, she deserves to be arrested, to go to jail, to have her career take a massive dive. Granted, that’s not really what happened to Chris “I Wanna Shit In Your Retinas” Brown, but it’s what should have happened. It’s what should always happen in cases of domestic violence — even (perhaps especially) ones involving attractive, talented celebrities.
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