When Chris Brown brutally beat his then girlfriend Rihanna three years ago, many missed an opportunity to engage young people in a serious conversation about dating violence. Instead of the pair coming out strongly against intimate partner abuse and becoming advocates for its cause, they kept it moving with their lives and eventually reconnected in song, causing many to wonder what example their reunion sent to out youth.
While Breezy and RihRih surely did not have to become the face of dating violence prevention, it would have gone a long way to further the message that being abused by a partner is not only wrong, but it’s happening more than we think, especially to young black girls.
According to the Center for Disease Control’s Youth Behavior Risk Surveillance Study, one out of 11 high school students has experienced some form of physical violence in their relationship, and black teens are most affected.
TheGrio reports, “In fact, the CDC’s Youth Behavior Risk Surveillance Study reported that black high-school girls are 80 percent more likely than white girls to be hit, slapped or hurt on purpose by their boyfriends.” The report also found that “adolescents do not see the negative consequences of dating violence in their friends’ lives. In one study, 31% of adolescents reported having at least one friend who was in a violent relationship.”
So while many brushed off the message Breezy and Rihanna were sending their young fans by reuniting, the numbers don’t lie. Dating violence among teens is a serious problem in need of a serious solution.