Sil Lai Abrams was battered for five years, even while she was pregnant. She recorded the interview and watched it with her 14-year-old daughter "to really educate her" and check in on her awareness of dating violence. Abrams sees Rihanna's experience as a teachable moment.
"Knowing that, you know, what she's acknowledging is being beaten, and it just makes me so angry when people think about abuse as an isolated incident," Abrams said. "It is a pattern of behavior. A man who is a batterer doesn't just beat you up once. He beats you down every single day, for a period of time before he ever puts his hands on you."
For Abrams, those who defend Chris Brown "don't understand what he's doing.
"They're again looking at it as an isolated incident, as if she provoked him," she said. "They're shifting the blame."
Jean Sung said, "Why are we always blaming the victim? Like whether or not we know the whole story, we do know that she was physically abused."
All the women agreed that young girls need to have the power to get out of violent relationships.
"I think that it's great to have school programs, and it's great to have ... a place where you can get involved," Sheryl Cates, the CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline said.
"And make a difference. Make your voice heard. I mean, all of you that are here with us … are making that huge difference ... by using your voice to say ... we've got to stop it. We can't ignore this any longer."
National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 800-787-3224.
Safe Horizon's Hotlines
Domestic Violence Hotline: 800.621.HOPE (4673)
Crime Victims Hotline: 866.689.HELP
Rape, Sexual Assault & Incest Hotline: 212.227.3000
TDD phone number for all hotlines: 866.604.5350
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