Chris Brown's Response To The Night He Assaulted Rihanna Is Unconscionable

The rapper downplays the violence that occurred between the former couple and essentially blames Rihanna for provoking him.

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Chris Brown has 'opened up' about the night he assaulted his ex-girlfriend Rihanna, back in 2009.

To jog your memory, the 'With You' singer was found guilty of assault after he physically attacked Rihanna in a Lamborghini the night before the Grammys.

But what you'll really remember is the picture. The picture that sent shockwaves around the world, which was published by gossip site TMZ. To see the pop princess covered in bruises and contusions, with a split lip and black eye to boot, wasn't only alarming, but a serious wake-up call for women everywhere.

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Nobody, not even a rich, beautiful, talented superstar, is immune to domestic abuse.

Almost a decade later, the rapper, 28, has gone into detail about the incident in his new documentary, Chris Brown: Welcome To My Life, explaining that their relationship had suffered after he admitted being unfaithful with a former employee.

Rihanna found out and 'starts going off', explains Brown in the clip. 'She throws the phone, 'I hate you!', whatever, whatever, she starts hitting me, we're in a little Lamborghini, you know she's fighting me.'

'Like I remember she tried to kick me, just like her beating shit, but then I really hit her. With a closed fist, like I punched her, and it busted her lip, and when I saw it I was in shock, I was 'fuck, why did I hit her like that?''

'So from there she's…spitting blood in my face, it raised me even more. It's a real fight in the car, and we driving in the street.'

Brown said Rihanna then grabbed his crotch while scrambling to get his phone, and so he bit her on the arm.

He continued: 'I'm just trying to resolve the situation, I'm not trying to fight any further, like I love her, I don't want to hurt my girlfriend.'

The singer was sentenced to five years of probation, one year of domestic violence counselling, and six months of community service for the assault, which he completed in March 2015.

In Brown's telling of the incident, the abuse that occurred was merely a result of his and Rihanna's destructive relationship.

But here's the rub: this isn't the first, or last, time Brown has been accused of assaulting women.

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Two years after being charged with battery, the singer reportedly smashed up a TV studio dressing room when a Good Morning America presenter asked about their relationship. He's been accused of stealing a woman's phone, shoving a woman to the floor, forcibly ejecting a woman from his bus, punching a woman in the face in a Las Vegas night club and threatening a woman with a gun.

Seeing a pattern here, huh?

He's also picked fights with Frank Ocean and Drake, is responsible for lyrics such as, 'I super soak that ho/Show 'em no love/Just throw 'em a towel' and responded to one woman's critical tweet with 'take them teeth out when u Sucking my dick HOE'.

And to hear Rihanna's portrayal of the incident is far more chilling than Brown's 'she did this' and 'she did that' retelling. Nine months after the assault the singer chatted to Diane Sawyer on American current affairs programme 20/20.

'I fended him off with my feet,' she said. 'He had no soul in his eyes. Just blank. He was clearly blacked-out. There was no person when I looked at him. It was almost as if he had nothing to lose. He had so much to lose. It wasn't the same person that says I love you. It definitely wasn't those eyes.'

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'I was battered, I was bleeding, I was swollen in the face,' she continues. 'So there was no way of me getting home, except ... to get out of the car and walk. Start walking in a gown, in a bloody face.'

The police report, which is available online to read, also tells of a far more horrifying account. The phrases 'barrage of punches', 'placed her in a headlock' and 'I'm going to beat the shit out of you when we get home! You wait and see!' leave you utterly cold.

We weren't there, so we'll never be sure and, granted, a police report is what the attending officer concluded from both sides of the story at the time of incident. But there is a distinct difference in the levels of violence portrayed. Brown makes it seem like he slapped and punched his girlfriend a few times. The photo, and police report, clearly indicate she was beaten.

He paints a picture of a turbulent, passionate romance fuelled by angry love, when reality suggests he's a thug who attacked someone who accused him of cheating.

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After Brown told Rihanna about his infidelity, he said that she 'hated' him and their relationship became increasingly volatile.

'From there, it just went downhill because it would be fights, it would be verbal fights, physical fights as well...' he says. 'We were fighting each other. She would hit me, I would hit her. But it was never OK.'

As Refuge – a leading domestic abuse charity – has asserted, there is never any excuse for a man to hit his partner and that violence is a 'choice'.

'Whatever goes wrong in a relationship, no man has a right to hit his partner. We all say and do things we later regret, but domestic violence does not 'take two,'' Refuge CEO Sandra Horley said.

'No woman can make a man hit her; violence is a choice he makes and he alone is responsible for it. Blaming the victim is another way perpetrators maintain control over their victims – it shifts the responsibility to the woman. Manipulating her into thinking she is responsible is a ploy abusers use to deflect from their violent and controlling behaviour. Hitting a woman is never acceptable behaviour – it is against the law.'

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Hiding behind a romantic notion of being 'too' in love to control your passionate rage is weak, feeble and minimises the situation. You also can't ignore the fact that he's a man and therefore, by nature, physically stronger.

Equally alarming, however, are the comments under the video clip posted to Facebook.

One woman wrote: 'When u constantly nag at them they will fuckin snap. they have a lot of patience but at some point in a situation enough is enough. I love Rih Rih but she had it coming... 😞😞''

While another said: 'Rihanna sounds crazy & very abusive to the point where Chris himself was forced to step out his character and beat this girls ass. Everybody was so shocked & felt some type of sympathy when they seen those pics of Rihanna but sounds to me she had every [bit] coming. Don't touch someone if your not ready to get hit back, I always knew he didn't hit her for no reason.'

It's common for survivors of domestic violence to be doubted when the perpetrator doesn't line up with the stereotype of an abuser. Even when there's proof. Even when you're Rihanna and there's proof.

People find it very hard to believe Brown - the famous, successful, oh-so charming Brown - could be a perpetrator of domestic violence. Not without Rihanna's input, of course. So, in an all-too familiar narrative, the blame falls to the victim. And victim blaming is lethally dangerous. It deflects responsibility, stops women from seeking help, excuses perpetrators and it encourages the cycle of abuse.

As Katie Ghose, Women's Aid chief executive says, 'Brown is sending out a very dangerous message to both survivors and abusers by relieving himself of responsibility for his actions by blaming Rihanna for provoking him.'

If we've learnt anything from Trump's avoidance of white supremacist condemnation: let's call a spade a spade. Don't downplay play the fact that you beat your girlfriend to a pulp, or minimise your involvement by involving her.

Or as one Facebook user, Chika Cheeks K, quite rightly comments: 'I wasted 11 minutes of my life watching this rubbish...'

The National Domestic Violence helpline can be reached free in the UK on 0808 2000 247.

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