Monday, February 16, 2009

Domestic Violence: Rihanna, Chris Brown incident demonstrates need for early intervention

Statement of Esta Soler, President, Family Violence Prevention Fund. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Rihanna, who was reportedly the victim of a violent assault by Chris Brown. That the victim and alleged perpetrator in this case are both well-known entertainers adds a public dimension to what happens privately in this country every hour of every day. As we extend our support and sympathy to Rihanna, let's remember that we all have victims of dating and domestic violence in our own communities who need our help as well.

There are many unanswered questions here, and certainly Chris Brown is entitled to the same presumption of innocence as anyone else charged with a crime. But there are principles that should guide our response. Violence is never acceptable. Nothing a victim does, and nothing in a perpetrator's background, ever justifies violence. Those who commit violence must be held accountable. Victims of violence need and deserve protection, support and privacy.

Chris Brown has talked openly about the trauma he experienced growing up in a home plagued by domestic violence. Like so many children in similar situations, he needed professional intervention. If the allegations are true and he committed this assault, we have to assume that he did not get the help he needed. That is true for millions of children growing up in homes in which violence occurs. We must do better, or more children will grow up at risk for becoming victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.

The conversation this assault has launched, on blogs and entertainment websites, is a stark reminder of the urgent need for education and prevention. We aren't intervening with kids at risk for domestic violence. We aren't doing enough to teach the next generation that violence is wrong. We aren't training enough teachers, health care providers and other potential intervenors to ask if people are safe, and help if their answer is 'no.' We aren't funding new programs in the federal Violence Against Women Act that offer real hope for preventing violence before it begins."

Background: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 1,200 deaths and two million injuries to women from intimate partner violence each year. On average, three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends each day in this country. 15.5 million U.S. children live in families in which partner violence occurred at least once in the past year, and seven million children live in families in which severe partner violence occurred.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund works to end violence against women and children around the world, because every person has the right to live free of violence. More information is available at In partnership with the Advertising Council, the FVPF has launched That's Not Cool, a new campaign designed to help start a conversation among teens so they will connect the dots and recognize when controlling behavior becomes abuse. Learn more at

Source: Family Violence Prevention Fund
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
Putting principles before profits