Chris Brown and Rihanna can help others avoid domestic violence

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

(AP Photo/Lori Shepler, Pool)

On Tuesday, singer Chris Brown was allowed to cop a plea deal for the brutal beating he inflicted on his ex-girlfriend Rhianna following a pre-Grammy party. He not only punched her about her body but also caused damage to her face, after she allegedly caught him for receiving provocative text messages from another female.

The media has since been abuzz with the opinion that Chris Brown got away with murder. The fact is that even though what he did was criminal, heinous and inexcusable, Brown did not have a previous criminal record. And though Rihanna was ready to testify against him she also supported the plea deal. In my opinion justice was served.

Brown now has a tarnished career, a criminal record, countless hours of demeaning and embarrassing community service and he has admitted his guilt. But even more importantly, he must attend over 500 hours of domestic violence classes. Hopefully he will take his domestic violence classes seriously, acknowledge that he does have an anger problem and learn healthier ways of venting his rage.

Rhianna can now put this ugliness behind her and move on with her singing, acting and cover girl career. She has been spared the agony and embarrassment of rehashing the beating incident. Her career will no longer have to sustain a black eye as a result of her not speaking more forcefully and taking a stand against domestic violence.

However, this is not the end. There is still unfinished business. Chris should not only take the domestic violence classes, but should also become involved in intensive psychotherapy because he too is a victim of domestic violence. He admitted a few years ago that he was emotionally traumatized (claiming that he “pee’d in [his] pants”) as he watched his mother being physically abused by his step father. Therapy would go a long way in helping him exorcise the emotional demons that were cast upon him by witnessing her degradation.

Rhianna also needs to also get therapy in order to make sure that she does not hook up with another guy who is ready to open up a can of whup ass on her for what he may consider to be the slightest provocation. In my long years of providing therapy, one thing that I have learned is that domestic violence in a relationship is not a fluke.

Victims of this violence often go from one abusive relationship to another. Why? Because they too have emotional issues and become involved with abusive men who fill some dysfunctional void that was created from a dysfunctional childhood. Many times they come from homes where domestic violence was the rule of the day. Be it ever so terrible there is no place like home, even if we have to recreate it in our adult lives.

I increasingly hear celebrities, sports stars and entertainers bemoan their role model status. Au contrere mon frère, I strongly disagree. If you are a celebrity and you are supported by the public, than like it or not, you are a a role model by default. You don’t have a choice; it’s a responsibility.

Chris and Rhianna owe it to the public and their fans to step up and admit they had a problem, and show that anyone who experiencing domestic violence – victim or perpetrator – must get professional intervention, so that they can stop the madness and lead healthier lives both physically and emotionally.

They especially owe it to their African-American female fans, who are more likely to experience – and die from – domestic abuse than white women. Chris Brown and Rihanna may be singers, but they are also, unfortunately, just one couple out of many in the African American community who experience such abuse. They can use their experiences to help others avoid becoming yet another statistic.

Lord only knows we don’t need any more “love tko’s.”