It’s only six days into the new year, and black women are already calling out celebrity nonsense. Aside from Kim Kardashian making her headline-shattering return to Instagram with a viral home video and Yahoo’s major Twitter fail, most attention has been aimed at R&B’s resident hothead Chris Brown after he went to social media-war with Soulja Boy over his ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran this past Tuesday (Jan. 3).
But what started out as a hilariously petty pissing match between boys — they traded diss videos on Instagram for hours — quickly turned into a serious dialogue on emotional abuse.
Allegedly, the back-and-forth began over the heart eye emojis Soulja Boy placed under Tran’s vacation pic. To let Brown tell it, the online beef wasn’t sparked by his old flame, but when the 28-year-old Emmy award-winning actress chimed in to remove herself from the online mess, Brown responded with abusive rhetoric.
“Now dis dumba** wanna pop like its about you,” he wrote in all caps and poor grammar. “All your friends are your friends because you were Chris Browns girl.”
The brief verbal assault where Brown continued to aggressively devalue Tran’s worth and achievements was a shock to few given his history with social media and his exes specifically, but it did reaffirm that he’s extremely psychologically abusive and has made no genuine effort to change.
However, this whole ordeal isn’t about Karrueche and Chris Brown as much as it’s about you, black women. Similar to the 2009 fiasco, too many women defended Brown’s pathetic behavior as if irrational jealousy, hate speech and abuse of any kind are passionate acts of love. Plenty black and brown women even took the victim-blaming route and placed responsibility on Tran for Brown’s constant monitoring, public humiliation and controlling behavior.
The textbook definition of emotional abuse is clear: any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth. So while some black women mistake their partner stalking their social media for affection, these types of demeaning acts erode the mental health of the victim, and oftentimes psychological abuse escalates to physical and sexual abuse.
However, the misguided tweets revealed one main thing: Many black women don’t recognize the signs of abuse and its residual trauma.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 48.4 percent of women have experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior by an intimate partner. Black women experience this abuse at a disproportionate rate and are nearly three times more likely to die from it.
Who’s to blame for black women’s longstanding inability to recognize the signs? For starters, historically deep racial and sexual inequities play a large role. Society has done a stellar job at erasing black women’s worth by and large. Also, in many black homes, there’s a lack of examples of healthy love, and abuse is kept tucked away alongside other family secrets. But now that these instances are being taken to task more frequently, with black women exposing abuse and sharing their truths, it’s time to call a spade a spade.
Take a note from Karrueche, if you must. She has fought hard to break free from the destructive cycle, even seeking help from a life coach to acknowledge her victimhood and gain the emotional strength to move on.
Chris Brown has flipped his unbalanced behavior into a ridiculous boxing match, but don’t be distracted by his Internet antics. As much as the jokes fly across our timelines, abuse isn’t a game. If your partner is outraged by your happiness, makes threats to harm you or themselves if you attempt to let them go, exhibits controlling behavior and manipulates you into a constant guilt trips, talk to someone and leave.
The same goes for any close relative or friend you notice experiencing these traumas in their relationship. Be adamant in finding the strength to get out, because the truth is black lives are at stake.