The Situation of Blaming Rihanna
Posted by The Situationist Staff on March 17, 2009
From the LAPD detective’s notes and Fox News via the Boston Globe:
After Rihanna read a text message on [Chris] Brown’s phone from a woman, he tried to force Rihanna out of the car, but couldn’t because she was wearing her seatbelt. Brown then allegedly slammed Rihanna’s head against her window, and when Rihanna turned to face him, he punched her.
The notes said blood spattered on Rihanna’s clothing and the interior of the Lamborghini.
Rihanna also called her assistant, according to FOX 11, leaving a message saying, “I am on my way home. Make sure the cops are there when I get there.”
Brown then reportedly replied, “You just did the stupidest thing ever. I’m going to kill you,” and proceeded to punch and bite Rihanna. He allegedly put her in a headlock so long that she almost lost consciousness.
Rihanna, who turned 21 a few weeks after the incident, was beaten severely enough to require hospitalization. Brown, 19, who reportedly had a history of violence toward Rihanna, turned himself in and was charged with two felonies.
[The just-world hypothesis] refers to the tendency for people to want to believe that the world is “just” so strongly that when they witness an otherwise inexplicable injustice they will rationalize it by searching for things that the victim might have done to deserve it. This deflects their anxiety, and lets them continue to believe the world is a just place, but at the expense of blaming victims for things that were not, objectively, their fault.
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In . . . [one] study, subjects were told two versions of a story about an interaction between a woman and a man. Both variations were exactly the same, except at the very end the man raped the woman in one and in the other he proposed marriage. In both conditions, subjects viewed the woman’s (identical) actions as inevitably leading to the (very different) results
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A survey conducted by the Boston Public Health Commission on the dating violence incident involving pop music idols Chris Brown and Rihanna revealed that nearly half of Boston youths surveyed said she was “responsible” for what happened while 52 percent said they were both to blame.
“The story of Chris Brown and Rihanna may have happened 3,000 miles away, but it is very much a Boston story,” said Casey Corcoran, director of the Public Health Commission’s new Start Strong program.
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Corcoran’s program, housed in the Commission’s Division of Violence Prevention, surveyed 200 Boston youth ages 12 to 19, between Feb. 13 and 20, using the Chris Brown-Rihanna case to gauge their attitudes toward teen dating violence; 100 percent of those surveyed had heard about the incident.
Among the findings:
- 71% said arguing was a normal part of a relationship
- 44% said fighting was a normal part of a relationship
- 51% said Chris Brown was responsible for the incident
- 46% said Rihanna was responsible for the incident
- 52% said both individuals were to blame for the incident, despite knowing at the time that
Rihanna had been beaten badly enough to require hospital treatment
- 35% said the media were treating Rihanna unfairly
- 52% said the media were treating Chris Brown unfairly
In addition, a significant number of males and females in the survey said Rihanna was destroying Chris Brown’s career, and females were no less likely than males to come to Rihanna’s defense.
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For a related Situationist post, see “Unrecognized Injustice — The Situation of Rape.”
This entry was posted on March 17, 2009 at 12:01 am and is filed under Conflict, Entertainment, Social Psychology, System Legitimacy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.