American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
August 13th, 2010
05:58 AM ET

"Eminem and Rihanna's New Video: Is Domestic Violence "The New Normal?"

Domestic violence is rampant in celebrity culture these days – notably the incidents involving “Two and a Half Men" star Charlie Sheen, actor/director Mel Gibson and musician Chris Brown. Yet despite the intense publicity surrounding their cases, some say these influential entertainers won't suffer much financially. And one of the most popular music videos is the controversial “Love the Way You Lie,” by rapper Eminem and pop star Rihanna - about a violent, passionate relationship.

Why would Rihanna, a victim of domestic violence at the hands of Brown, collaborate on such a video with a musician whose lyrics, critics say, are violent and offensive to women? "The message it sends, especially to young people that are largely going to be the audience, is this is normal," said Ayonna Johnson, Director of Legal Services for the Women's Resource Center to End Domestic violence in Decatur, Georgia. "It illustrated a sense of normalcy to a very abnormal dysfunction." Is domestic violence tolerated as the “new normal?”

Marjorie Gilberg, Executive Director of Break the Cycle, which works to end domestic violence among teens, also finds the video disturbing. "I hope that when kids see that video, that they are not interpreting it as a healthy type of relationship." Rihanna, who declined to speak to CNN, told Access Hollywood last month that she collaborated with Eminem on the song because they had both experienced "different ends of the table" of domestic violence. "He pretty much just broke down the cycle of domestic violence, and it's something that a lot of people don't have a lot of insight's a really powerful song. And it touches a lot of people." Johnson worries about the mixed messages coming from popular culture about violence against women. She notes that in the video, "you've got if you leave me again, I'm going to kill you, then it shoots to the two parties peacefully lying in bed together as everything is okay. “ At the end, Eminem sings about tying the woman to the bed and setting the house on fire if she tries to leave. "It definitely has the ability to increase domestic well as the lethality piece." In the Gibson case, and even with Rihanna and Chris Brown, Johnson says, society still tends to blame the victim. "We're still not quite ready as a society to place responsibility and accountability where it lies - which is on the abuser." Gilberg agrees. "We have to make a decision as a society that we are not going to tolerate violence against women." Although she finds the "Love the Way You Lie" video troubling, Gilberg says it could be used as a teaching tool. "It has to be done where the adults that are around young people are willing to talk about the lyrics of the song and address what's going on and actually engage in a conversation about it."

When it comes to domestic violence, pop culture seems to be sending mixed messages. What do you think?

Filed under: Gut Check
soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. Seriously!?

    Seriously people? Eminem is a musician. Take in other bands that sing about murder, drugs, and violence. Why don't we worry more about taxes rather than people who had the chance to share their lives.

    Eminem sings more about his life experiences rather than main-stream society. It's not because he "promotes" domestic violence. Maybe if people would actually listen to the words and meanings of his music instead of taking an outside look and assuming the worst of everything then this wouldn't be such a deal.

    What ever happened to the millions and millions of barrels of oil that just spilled into the Gulf of Mexico? It just dissipated?

    Come on world... we have way bigger issues than this crap!

    August 15, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  2. Dj P.

    I am not a fan of the video or artist really, but I think we are putting far to much weight on the situation. TV glamorizes everything, I don't see where it's any more violent than most of your top sitcoms these days. If you think that's bad then you should look at the top programs on the major networks as well. It's entertainment and by now we should all know it's just make-believe.

    August 15, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  3. Dainna

    I think people need to listen to the words to the song to really get it. And need to stop going into this whole "domestic violence glamorized". Couple's fight, whether they went over board on the movie or not since I haven't seen it. But people need to know the words of the song to get where videos go with things.

    August 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
  4. jenny

    I do not condone this video at all. i have lost family 2 Domestic violence. I have seen for myself what it dose 2 kids as young as 1 years old and how it can hurt them mentally. not only dose the child feel it but the family members feel it 2 and the welfare department that is 2 help kids do not do the job they are payed 2 do and that's 2 look out for what is best for the kids. sadly all they see where i live is a bonus cheek for adopting the kids out. this video show's us just how sick the music industry has come 2 be. and how they look at young woman and men and how the kids of the further will be treated if they keep putting things like this on the air for kids and young adults to see.this world has enough violence in it why dose it have 2 even be in the music we hear and watch.

    August 15, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  5. Tabitha

    I watched this video and where I can see how many people may think it's wrong and uncalled for I wonder are these people listening to the lyrics? I don't even like Eminiem, however I don't understand why people feel the need to attack his new video. It shows reality...there are many people in abusive relationships and they never leave...He is doing what every other singer does...SINGS ABOUT WHAT HE'S EXPERIENCED. If you don't like it, don't listen to it.

    August 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  6. bradley

    eminem has said in an interview "if u take everything i say literally you are ten times as sick as i am" he is definitely using this song to rase awareness

    August 15, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  7. Lea

    Its a good thing to talk about it and put it out there. Its goes on everyday and a lot of people look the other way and just dont talk about it..women and men who are stuck in these kind of relationships it either becomes normal or they just dont know how to get out. So Im glad Eminem and Rhianna have brought awareness to this issue that need to be talked about.

    August 15, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  8. dont judge!

    GREAT VIDEO!!!! Well it's clear that they are not glamorizing domestic violence! I think it was a GREAT idea. It's showing what is really happening in society!! so people get a freakin life an get with it!! its reality!

    August 15, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  9. Kathleen

    the entertainment industry in order to create something new or controversial is always throwing unethical immoral and closer to the edge (of the christian judeo western culture "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" ethic.

    the problem is we accept all this in the name of artistic freedom. but it is a huge influence on our youth and society pays a big price for this dark side of freedom.

    The bar for what is not acceptable needs to be set way higher! we need to have "freedom" from the industry poisoning our youth!

    August 15, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  10. Really People!?!

    Really People!?! you guys are trippin on this. Look even though i'm against domestic violence IT JUST A VIDEO!, and if it weren't Eminem,and, or Rihanna On the Song you ignorant people wouldn't have said NOTHING so shut up, quit complaining, and LET IT GO !
    Sincerely, Yours

    August 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  11. lyndon

    im tierd of news reporters taking his words and his thoughts wrong the song is a story of his love life with wife/ex kim and its such a tuchey subject he got reahna to join him in the song to show his fans the pain he feels and i love it every song by em is a story lis to the lyrics like omg back off em every word u say will be spit back at u with the lyrics of his next song and ill be there backing him he is the most missunderstude person in hip hop today b/c of the meadia

    August 15, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
  12. Natalie Hargrove

    I had to weigh in on this question..No I do not believe it is glamorizing domestic Violence. For those who have not been through this horrible ordeal they would not understand. It is exactly as this song/video protrays it...It is a terrible world to live in. Thank you eminem and Rhianna for putting this out to the face of the world. They know from experience as way too many people do.

    August 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  13. Kasey Putt

    I think everyone has their own opinion. Eminem has been around for years and has sold billions of albums! What about all the other artist that are singing about the same thing? Do they get told what they are singing about is wrong?? NO!!! I think if you don't want to hear it don't listen to it!!! I personally don't think he is for domestic violence or abuse!!

    August 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  14. Suzi (in Austin, TX)

    I was once in a physically/verbally/mentally abusive relationship, and this is a true portrayal of how that life looks. I have not seen the full video (only the segments you showed), but it appears to me that it is bringing awareness to ladies (and men) that abusive men/women are always loving right after the abuse and leading up to the violence - and that you and your partner are NOT different. Get out while you can!!!

    August 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  15. Dwayne A. Joseph Jr.

    I don't think Eminem is going over board with this video, because it's basically like real life. People argue and then they make up. So I don't see no harm.

    August 15, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
  16. 15yroldGuruuTAGeR

    I just watched the whole video and honestly its being blown out of proprtion, domestic violence isn't being "Glamorized" its just what has happened in the artists life, like if you've ever listened to any other songs by Eminem, it's pretty self evident that he was abused/saw abuse growing up. And sadly that is the norm, not to all households i mind you but, it is still there.If you notice all parents argue, there are just a certain few who exchange blows and eventually it does become normal. Two years ago when I was thirteen, one evening my best friends step mother rang the door bell and it turned out his dad had beat her, out of being drunk, to this day hes never done it again. Whats being potrayed in this video can be related to something everybody has and will eventually see growing up. Its just another part of growing up.

    August 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  17. jenny

    i do not condone this video at all. i have lost family 2 Domestic violence. I have seen for myself what it dose 2 kids as young as 1 years old and how it can hurt them mentally. not only dose the child feel it but the family members feel it 2 and the welfare department that is 2 help kids do not do the job they are payed 2 do and that's 2 look out for what is best for the kids. sadly all they see where i live is a bonus cheek for adopting the kids out. this video show's us just how sick the music industry has come 2 be. and how they look at young woman and men and how the kids of the further will be treated if they keep putting things like this on the air for kids and young adults to see.this world has enough violence in it why dose it have 2 even be in the music we hear and watch.

    August 15, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  18. Melissa-Sue

    i think that this video brings light to the subject. Domestic Violence is HAPPENING every single day! One is one too many! We seem to ignore the fact. These days nobody likes to get involved and there are only the special few who do something. This video also tells people...YOU ARE NOT ALONE! This music video shows what the "domestic violent" type of relationships go through. When an act of domestic violence is being done you can't help, but feel alone. I believe Rihanna wanted to get out to people that there are others and there is hope. So much symbolism in this video. i'm sure the message that you should not hit your significant other got across pretty well. it makes the guilty (hitting person) watch the things they do in this music video. How bad it is to hurt someone and how the victim feels after. Domestic Violence is Wrong. People gotta remember you're not just hurting that one are hurting all those people connected to that one person.

    August 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
  19. UcantFixStupid

    The problem is not Eminem's new video glamorizing domestic violence, The problem is parents and society not communicating with their children and each other about these issues. People are faulting Eminem because it is the easy way out. Is the video giving a Strong message, Yes. Is it the wrong message I vote No.

    August 15, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
  20. Reba

    I feel that this video was intended to raise awareness on domestic violence but the people they picked seem to glamorize the domestic violence idea as steamy and sexual to some degree. They should have chosen actors that could be viewed by the audience as plain, average, or unattractive.That way when people view the video it will be will be sad..not sexual in appearance.

    August 15, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  21. @nOt24seven

    hmm...I always have a hard time seeing this "abuse" from one side..the "expert" in this article focused on abuse against if the topic here but what about the cases where the MAN is being abused. This sends out mixed signals and is bias against the possibility of a woman hitting a man.

    In Rihanna/Chris Brown's case (I am a big fan of his btw) I watched her 20/20 interview with Diane..she stated that the reason she went back to him was because she was thinking of the response he was getting from the public but when asked why she broke up with him, she stated it was due to the fear that her endorsers would back out. I've known since Dec of 2008 (when they actually broke up) that she was was announced by her ex-accountant on the news. With this being a fact, I wonder how much the actual incident affected her, especially when she told Diane she was "glad" that it happened to her. She claims to be an advocate for women yet I haven't heard one single story of her visiting a woman's shelter as Chris has done and for those that say it could, if you are claiming to be an advocate, you make sure others know you are doing so, especially when you are in the public eye.

    I read this YA novel called Breathing Underwater where the bf abused his gf verbally, mentally, and physically (in one incident) but the girl didn't fully recover from the relationship until she seeked H-E-L-P and took classes. Everyone is so focused on making sure Chris Brown does what he is supposed to, shunning him out even when he has done nothing but positive work in 2010 but give Rihanna the free pass to do as she pleases..I think this is the wrong thing for media to do..she needs to see someone just as Chris is to fully understand what has happened, and whether she did or didn't have a part in starting the altercation so she can fully grasp what did occur. Instead, the focus of the situation is only being expressed through her music, the crazy hair, choice in clothing, who she is dating, the tatts, the lesbian rumors, bad attitude that has been absorbed by the public as being okay because she was the "victim".

    I can't see myself hating anyone in the situation from either side because although this hasn't happened directly to me, my own father had abused my mother when they were married (I was four when she left him) and a brother of mine has gotten into a similar situation with several different girlfriends, I wasn't brought up to "hate" people that cause harm. With Chris and Rihanna's situation, they were both so young..Chris barely an adult and Rihanna only a year older than him..people have been so harsh towards him yet, men twice his age have done far worse on MANY occasions yet get free passes. I have yet to hear Mel Gibson or Charlie Sheen be publicly criticized as much as Chris (even though I know there are many factors as to why they will probably never be persecuted in the same way) one being, the "victim" in their situations aren't famous. If you think about it, would Rihanna have gotten as much public sympathy or Chris so much public hate if she was just a "regular" woman? I think not..even with Tiger Wood's wife attacking him after she found out he had been cheating on her, she was applauded by the public for her actions even though, as many will say about men abusing women, "there is no excuse for hitting someone"..I just wish the public wouldn't be so one-sided in these situations. And that whole weak excuse, "men are stronger than women" is not being bought by me..if women can have babies come out of a small whole, we can attack like ferocious animals when we feel we are being harmed, especially when we have access to weapons such as the heel of a shoe, teeth, a brush, our nails, etc..

    And that's what I find perplexing about, why is both sides of her face "from the pic" messed up when she had Diane tell the story that Chris was DRIVING while he attacked her..I could see the left side, but why is her right side like that, especially when she said she did NOTHING back to him (which I don't believe) because one, she is not a child, and two, why wouldn't you at least block the blows with covering your face? I mean, even if you are going to do "nothing", why would you just sit there like an idiot and NOT at least block blows with covering your face? There are a few unanswered questions from that night but alas, they will probably never get answered and I find it convenient how Rihanna has been able to bring up this situation as much as she can even when she says she has forgiven him and blah blah blah, if that was the case, you wouldn't be the one to bring it up!

    August 14, 2010 at 5:06 am |
  22. Gordon

    Domestic violence is not the new norm. Domestic violence has been around for a long time. What is clear is that everyone is in it for the money. Certainly Rihanna is. Her comment about reading the lyrics and knowing it was going to be a big hit and "who wouldn't want to be a part of a hit" was pretty telling. The new norm is profit above all else and all of us who encourage it by buying their goods are to blame just as much as they are.

    August 13, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
  23. Chris

    We have convicted felons, Marxists, racists, thieves, scammers, liars, and tax evaders leading this they are good examples? I'm sorry...what am I missing?

    August 13, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
  24. Adam

    I believe this topic is being taken from a very biased and ignorant approach. The general mass of people are aware that domestic violence is not normal and can separate what is portrayed in the media versus a real-life scenario of violence.

    As artists, they are bringing the topic to light, just as some photographers do with the poverty crisis in Africa and select painters expressing their feelings toward government and politics. None of these artistic mediums are giving the impression that "It's OK" or "Go ahead and starve", it's a statement. Music, like any other art form can and will be used as a statement to express issues on all levels.

    My hat goes off to Rhianna for taking part in this song, emerging from a violent relationship herself. I believe most young people will encourage each other to avoid violent situations as portrayed in this video. Take it as an educational piece, listen to the lyrics, watch the visuals – the message is clear that violence is not a solution to a relationship problem and to instead seek help when necessary.

    If you are a parent concerned about the well-being of your child's health, I would advise you to educate your child properly through positive examples and re-assureament that they are loved and well. Rather than blame people like Eminem for an artistic portrayal of domestic violence, take responsibility to educate your family between love and hate – kids learn fast.

    August 13, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  25. Chris G.

    The video in and of itself may send mixed messages to the youth, I agree. However, the song itself can be used as a tool to push Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence/Teen Dating Violence to the fore front as a Public Health concern. When one truly listens to the lyrics you hear the instability of a relationship that is not so different from many of the relationships that youth are getting involved in these days and that many adults are involved in. I am not certain of Eminem and/or Rihana's intent in developing the song but I believe it draws attention to a much needed discussion around the types of relationships that are being formed. I most certainly did not hear form the lyrics encouragement of the behaviors that our outlined in them rather attention was drawn to such behaviors to show the unhealthiness of them. It may in fact cause people to stop and reflect on their behaviors and prompt change if they see and hear themselves in the lyrics.

    August 13, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  26. Heather

    The fact that this video is inciting this very discussion is a positive thing. The song is powerful and beautifully written, and the video, while disturbing, is an equally powerful portrayal of how toxic relationships can sometimes escalate until it isn't always clear who the victim is.

    August 13, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  27. Jessica

    It's hard to fix the problem if the topic is shut down as offensive. Nobody thinks it's trendy to get thier face beat in. I think this video serves more as an eye opener than anything else. If you can relate to it I hope you get help soon. Either party.

    August 13, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  28. brownie1

    This is a MESS!! These Artists really mean NO GOOD PEOPLE. They represent EVIL!! Really I know its hard to accept but its the TRUTH!!! COME ON PEOPLE why all the FIRE in these videos!!!! Who really wants to BURN!!!!!!!! There is NOTHING with FIRE or BURNING to be PROUD of!!!!!!!! EVERYTHING is TWISTED!!!!!!!!! Filling our heads and childrens heads with MESSSSSSSSSSSSSS! I am SICK OF IT!!!! BUT there will be MANY TO BURN at the end of the day!!!!

    August 13, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  29. kevin

    DOMESTIC violence is terrible and I would never give an excuse for it. how ever I find false accusation of domestic violence even worse. too many women use this as a tactic for custody and to gain an advantage durring divorce. this not only hurts an inocent spouse or ex/spouse but also doe's an injustice for women and children who are truly being abused. shame on liars and shame on abusers

    August 13, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  30. Nike

    Has anyone taken the time to read the Twilight books? The movies have been great but when I read the books I found a lot of not physical violence but emotional and mental violence going on between these young characters. Bella has the lowest self-esteem in the world and she is head over heals in love with 2 guys that are technically villans or bad boys. She's ready to die every other minute at the thought of losing their love and what scares me is the fact that millions of young teen girls have watched these movies and read all the books without a good understanding of what a healthy relationship is. Domestic violence is real and increasing and we as adults are dropping the ball if we aren't educating our kids. Watching a video is one thing understanding what you're seeing and it's proper context is something else...

    August 13, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  31. Jack L. Crain

    People who watch this video seem to be seeing it through their own pre-conceptions. To me, this does just the opposite and encourages people involved in dangerous relationships to see themselves and the futility of remaining in them. I know someone who is planning to use this video to encourage battered woman to seek help from the shelter he sponsors.

    August 13, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  32. Brad

    Why does this report focus only on domestic violence against women? Women are just as likely to abuse men. This is not a gender issue.

    August 13, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  33. Amy

    I cannot listen to the song or watch this video – and feel that those who can and are just fortunate enough to not have experienced this type of relationship first hand. I pray that they never do – however the effect it has on me is almost unbearable after having survived such a relationship for almost 8 years. Its too much – and I'm positive it is being misinterpreted and misunderstood all over the world. It's sickening but none the less, very real.

    August 13, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  34. R J

    Music / Videos are art and are open to interpretation. I certainly DO NOT interpret either the song or the video as glamourizing domestic violence at all...just the oppostive. Through the artists' depiction I see the fire theme as a way to show the sick, dysfunctional, twisted, destructive relationships based on anger and abuse. And the lyrics "that's alright because I like the way it hurts" and "I love the way you lie" are, IMHO, meant to shock us into seeing just how crazy these sick relationships are.

    August 13, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  35. GETaCLUE!!

    I think that it is a song, and all people have differnet veiws of it!! Sure the music video shows domestic violence, sure the words say stuff about it!! However, look around people it's reality! So how about you get up and stop your kids from watching it...or get off the computer and quit watching a news channel where they take something as little as a music video and turn it into some big drama...that's what reality tv is for not the news!! your job is to tell us what's going on not give your opinon and judge people..........GETaCLUE!!

    August 13, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  36. Jenna

    I did not see the entire music video because I had to turn the channel. It was very disturbing to see and I feel that it should not be on tv where children can see it also. I babysit two girls, ages 11 and 8 and they were watching Jumpstart and this video came on. I didn't even have to tell them to turn the channel, they did it on their own because it actually scared them. I am 19 years old and I felt disgusted after seeing the first minute of it. Domestic violence is not something to be displayed publicly, and especially in a place where kids can see it. Not everyone is exposed to this particular violence and I feel that it is important that they are not exposed to it if possible.

    August 13, 2010 at 10:33 am |
  37. Carol

    Domestic violence affects more than just the abused, it affects our communities, children and everyone around us. All proceeds from this song & video should go to support services for victims, the people who really need it.
    Since the moment I have heard this song, I have lost all respect and sympathy I once felt for Rhianna. This song glorifes domestic violence; I am glad others recognize this. As a person who almost lost her life 1 1/2 years ago to domestic violence, this song turns my stomach. No warning, no previous acts of violence, just a total break from reality. After I was beaten, held at gunpoint, then managing to escape, my fiance then shot at the police & my neighborhood, then set our house on fire before killing himself. End result: I lost everything, my neighboring house was also totally destroyed by fire. Neighbors had to be removed from their homes by armoured truck, others had to hide in their basements for hours until it could be determined he had died in the fire & area schools were closed for the kids safety. All of this from one act of domestic violence; how many lives to did one person effect? Domestic Violence affects all of us.

    August 13, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  38. Melissa

    Do you watch movies about domestic violence and assume that the actors or the writers condone the behavior? I don't take Eminem's song to mean that he condones the behavior, but instead it seems to me that he does not . . . hence the song about the topic. I do not think that the topic is glamorized – rather I believe the topic is brought to the forefront of media. The video does not make me want to run out and abuse someone or be abused by someone – it does not look glamorous at all. (FYI – read all the lyics to the music too – it's not really what CNN made it out to be this morning).

    August 13, 2010 at 9:37 am |
  39. Kristina

    I think the song and the video are right on.I was on the receiving end of domestic violence.I was beaten 2-3 times a week and have numerous scars.Verbal abuse was a daily thing.The lyrics accurately tell what's going on.It's a love hate.Often times you fight back even though you know you will get beat worse, but after awhile you don't care.You get your hits in too because you know that no matter what, you're going to get hit.I hooked up with my ex because I knew he would "protect" me from anything,but when the violence began, there was no one to protect me from him.You become isolated in your own mad world.And as far as the ending to the song where Eminem says he's going to "set the house on fire" it's true.He's trying to tell people that these abusers don't think like regular people.This is what they do,how they think.I tried several times to leave before I was finally able to.But we become as sick as them.It's a messed up life far removed from regular society.People need to LISTEN to the lyrics,not just hear them.Watch what's going on in the video because that IS how it becomes.It's crazy and I don't miss it.

    August 13, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  40. Susan

    I think some people are missing the point. Eminem is just stating the fact that this is what happens to so many people in so many relationships. He is not saying it's cool, right or wrong. He is stating the facts!! This song is a very agonizingly honest song that will have many girls and guys; guys get abused as well, take a deep needed breath and sadly look at themselves and the situation they happen to be in. I was abused, and when the part of the song stated “I love the way you lie” I took it as this: When my abuser was saying he was sorry, I believed him with all my heart that he was remorseful. “I loved the way lie”. If only I believed he was lying!! When the part of the song stated: “I love the way it hurts.” My first thought was NO I DID NOT!! I believe this is the thought provoking statement that Eminem wanted to incite. Then if you don’t love it, why do you stay? This one line can possibly wake many people up and give them the courage to leave.
    People should hold off with all the negative remarks about Eminem and Rihanna, stop with thinking this song glamorizes violence. I did not see it that way at all. It was to show the facts of what happens.

    August 13, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  41. Don

    I felt that the song (more than the video, which I had not seen until now) really explained rather than glorified why people stay in abusive relationships. I also agree with one poster above.. people are upset because this dong draws attention to the reality and ugliness of domestic abuse. It is hard to watch the fighting, even when punctured by soft-core pron snippets, and imagine that this is a reality for some people.

    August 13, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  42. Ramona Long

    the new normal for domestic violence is only called that because of the new tolerance for violence which stems from constant bombardment of violence on television and news. 43 years ago I was in a very violent marriage but I had enough sense to know that I was not created to be a punching bag so I booked as soon as the opportunity presented itself and never looked back. Celebrity women, or women married to celebrities who are abused can get over that pain quicker and easier today because money soothes the wounds a lot faster. I had no where to go at that time and no money and it took me ten years to heal the emotional scars that abuse left for me. Rihanna's video sends mixed messages and obviously she was not hurt enough. I love money also but not enough to send a mixed message of that magnitude to a host of young people in this world who are gullible and star struck and believe everything that comes from the mouth of an entertainer.

    August 13, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  43. Ryan

    I would not say that domestic violence is accepted as much as it is ignored. It's one of those not-so-secret dirty little secrets of our society. I suppose many of us perceive domestic violence as a problem that has to be dealt with only in third world countries or under brutal tyrants; surely a country of democracy and freedom such as ours is far beyond the primal and despicable issue of abusing women. If sarcasm not noted, then here's the straight version: of course we are not "above" domestic violence! This issue gets put on the back-burner too often. Lets be clear about the question, "do we accept domestic violence?" Any reasonable person can agree that domestic violence is reprehensible and abhorrent. However, there doesn't seem to be much going on to bring action against it (except that wonderful song my Eminem and Rihanna but more on that later). It is not acceptance It is tolerance by neglect. This is a problem that has existed for as long as people have lived together. So it is not too surprising that society at large is rather jaded by this issue. I think the statistic that CNN gave was 24% of women have experienced domestic violence. That is astonishing! Have 24% of men been convicted of committing domestic violence? Watch the show "Cops," most domestic violence calls end the same way. The abuser isn't taken in by police or is out of custody in a few days and the victim merely gets a card with a phone number to social services. There is not justice there. Can you imagine how hard it is to dial a phone when the fists are flying or when the lamp becomes a club?

    We do know that domestic violence is never a single isolated incident that just occurs and then can be overcome. As much as we would love to see the ladies leave a man at the first sign of abusive tendencies is does not happen. Unfortunately it is a pervasive pattern. Many, if not most, victims of violent encounters such as domestic violence and even rape do not report the crime. Fear of instigating another brutal abasement is part of the reason. Other reasons why this crime is so pervasive are just being understood my the general population. And this where I have to throw in my lot and defend Eminem and Rihanna. The songs chorus addresses one of the factors that enables abuse to be a perpetual problem. Rihanna sings that she "loves the way it hurts." Do we assume that she simply has masochistic tendencies? No. I think it is best comparable to the Stockholm Syndrome where the victim develops an affinity, even an affection for the abuser. This is not blaming the victim, just merely explaining why abuse is so rampant and doesn't get reported. Sometimes victims feel that they have brought the abuse on to themselves and that they deserve the treatment. This is the psychological damage that can't be seen like a bruise or cut. This is the importance of the use of fire in the song. It is not just Eminem trying to profiteer from a problem with shock and awe. Fire is indiscriminate all consuming. It is a powerful symbol of violence because it can destroy the victim as quickly and simply as the perpetrator. In the Video we see Eminem consumed by fire as he talks about setting fire to his girlfriend and their house. Those who commit domestic violence are often looking to exert power and control on a world they perceive as overwhelmingly against them. In the end neither party is unscathed. They are each burned, and so we see them at the end of the video together cuddling. Critics worry about the display of normalcy that this video exudes, but that is just what the artist intend to call attention too. Most cases of domestic violence occur within a relationship that outsiders perceive as 'normal.' Abusive relationships are not stable but they are often persistent . Some women have undergone months, even years of mistreatment without anyone taking notice. Hardly anyone notices them let alone discusses it. Unless a beautiful and unsettling song or video is released about it and re-ignites the flame (pardon the phrase). Is that not what quality art should do?

    I wanted to address Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen but my comment is now almost as long as Carol's entry... Sorry guys. Thanks for taking up this issue today!

    August 13, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  44. Temple

    I just watched the video, hadn't seen it in a while. I had a conversation about this song with a girl in a violent relationship with her lesbian girlfriend. It's so important to note how these relationships get hate and love all mixed up together ... obsession, passion, violence, it becomes a sick little pattern. The song talks about a pattern of lying and violence. His reference to burning the bed doesn't seem like an accident (based on the woman, played by Farrah Fawcett in the "The Burning Bed" who lit her husband on fire that had been brutally beating her for years). It's an artistic expression of a very human, very real, and obviously dark situation. I hope people remember that when they listen to it, because I – for one – am glad he put it out there.

    August 13, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  45. Nanci

    The Eminem Rhianna song in no way glamorizes domestic violence. It shows the powerful, tumultuous nature of many of these relationships. It also shows both sides. The exchanges are explosive. The words are powerful. As a mother of a 17-year old son and 19-year old daughter, I have used this video to talk to them about domestic violence. My daughter thought it was “stupid” when Rhianna went back to Chris Brown soon after the incident. The video depicts the “push-pull” nature abusive relationships demonstrating that it is not easy to break free. It shows both sides which resonated with my son who was put off by the Mel Gibson tapes and felt “the woman must have done something”. I was shocked and dismayed at his attitude regarding that situation. I was sadened to learn that 60% of people polled on TMZ’s web site felt Mel Gibson was set up and should not be charged. Megan Fox donated her fee for the video to a group to assist domestic violance victims – this is awesome! This video is immnesly popular with teens, young adults and adults. It is a platform that should be used to start disccusions and educate people on domestic violance. I applaud Eminem and Rhianna for tackling this difficult topic and doing such an amazing job with the video.

    August 13, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  46. Wade R.

    Not having paid much attention to the song on release, it honestly doesn't seem like it glamourizes... anything. What it expresses is the reality that violent relationships are often oddly, dangerously amorous, which is dead right in many cases. What really glamourizes violence, if you ask me, is to have these cases where it's described in the news with less outrage than insider trading, and where the penalties are lighter than a DUI.

    The brain is conditioned to understand the seriousness of a crime by measuring its consequences. Domestic violence is assault, make no mistake, and celebrity status shouldn't excuse it – or it runs the risk of looking acceptable.

    August 13, 2010 at 8:49 am |
  47. Cheryll

    Yes, I am afraid domestic violence is the "new normal." Two days ago I had someone arrested. I thought about it for two days because I did not think it would do any good, considering the current climate of acceptance. I have also filed for an injuction which is only good for 15 days? I was right. I was told only yesterday that 'you need to drop the charges, he's learned his lesson.' This is a perfect illustration of the lack of consequence and the minimization of this act. I didn't receive any broken bones but someone I loved put their hands on me and now people around me are telling me it is my fault. I am hurt and disappointed that no one puts the blame where it belongs, which is with the abuser. Domestice violence is still the big pink elephant in the room. I am glad that with this video at least there will be dialogue but it is not enough we need to do more.

    August 13, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  48. Temple

    I was a victim of domestic violence, both from my father and later my husband. I also work with families in domestic violence relationships. The experts went on in the piece about "blaming the victim" (or perhaps it was Carol) ... one thing should be made clear: women do the abusing as well. True, it's most often a male abuser, but women do abuse men (anyone ever seen last season's Teen Mom with little Amber smacking around her very large boyfriend, Gary? It happens, just one pop culture example). Eminem's song is very powerful, even more so since Rhianna is in it. They both know the cycle. He is singing about his personal relationship, not everyone's relationship. I know, from my own personal situation, I became violent as well. It was the only way I knew how to "speak" to my husband (now ex-husband). It was what I learned growing up. It was, in my case, primarily a reaction to a situation I felt defenseless in ... but it certainly became about mutual violence.

    Each situation must be looked at individually, and these two artists should be commended for putting out a song that not only portrays their personal struggles - as well as many others - but starts a dialogue. One thing is certainly true, no one who hasn't been there can judge it. So many people told me what I should do, shouldn't do, but none of them really got it. I got out on my terms because I had to do it that way, no one could put my life back together for me. The toxic relationship in this song is abusive in and of itself, away from the violence. That's a very important point. How many of us know couples that seem to only be able to function in these high drama, scream fest relationships? That to me was such a great point of the song, because it's about saying ... yes, I'll fix it ... over and over and over. Abuse doesn't just mean getting hit, it's many levels, and it's great that we are really talking about it.

    August 13, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  49. Shirley Anthony

    From experience first hand of domestic violence where abuser walked free from the jury. It is hard to believe that in to-days society funding is NOT made available to have secret camera security in the home. This one step would reduce 50% of home beatings as centers for abuse could hand these out to women in danger that do NOT want to leave their homes with their children.

    Maybe Brianna could donate some proceeds from the song!!

    Food for thought.

    Shirley Ft lauderdale FL

    August 13, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  50. Jennifer

    The objective here is to make money ....that said, mission accomplished.

    August 13, 2010 at 8:41 am |
  51. Dave

    It's just wrong and evil to glorify pain as for erotic pleasure. It's obvious that's what the video is going for when the real face of domestic violence is looks more like terrified children hiding while their mother is bashed by some idiot that she's terrified of/thinks is capable of change/"loves".

    August 13, 2010 at 8:41 am |
  52. Ryan and Sunny

    After analyzing the song our synopsis is:

    1) The song itself is gorgeous.
    2) The artistry is fabulous.
    3) The lyrics show a piece of both Rhianna's and Eminem's lives.
    4) It does not in any way glorify domestic violence.
    5) Alarmists dilute the message.

    Ryan and Sunny

    August 13, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  53. Dana

    Domestic Violence is a serious issue; it seems celebrities don't get this as in too many cases, perpetrators are excused because there is money involved. No one even discusses Alec Baldwin anymore; why not find out how Kim Bassinger is doing? This new video is going to send the message to young people that if you love someone, it's okay to be violent. Young people do not have the experience or wisdom to see how they are being influenced by this. It is very hard to break the cycle of violence. CNN could help so many families, so many children (who are often ignored by the impact of domestic violence on them) and...frankly....any insight CNN could provide could help generations of families. Please have the courage to address these issues. I begged the media for years to pay attention to this issue....all we got was LIFETIME network....which is not taken seriously by most people. CNN could solve a lot of problems in the world if you could look at how violence against women, children, and men on men deprives of us our energy, of our resources, and drives up the cost of medical care. Check it out!!!

    August 13, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  54. Antonio Colorado

    I always thought reporters never focused on the possibility that Rhianna and other women might be masochistic and actually in their subconscious they somehow enjoy a beating once in a while. They enjoy the roughness in a relationship like a violent one. I'm a psychologist and when the chorus of the song says "Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, that's alright because I like the way it hurts", wow, she's actually saying she enjoys it. and not just that, but the way he lies also. It is simply so off the mark, that it makes me sick.

    August 13, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  55. Whatever!! Rosemary!!

    These two artists are not taking advantage of anything lady! They are showing what the cycle of violence is. What we are supposed to sweep everything under the rug and not say a word. You don't understand the cycle of violence? They are not Glorifying it! They are showing you that you believe the lie...You get get I am sorry's and I love you's and you go into your honeymoon phase and you believe the lie and start the abuse cycle over again. I commend these two for is reality for far too many...

    August 13, 2010 at 8:37 am |
  56. Racquel

    "The guy from Lost"??? CNN, you're able to come up with everyone's name, including Megan Fox, possibly the worst actress ever, except Dominic Monaghan. Not only was he in Lost but also Lord of the Rings. By being able to name 3 out of 4 stars you come off as lazy. It's ridiculous to call someone who is a well known actor "the guy from lost"!

    August 13, 2010 at 8:32 am |
  57. Frank

    No one is entirely a victim. It takes two to fight, and unless someone was kidnapped and beaten in most cases men and women choose to be involved with someone who has issues. There are always warning flags towards peoples character. I can't believe that one day you just realized that someone is a hot head, or violent. There are many levels of f**ked up situations, and no one deserves to be abused, but people need to take 100% responsibility for their role in any situation. No one is responsible for anyone but themselves, however no one else is responsible for you either. You put yourself into the situation that lead to your abuse. That doesn't make the abuse your fault, but no one is truly a victim.

    That being said, I am a man who has been abused by three of my ex-girlfriends. No i wasn't beaten to within an inch of my life, but that's to be expected. I'm a big burly dude, and they were all petite women. In one case the police WOULD NOT arrest my attacker. Most people refuse to see that this is a two way street. Toxic relationships don't just happen, and men who are abused have no channels to seek help. Besides the fact that no one ever believes them when they tell their story, or just ridicule them for being a weakling.

    How many times in pop culture do you see a woman slap a man? It happens all the time. In many of our cultures "normal" relationship situations a simple gender reversal would turn something most people find acceptable into an "abusive" relationship. The number of songs that preach behavior by women that would be considered unacceptable by men are too numerous to name. For most women it's considered being independent and liberated, but the same type of behavior by men would be thought of as boorish and chauvinistic.

    Not only physical violence, but physiological abuse should never be acceptable in any relationship. Until people start learning to respect themselves and others the cycle of toxic relationships will never end.

    It's not the fault of one gender or another. It takes two. In all cases.

    August 13, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  58. Janet

    Having been a victim of domestic violence for 32 years (most of it verbal and emotional but there was some assault too) I think this video is disturbing. I think the song shines light on domestic violence, especially Eminem's lyrics which are typical abuser's apology and threats but I'm disturbed by Rihanna's part in it. Her words just send the wrong message. And the video seems to glamourize the relationship. But it does make a great teaching tool and talking point.
    Read more about my story at
    A blog about domestic violence both personal and celebrity.

    August 13, 2010 at 8:18 am |
  59. rosemarie sciales

    Just watched the video, it glorifies violence! It depicts violence in a relationship as an aphrodisiac. If Rihanna's intention was to help women who are in violent relationships, it doesn't!! What I saw was a male and female who beat each other up, make up, and have great sex and all is well. Celebrities who get a smack on the hand for hurting their partners, are certainly not role models, e.g., Charlie Sheen, etc. In the end as the video suggests, it's up in smoke, relationship combusted.

    August 13, 2010 at 8:14 am |
  60. By Chance in Detroit

    Most Americans and the media have forgotten the role of the artist in society, which is, in part, to generate empathic sensitivity. Through art, emotion and intellect combine to offer understanding. Each story, song and image serves as a perspective lens for studying the problem. Without studying a problem, how can we hope to eradicate it through other than "providence" or serendipity. As for the suggestion that the artists involved in this video donate the proceeds to domestic violence organizations – that is about as logical as asking the newscasters covering the story to donate a pro rata portion of their salaries to the issue. If Eminem and Rhianna are making money off of DV, so is the media (and on cancer kids, and so on). Look first to your own house.

    August 13, 2010 at 8:13 am |


    August 13, 2010 at 8:10 am |
  62. Erin Murphy

    I think it is an example of how prevalent domestic violence really is. It demonstrates the increasing feelings of insecurity in our society today. With all the political garbage being slung, producers and radio show hosts going on racial rants, unemployment at double digits, possible treason and so on. It only reflects what is really going on in our society today. Total chaos . . .

    August 13, 2010 at 8:00 am |
  63. Frii

    I walked into a bar once a long time-ago when I drank, and everyone was talking about a women with a black-eye but nobody did anything. They know and said it was domestic violence. She the women with the black-eye said it wasn't domestic violence. I threaten the guy in the bathroom but that was it, I would never throw the first punch. If this were to happen in the future what is the right course of action to help people of domestic violence?

    August 13, 2010 at 8:00 am |
  64. Frank

    I can painfully picture this poor kid in a home where both parents are fighting crack addicts and/or alcoholics reading about Tiger ex leaving with $ 700 million because he ruined her life. Who cares about Rihana's video or its impact on kids, do you seriously believe that most american family are not dysfunctional, and that it is found only in the celebrity circles.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:56 am |
  65. Trudy

    People are taking this song and comparing to their experience with domestic violence.I think that's unfair. Eminem and Rihanna are talking about what they experienced and what their relationships were like. It doesn't mean its right but that's what happened to them. If you don't like the song that's your choice. However, you can not downplay their experiences cause then you would be saying what happened to them is not important.

    Also the fact that the video didn't end with a positive message doesn't glorify violence. We all know that in some instances the domestic violence doesn't end well. I think the fact that the video didn't have a fairy tale ending, makes it even more intense and thought provoking. Showing us that not everybody gets help and there's still a lot of work to be done to help these people.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:52 am |
  66. Brandy

    Domestic violence is highly unacceptable no matter how glamorous hollywood makes it.! I'm fifteen years old and when I was younger I watch my father beat my mother and it is the most scariest thing to witness. A child is supposed to feel safe in their home and domestic violence threatens their saftey. Most of my friends have this song on their myspace playlist including young men, which is kind of scary because they will one day be getting married. I love the idea that Rosemary Morgeson has about donating the money to help stop domestic violence. Rihanna and Eminem should also make an effort to explain to their audience that domestic violence does happen, that it happens every day and that NO ONE, man or women should be physically, emotionally, or sexually abused. I'm also very appalled that Rihanna would promote such a video considering that she was a victim of domestic violence. I have one question for men out there who are abusers, "Do you feel like a man when you push her around?, do you feel better now....."

    * Love is patient, Love is kind. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never Fails.
    1 Corinthians 13:4,7,8.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:52 am |
  67. Tierney Mayer-Tucker

    As someone else posted I do not believe that violence against either gender should be tolerated or the norm. I speak not only as a male, but also soneone who has been through the H@ll off DV and am now trying to rebuild my life. Unfortunately, the current DV paradigm is one sided, and in order for any real progress to be made, political and gender idealogies need to be discarded. During my time, I was subjected to intense physical, emotional, and financial abuse my my ex-wife, (who now is a meth addict). Why did I stay.....simple, I grew up in an abusive family, and didnt want my kids to have to experience it. I made a choice to stay and be a shield for them, so that they wouldn't have to deal with it. Unfortunately that was the WRONG decision, and after 7 years of the abuse, and during an argument where i told her I was leaving, she decided to get physical again, I tried to walk away and get away, but to no avail. I made the impulse decision to hit her back in the misguided attempt to get her to stop putting her hands on me. Long story short, we both were arrested, I plead to a plea bargain I shouldnt have, and finished succesfully and early my classes and probation. She had her probation revoked asnd was kicked from the classes. During those classes, even though I basically acted in self defense, I had the blame soley put on me, and was told numerous times, what did I do to make her hit me. Another aspect of it being one sided.....only males are guilty, and females are victims or its self defense. I remember one time I was telling my probation officer about her starting to be abusive again and she told me to move out and go to a homeless shelter leaving my children in danger, and I need to find someone else to report the abuse because it just seems that I was a bitter husband who was trying to control his wife. Completely disregarding her substance abuse issues, and later to find out her psychological problems.

    So here 6 years later, I have sole custody of the kids, and am slowly putting the pienes of my life back together, and remarried with someone who isnt abusive. She has another child gotten remarried, and lost custody of her other child and a pending divorce for her drug use, and starting the abusive behavior towards her new husband.

    Moral of the story, if you go about blaming just one group of people and excuse the others abusive those that really need the intervention, will often slip through the cracks, and continue the cycle and sometimes not realizing they need help and not really solving anything. Furthermore the studies sited in the MSM are often misleading, cherry picked, or just made up. This comes from both sides of the issue, and policies should be based on solid verifiable sources and again not on political idealogy nor shoddy research.

    These days it is excusable for a woman to hit a man, or its seen as self defense for something he did in the past, or he had it coming. Often times being shown in the MSM and popular movies, thus making it a cultural norm that it is acceptable. These leads me to ask, What happened to violence is always? Or is it just wrong when men are violent to women?

    August 13, 2010 at 7:52 am |
  68. matthew

    all though there are many things in pop culture that can be negitive or gives the "wrong messege" this is not one of them. i believe the video is not taken for what it was ment. this video was not to glorify domestic violence, but to bring it to the fore front. domestic abuse is something that the american public are aware of but do not ever speak upon or address. this video is to make aware how negitve domestic violence is. the simplistic imagery between the violence and fire is a clear message that its wrong. it show that the abuse destroys everyone and everything in the relationship. This video brings to light the abuse and what many women in that situation go threw listen to her words listen to his these two were bringing to light what they have experienced being in an abusive relationship. furthure more these are not just my thoughts but thoughts of many young men and women i have talked to when this song was first released maybe we have an age gap but from a young persons eyes this video shows us the pain you cause as an abuser and the pain you endure as the abused

    August 13, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  69. Nitanni

    I just watched the video with my 14 year old son this morning. I asked him what he thought it was about and he said it was about two messed up people beating up on each other. I said that to say this: I AM RAISING MY CHILD, not the MEDIA. The biggest problem today is that people are allowing the media to tell them who they are, what they should do and what they should believe. I listened to the words and there was nothing sensational about it, it was sad, and if anything the video showed how wrong and self-destructive that situation is. But then, my mother raised and supported me, and I know better than to get myself into a situation like that.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:50 am |
  70. Liz Neil

    My sister has been in a cyclical abuse marriage (physical & psychological) for 15 years, and has yet again gone back to the jerk because he has once again apologized, swore he'll never be that way again, blah blah blah. It truly made me sick in the pit of my stomach to hear this (I was listening to CNN on my way in to the office, so I heard rather than saw the spot) - Rhianna's comment is exactly what my sister's situation is - "I can identify with it" - going back to a "loving" and "cuddling" relationship with an abuser. My sister was about to leave when the jerk came to her with abject apologies and did exactly that. This is a horrible video to put out there as if it's "normal" and "acceptable" and should be pulled or stopped.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:49 am |
  71. Carrie Heath

    I am the victim of domestic violence with my ex husband. Because I escaped, I have been disbelieved, ridiculed and blamed for the dissolution of my former marriage and accused by a family court of "denying" him his rights to his kids. Because his parents are wealthy, he continues to exert control through deliberate unemployment or underemployment and refusing to pay child support, refusing to allow me contact with my kids when he has placement, refusing to tell me where my kids are when with him. The last family court commissioner told me that there is "no such thing" as mental or emotional abuse and I need to "stop my whining". Society does not recognize domestic abuse or protect our children. The system is a joke. As a very well educated professional, I know that I am not making up his behaviors, but with those charged with protecting my family won't recognize the dangers presented by domestic abuse, I don't believe my children will ever be protected. I have gone to years of therapy and as a result have remarried a wonderful man who treats me with kindness, respect and the love I deserve, and I pray every single day that the therapy I have placed my children in for years will help them into healthy, loving relationships as well though their chances are very, very poor of doing so.

    My teenage daughter thinks it's "okay" to tell someone they are ugly, make fun of people and that this song is the "best ever" and I am so saddened by her reactions I can't even begin to describe my hopelessness. I think we have a lot farther to go to make all forms of abuse a crime and remove this insidious cancer from our world. There is NO justification, no glory, no glamour in abuse.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:46 am |
  72. Shawn

    There is no excuse for glorifying domestic violence, and it is a MAJOR issue with young people especially today, but i think the media might be missing the mark on this one. until we start realizing that men are also abused both mentally and physically by women , people will continue to blow it off. by not covering it, the media gives men an excuse to ignore it. Eminem isnt afraid to show just how normal domestic violence has become. if you walk away after seeing the video with an icky feeling in your stomach, good. the video, especially the cuddling after is a better picture of an abusive relationship than anything ive seen in the news thus far. codependancy is often the root of the violence in the first place.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:45 am |
  73. Shel

    just an FYI, Megan Fox who starred in the Eminem/Rhianna Video donated her salary to Sojourn Services For Battered Women in Santa Monica

    August 13, 2010 at 7:45 am |
  74. Dave

    I agree with Tahni
    There will always be people who stay in an abusive relationship with or without the song/video. Unfortunately people stay in abusive relationships in the past before the video came out and it will still happen when the video is long forgotten.
    The video does is to bring the subject to center stage to be thought about and examined, maybe after seeing the video the light will turn on for someone to stop being in a dangerous situation and make the right decision.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:45 am |
  75. ken

    this song and video are representative of the reality that exists in the real world. it is a look into the lives of a fictional couple's disfunctional relationship and its telling that story. while it might do so in a way that does not set an example, it is not meant to. it is meant to tell a story, and nothing more. artistic expression must never be cencored by the "politically correct" police, regardless of the subject matter at hand, or we will lose what it is to be an american citizen and have the right to freely express ourselves.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:45 am |
  76. Bridget

    Rihanna is donating her portion of the sales to a domestic violence relief group! I think it's sad that people criticize artists for singing about something they experienced. It's been said that eminem had a reciprocal violent relationship with his ex so you can't say that his song blames the victim because it's about a relationship that both parties hurt each other in different ways

    August 13, 2010 at 7:42 am |
  77. Jack

    I think all posters here agree that domestic violence/abuse is unacceptable. The question is, what is the true message that Rihanna and Eminem are trying to send? They should clarify their intents behind the song/video, certainly. But, this isn't the first time where it's actually meant to shock the listener/viewer into thinking about the negativity of the actions the artist is protesting. Many of us from Generation X heard the same thing almost 30 years ago when it came to Pat Benatar's controversial hit, "Hell Is For Children". Many of our parents' generation misunderstood it's intent, and Pat's own words went unheeded by many who didn't want to hear. Her message was an outcry, a protest against child abuse, and she MEANT it to be a shocker, an eye opener, a wake up call, a fact she reiterated in her recent memoir.
    I'd find it hard to believe that Rihanna would be GLORIFYING the issue when she had been a victim of it herself. Rather, I'd think she and Eminem are following that same trail with the same intent the way Pat did before them.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:42 am |
  78. Christian

    Since when has Eminem been the poster child for what is socially acceptable? I think he is the first to admit that. Of course domestic violence is a terrible terrible act, and should be punished. But I think before people pass judgment on how this song makes it a social norm, they should at least listen to the rest of the album it came from. Maybe then they can see the context...which is about mistakes, not glorifying.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:41 am |
  79. Reginald De Beninche

    I don't think this song is about domestic violence. Just read the words carefully and you'll grasp its sense...

    August 13, 2010 at 7:41 am |
  80. Tony Turner

    Obviously Rhianna herself should be the one that's offended by this song and video but she isn't. The songs lyrics itself is so deep and powerful coupled with the video you can really look into the lives of many that really go through this love hate relationship. I really don't think you can say these two artist condone this kinda activity yet they both come together to show you both side of this story. Some people don't really understand what they're doing till someone shows them in a way they can relate too and many people that are going through this type of situation will hear these lyrics and see this video and really look at themselves in a diff light. Stop being so prejudice to hip hop and realize these people are telling you they're lives in a therapeutic way that let's them share they're pain and maybe heal your own.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:40 am |
  81. Anne

    I have never listened to rap precisely because so much of it does excuse men and blame women. Even the language used about women shows a basic lack of respect for them. The election of 2008 taught me that this nation has not seriously begun to examine its views of women (including those of women themselves) - not because Obama beat Hillary, but because of the things said to and about Hillary supporters. Apparently while it was obvious to almost everyone what Obama's victory would mean to the Black community in terms of having arrived, it didn't seem to occur to these same people what having a woman win the nomination of a major American party would mean to women, which was only compounded by having the other major party nominate as VP the kind of woman who exemplifies the standards of the 1950s - pretty but not really bright, traditional wife - that is, the kind of woman men will not see as a competitor on the world stage, but the kind they'd like to have on their arm.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:40 am |
  82. Bill

    It's high time that we stop taking great music like this so literally. Instead of studying Shakespeare in our schools, I feel we should be studying the music and satire of Eminem and the like. We need to teach an understanding of art. Today's art, not old England's.

    I bought the song at iTunes and I like the song. The words cannot necessarily be taking at face value.

    FYI I am a fifty year old white male and I do not condone violence of any kind whatsoever. It's music people!

    August 13, 2010 at 7:39 am |
  83. Rhonda Begos

    I have been in abuive relationships for almost all of my life. I picked one bad seed after another. Whether it was physical violence, verbal abuse or otherwise, I just couldn't seem to find the right man.

    I have been with my current husband for 10 years, and it took me a long time to even believe that I deserved to have this kind of relationship. The fact of the matter is, once this opened my eyes, then I could not look at my abusers anymore. I knew that there were things about them, and about the system, that I could not change. But what I could change was me.

    I went into counseling not to figure out why people abuse other people, but why we sometimes allow people to do it to us. I needed to know why I felt like this was okay, and that I deserved to be talked down to and hit. They may have been a law breaker and a jerk for what they did, but he would not have had that puching bag if I had removed myself from the environment. No, it wasn't my fault for being abused. But it certainly was my fault for staying. Now that I know that, I have changed the behavior.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:38 am |
  84. JH

    I am little tired of the implication that dom vio is a male directed problem. While men are often considered the aggressors in a particular situation. Truth of the matter is that people have failed to remain civil to one another and as a result our most basic relationships are dysfuctional and therein lies the root of the problem

    August 13, 2010 at 7:38 am |
  85. Ellie Wymore

    Domestic violence is VIOLENCE. It is evil and it is equally evil to glamorize it or play it down.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:38 am |
  86. dragonfly

    This is a case of wanting to shoot the messanger. I dont believe it is the fear of glamorizing domestic violence that gets ppl upset, but having the reality of it being shown so openly. It is ugly, scary, and songs like these gets ppl talking, debating. Thank goodness for art...its not telling us how to live, its holding a mirror up to how some of us live. Dont get rid of the video, figure out the root causes and get rid of those!!!Poverty,addiction, lack of education......

    August 13, 2010 at 7:38 am |
  87. Stephen Lee

    Domestic violence is everywhere, but pop culture alone is not responsible for it's normalization. Television Programs of all genres, from Married With Children to COPS have released te realism of this tradgedy into our homes and lives for decades. Let's stop pigeonholing pop stars and take it for what it is, domestic violence is everywhere and we are clearly not doing all we can to prevent it.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:35 am |
  88. Mike

    This isn't new. Ever watch the Honeymooner's? One of the main jokes was "Too the Moon, Alice!" Which hints towards the husband hitting his wife.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:35 am |
  89. Marty

    I recently paroled from a CA prison, convicted of violating a restraining order, sentenced to 5 years. My sentences stems from a relationship I had with a women in the Bay area and I lived in L.A. My employment was headquartered in the bay area, thereby faciltating this relationship for years. The purpose for my detail regarding our living arrangements is in my case I was completely blind sided by the criminal charges I now am convicted of.

    My former fiance used the system to extort me by putting a restraining order on me and then telling me to pay her a sum of money or she will contact the police stating I had violated the restraining order resulting in my arrest. In one case, she contacted police stating I had contacted her, virtually impossible because I was already in custudy The court ignored my attempts at pointing out this fact and never gave me an opportunity in the future to address this, incriminating action by my ex-fience. The impact of my sentence has resulted in the loss of my home, property, clothing, cars, 401k, stock worth approximately 1 million and countless friendships.

    My frustration with these celebrity cases should be evident, given the afore mentioned. The motive for this injustice stem from a stock investment that went bad for her and she wanted me to pay for her losses.

    There are a couple of issues I think are worth mentioning, I never was served for the restraining order hearing, the first time i was aware of it was upon my first violation and arrest.

    Given that i resided some 400 milles away from her, court records show that the Judge assumed I was served and granted the order by default. How is this possiblle, and how could have I addressed this error made by the court? I was able to get verification from thge sherrifs offce that I was not ser ved, but how would you request a re-hearing.

    BTW, I hired an attorney he only showed for one arraignment, then I was forced to represent Pro Per.

    Given that most of the celbrities get next to nothing in punishment, it woukd appear the system has no equallity or constitutional safegaurds.


    August 13, 2010 at 7:30 am |
  90. Joanna

    I think some form of domestic violence is frighteningly normal in many people's lives. And I think that song/video do a good job in displaying how people get trapped in it. Because often there are good times, apologies, "but he loves me" etc. That's also how to interpret the ending shot: Another cycle starts, there's even a voice in the background saying "round and round".

    I also don't believe that it's the artists' responsibility to make an explicit PSA on DV because people might take the song, video literally and proclaim that it says that setting your girlfriend on fire is awesome. Guess what, mainstream media is hardwired to take everything at face value anyway, and they (especially Rihanna, who seems to be seen here as some mindless doll with no agency and zero decision making skills who was just taken in by the big bad rapper...) don't owe anybody some stereotypic Lifetime movie treatise with an uplifting message.

    This song just seems to say "This is how it can be in a toxic relationship". Oh, and it doesn't end well. It ends with them and the house going up in flames. There's total destruction at the end. As for how children will take it...I guess that's why there's s Parental Advisory sticker on these Cds. Explain it to them.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:23 am |
  91. RKL

    UP FRONT, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT I DO NOT BELIEVE IT IS ACCEPTABLE FOR ANYONE TO VICTIMIZE ANYONE, AND THAT IT SHOULD NEVER BE TOLERATED. That said, I feel that in addition to a physical abuse issue, which in most cases results in the female being victimized by an overly aggressive male....I think we fail to understand that there is also an epidemic of mental abuse and manipulation happening as well, and i submit that it is predominantly the female who victimizes the male in this manner. I feel we are all quick to condemn any kind of physical abuse but fail to equally condemn the psycological abuse which I believe, in at least some of the cases, does act as a contributing or instigating factor which drives the physical abuser, out of frustration and an inability to fight back on a mental level, to resort to lashing out violently. We need to teach our children that not only do we need to physically respect others, it is equally important that we psycologically respect each other as well, and that it is not ok to instigate a violent response out of somebody, and then act like the violence is the only unacceptable behavior that occurred.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:19 am |
  92. Hank

    If you look at the bigger picture , this is not the problem it is just another symptom. At least, their behaviour is out in the open for us to know better and declaim. On the other hand, there is a lot of smoke and mirrors in other circles having greater influence on our lives, and this is really making us vulnerable as a whole.

    It is not what you know that hurts, it is what you do not know that will get you. Celebrities will remain as ever easy targets for us to pick on. They however provide us with valuable knowledge insight on human nature, i.e.: weaknesses. The apple never falls far the tree, and kids are most vulnerable at home from their upbringing. Kids schooling is now said to be falling behind, that tells you more about parenting values in certain society circles where the evolution theory remains on the academic program. Bet you, that in other circles where Darwin theory is banned, schooling is doing well. Now, this provides real comfort would n't you say. It is acceptable to be single minded with a Sunday school behaviour as long as you agree that the world is flat, otherwise like Galileo you may face the death penalty.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:17 am |
  93. Kim

    Thank you so much for doing this topic! I've noticed a real increase in the "blame the victim" mentality lately too and it's very disconcerting. We need to really step up the awareness in society on intimate partner violence with educational campaigns. Without that, young people are left to create their understanding through popular media which today shows female action figures easily beating up men. Along with giving them impression that violence is always the best solution, this gives the false impression that women can easily attack and defend herself against a man.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:10 am |
  94. Our Country holds idiots,

    It's been proven that a percentage of entertainers are idiots...Sheen, C. Brown, Gibson, etc. When Chris Brown beat up Rhianna, the response of many women was "she must have something to deserve it". That's a big part of the problem.

    There are ignorant young women who idolize the Chris Browns of the world. They defend guys like Charlie Sheen and instead of boycotting the actor's work, they tune in.

    Rhianna placed being a part of a hit more important than looking closely at the problem. She is a survivor but she doesn't really understand the problem. Mike Tyson's ex-wife understands DV. TV stations need to give her more air time.

    The sad part is stupidity, not ignorance. Stupidity is having the information and facts about DV and taking insane positions about abusers.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:00 am |
  95. wolfgang

    Yes, it is the norm if women let it happen. Women have been taught to OBEY their better halves. It works both ways. They would never think that their "better-halves would do this to them. BS.....No woman can beat a man; but you have to be smarter.

    I do not believe a man/woman has the right to HIT anyone. Believe you me, a man has only one time to HIT me; he will not get a second time. All men have weaknesses as well as women and when you find that weakness, you strike. As God is my witness, I will kill him and feel no remorse afterwards. He deserves to die.

    August 13, 2010 at 6:57 am |
  96. Martha Harper

    Domestic violence is far from normal, and that's not what this video or the song is about. It stands against it, and stands for something that I'm sure the people who are in an abusive relationship can relate to, and maybe it would give them the courage to speak out and get some help for it. As for the relationships of Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson, and Chris Brown, if 24% of women go through an abusive relationship in their lifetime, it's bound to happen with celebrities too. But they're celebrities, and they're always being watched. Why not focus on the videos, songs, and TV shows about sex and drugs? That's what's influencing teenagers today. Domestic violence is wrong, and this song stands against it.

    August 13, 2010 at 6:51 am |
  97. Rich

    I'm happily married, love my wife, and can't imagine abusing her in any way shape or form.
    That said, I do know that there are many kinds of abuse. Some are prosecutable, some are not. I have met passive/aggressive bullies who will intentionally do whatever they can to upset you, while leaving themselves in a position to claim to be an innocent victim. This behavior is still an example of a supposedly stronger person abusing a supposedly weaker person. It is not prosecutable, and can sometimes end with "victim" lashing out physically or verbally, out of shear frustration, fulfilling the desire of the passive/aggressive abuser.

    There is no excuse for physical violence in a relationship, but we can come to understand that the cause does not always rest solely with the perpetrator of the violence.

    One's ability to "walk away" is often proportional to their financial standing.

    August 13, 2010 at 6:49 am |
  98. Tahni

    Domestic violence isn't a new norm – it's something that had always been downplayed in our society and so frequently portrayed in a faulty light in our media. This song the accompanying video may have brought attention to the matter, but it's always been there and more often than not is viewed in a very skewed manner. For example, it's amazing the lengths to which many people go to place blame on the victim without even knowing that they're doing it – asking why the victim doesn't just leave the relationship or why they don't just report their abuser to the police is the common reaction to learning that someone is being abused. These questions place the responsibility to remove to remove oneself from the situation with the victim rather than placing the responsibility for the crime, the cruelty, and all of the things that come with it with the abuser, and the abuser is the one that should be bearing this responsibility.

    Domestic violence isn't normal, but inadvertantly finding ways to dismiss it seems to be. This is both deeply saddening and troubeling, and I hope that we see a change in this trend in the near future.

    August 13, 2010 at 6:48 am |
  99. Rosemary Morgeson

    I am 52, oldest of 9 children, mother of 3 girls and been married to the same wonderful man for 30 years. Growing up I watched my father beat my mother just about every weekend. It is a scaring and frighting thing to watch and is unexceptable. I raised my daughters to never except this type of behavior from anyone ever. It is to bad that these two singers produce this type of negativity to their advantage. All the moneys made from this song should be donated to help stop this behavior or just remove the song completely from the air.

    Rosemary Morgeson

    August 13, 2010 at 6:48 am |
  100. Lu

    I believe that what is happening is a breakdown of families, where keeping your hands and vile comments to yourself are taught, without that, they learn with sarcasm and hitting. two very distructive forces, sure people blow off steam but no one NO ONE should be harmed in that process.

    August 13, 2010 at 6:40 am |
1 2