It's Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Unfortunately, it looks like there's still a lot of work to do when it comes to the "awareness" part.
It was recently announced that Chris Brown would be going on tour with Lil Baby this summer, presented by Rolling Loud. The irony? Celebrities get "cancelled" on a daily basis for controversial remarks or tweets, while others seem to fly under the radar for offenses as large as assault.
Despite "averaging more than one abusive incident with women per year," Brown continues to have a successful career. By all rights, Brown should've left the public eye February 8, 2009, after he was arrested and charged with assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna until she required hospitalization.
Despite the case being long settled and Brown pleading guilty to a felony, festivals like Rolling Loud still seem to support him. On top of that, celebrities with hundreds of millions of fans like Justin Bieber continue to defend Brown (unprompted), ten years after the fact.
Bieber has referred to Brown's abuse of Rihanna as a "one time mistake." And maybe Bieber's right--maybe you can't use an incident from ten years ago to judge someone today. After all, human beings are constantly growing, learning, and changing. So, let's take a look at Chris Brown's (alleged) behavior after the Rihanna assault.
-In 2013 he assaulted a woman in a nightclub, allegedly shoving her to the ground so she tore the ligaments in her knee.
-In 2015, he was charged with third degree assault of a woman on his tour bus.
-In 2016, his female tour manager quit after he allegedly threatened her with physical violence.
-In 2018, he was accused of assault with a deadly weapon after a woman claimed he threatened her with a gun.
-In 2019, Brown and two accomplices were taken into custody in Paris after a woman reported an aggravated rape.
Most recently, Brown was hit with a $20 million lawsuit that accuses him of drugging and raping a woman on a yacht in Florida.
While many of the cases against him never saw their day in court, artists are far too quick to overlook the fact that Brown is still a convicted, violent felon. He continues to find work, even with figures such as prominent DJ, Marshmello, who featured Brown on a 2019 track.
In response to Marshmello working with Brown, the woman-led group CHVRCHES became one of the few artists to speak out against the rapper, criticizing Marshmello for the collaboration. They wrote,
“We are really upset, confused and disappointed by Marshmello’s choice to work with Tyga and Chris Brown. We like and respect Mello as a person but working with people who are predators and abusers enables, excuses and ultimately tacitly endorses that behavior. That is not something we can or will stand behind.”
“These are the type of people I wish walked in front of a speeding bus full of mental patients."
CHVRCHES was dogpiled online afterwards by fans of Brown, with their frontwoman receiving a slew of abusive and hateful messages. Justin Bieber was praised for his post.
With all this information publicly available, it seems as though "awareness" is not actually what we should be striving for. Bieber knew what Brown did, and he still chose to defend him. Marshmello knew what Brown did, and he still chose to work with him.
Society has a problem with violence against women. Those who call it out are shamed while a repeat-offender like Brown is hailed as one of the greatest R&B artists of all time. Where is the accountability? When will we as a community stop giving platforms to abusers?
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