Rihanna and the Reality of Abuse
Singers Rihanna and Chris Brown perform at the Z100 Jingle Ball 2008 at Madison Square Garden on Friday, Dec. 12, 2008 in New York. (AP)

Singers Rihanna and Chris Brown perform at the Z100 Jingle Ball 2008 at Madison Square Garden on Friday, Dec. 12, 2008 in New York. (AP)

Nineteen-year-old pop singer Chris Brown didn’t just give pop singer Rihanna a hard time.

He beat her. In their Lamborghini, the night before the Grammys. Punched, choked and bit her, according to police records. Threatened to kill her. Shoved her head against the window and wailed away until her mouth filled with blood and blood spattered the car.

It’s just one couple in the limelight. But experts say it’s one young couple in a new generation that is seeing not less but more relationship violence.

This hour, On Point: A new generation faces an old cycle of abuse.

You can join the conversation. Why isn’t this problem fading? What would you say to Rihanna — to Chris Brown — if you had the chance? Is their story your story of abuse? Young listeners, what’s going on in your crowd? What keeps this going?


Sandy Banks, columnist at the Los Angeles Times. Readers responded in droves to her column “Chris Brown and Rihanna: a lesson for teens.” She is also the mother of three daughters—18, 20, and 23—with opinions of their own about the case.

Lisa Hartwick, director of the Center for Violence Prevention and Recovery at the Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center.

Candace Hopkins, director of Love is Respect, a national dating abuse helpline.

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