Rihanna talks to Diane Sawyer

We’ll have more to say on this once the full interview is up, but for now, check out this moving excerpt of Rihanna’s interview with Diane Sawyer.

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19 Comments

  1. aloz
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I think Rihanna came off as very strong in this interview. She was calm, confident and yet was able to convey how badly her situation was and was able to express the difficulty that many women have in leaving domestic violence. Go Rihanna!
    Chris Brown, you suck and you should be in jail.

  2. aloz
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I think Rihanna came off as very strong in this interview. She was calm, confident and yet was able to convey how badly her situation was and was able to express the difficulty that many women have in leaving domestic violence. Go Rihanna!
    Chris Brown, you suck and you should be in jail.

  3. MorganFarquhar
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Not to be obnoxious — but why are we so focused on Rihanna? Is her story truly representative of what most women in battering situations experience? It reminds me of the cover of Us magazine from last month (I’m not a subscriber, but had to buy it). On the cover is a woman who left her batterer . . . apparently because she won “So You Think You Can Dance”. Are overblown stories of celebrity effective at pulling women out of abusive relationships? I mean, what if you DON’T have Diane Sawyer and US magazine behind you, what if you DON’T win SYTYCD…what then?

  4. Silva
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s because it’s hard to reach women who go through domestic violence. One of the many reasons is a very misplaced sense of shame.
    The focus on Rihanna can be helpful, especially when she so strongly puts that that “happened to her”, “she didn’t cause it”.It’s not a matter of being strong or not, inteligent or not. It’s not her responsability.
    I think that that will help women see that it’s not her fault that somebody chose to beat her up, or otherwise abuse her.
    I think she can be a very good and useful role model here.

  5. Ahlana
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    @ morganfarquhar
    When DV happens to celebrities it can serve as a learning point for the viewing audience. It can help to remove stigma of victims (e.g. DV isn’t just something that happens to poor people), it can demonstrate that DV is unacceptable to those people who may be experiencing it themselves.
    And, no, most DV victims are not in a similar situation as Rihanna, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t parallels that can teach us a lot about DV. I teach a self-esteem workshop for 12-16 yr old girls and when this story hit the news we talked about dating violence… first thing out of one of those girls’ mouths was “well, Rihanna gave him herpes so he had a right to hit her.” Believe me, that led to a HUGE discussion about batterers’ use of lies to denigrate the victim, the tolerance of violence if “she had it coming” and the use of verbal and psychological abuse to prime someone to tolerate physical abuse. That conversation wouldn’t have been as open and vocal if it was about someone IN the group.

  6. MorganFarquhar
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    I suppose. I’m just a little troubled that a celebrity had to experience DV in order for children to have conversations about it. Why does this bother me? Because I think popular opinion has a very short attention span. Moreover, it’s very sensitive to media influences, which are both fickle and sensationalistic.
    Researchers have known for DECADES–since before the Duluth Model–that popular conceptions of DV are erroneous. But no one bothered to integrate those teachings into the public consciousness. So now it’s going to be Rihanna who does it? I just think maybe she’s an example — a role model? I don’t know. To say things like “don’t react off of love” and “look at the situation third person” and speak in cliches is way, way easier said than done. And it’s just not clear what the illuminating event in her life was. That she had it publicized? Well, that’s not going to happen for most victims.
    Perhaps it’s a function of our culture that we much sooner will open our ears to celebrities than people who might have a *bit* more experience with the topic…sigh.

  7. FTWomen
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    I understand where you’re coming from, and it would be GREAT if the media paid more attention to the widespread issue of domestic violence (rather, we get sensationalist stories like the Orlando disgruntled-ex-worker story – tragic to be sure, but a far cry from the number of people injured/killed in domestic violence every year). However, we have to start somewhere, and I think it’s absolutely great that Rihanna has decided she feels comfortable speaking out about the events of that night. I think it’s a little harsh to call her comments “cliche.” She’s 21. She’s giving the best advice she knows how. And yes, it’s far easier said than done, but she acknowledges this by saying it takes (and presumably took her) 8-9 times to leave a batterer. And considering her youth, I think she’s doing an even better job than what might be expected. It’s a lot of weight to put on one woman, to be the hero in this situation. Celebrities, like it or not, will continue to influence people in ways that ordinary citizens cannot. So I personally am thrilled to have her be so bold, straightforward, and strong in this interview.

  8. Femgineer
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    On the cover is a woman who left her batterer . . . apparently because she won “So You Think You Can Dance”. …what if you DON’T win SYTYCD…what then?
    I think you are talking about Mary Murphy, one of the permanent judges on So You Think You Can Dance. I didn’t read the magazine, but this article explains that she left her husband in 1985 (long before SYTYCD) after she started teaching dance and had saved up some money.
    To the point though, I don’t think she had any fame in 1985 when she left her husband.

  9. boxedin
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    I think she is representative of a lot of people who are in abusive situations– feeling ashamed of what happened and feeling scared to talk to someone about it, as well as returning several times because you still have a connection with your abuser. That is a very typical DV story.
    I’m also really pleased to see that there is coverage of Rhianna’s as a survivor because it can show that abuse happens in all classes, not just poor communities. (And yes, I will concede that there are Lifetime movies about middle class and upper middle class women in abusive relationships, however, I still think that the predominate conception is that DV only happens in poor communities). To see that abuse can happen in all classes really shows that DV is about power and control, universal issues that can affect everyone.

  10. jess815
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Thank god she’s speakng out, I was getting sick of hearing Chris all the time. “I’m sorry for what I did, whatever it was.” FU BROWN.

  11. truth4u
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    This comment has been deleted.

  12. truth4u
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    This comment has been deleted.

  13. TooMuchToSay
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    I completely disagree with MorganFarquhar.
    I spent 5 years in a violent relationship (its been over almost 15 years now). It took me 4 years to find the strength to leave, and during that time I confided in very few people. Those I did confide in let me down. I know how ashamed you feel for allowing such a thing to happen.
    This topic is so taboo that I don’t care who is talking about it. Rhianna has made a bold move – her advice is to the point and sensible.
    You say its easier said than done – Rhianna has proved you wrong. She left a violent man. She is ideally placed to give advice. Women don’t want to hear theoretical advice from do-gooders, they want to hear from women who have been through what they’re experiencing.
    I’m so sick of hearing about/from Chris Brown, and so glad to be hearing from Rhianna now.

  14. Key from the City
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Where does it say she hit him? Please provide the documentation, her admission or Chris’ statement, otherwise you are attempting to justify violence.

  15. adag87
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Even IF Rhianna hit Chris Brown (which to be honest I have never heard her or cb say), it doesn’t excuse him BEATING her. Her mouth was full of blood, and it did not stop after that. So please consider that even IF she “provoked” him, that that is absolutely no excuse for his actions. I doubt Chris Brown felt like his life was in danger at any point. Sorry, but I have no sympathy for him in this situation. There were about 100 ways to handle a fight with his girlfriend, and he chose one of the worst ones. Nope.

  16. roxy_sox
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    @MorganFarquhar: Even though you may not like it, Rhianna is a role model to young girls. They listen to her music and want to know everything about her, including her relationships. I know I used to when I was 13-17. Getting latched onto celebrities is just a part of life now, otherwise there wouldn’t be J17 and Tiger Beat magazines everywhere.
    I’m so glad that she’s speaking out on what happened, especially after all the blame that has been tossed around in the media and even here in the comments section. I think she’s a very brave person and I admire her courage and strength.
    Hopefully this will help get a discussion started on domestic violence/abuse among not just the media but between daughters/sons and their parents.

  17. DoGooderLawyer
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    that was an amazing clip, it made a cry a little bit. Im really happy she’s getting to speak now, and that she left him, and I really liked what she said about the end, about acknowledging your love for this terrible person, but thinking outside of that.

  18. LindseyLou
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    I feel sorry for Rihanna because she had to deal with this in such a public way and while knowing that she is a role model (and thus her actions cannot always be purely for her own reasons). But to hear her in this interview, it sounds like being a role model really helped her break away from the abusive relationship. It sounds kind of corny, but this makes me happy as it is truly women helping women. I am older than Rihanna, but still a big fan of hers, and I am happy to know that in some way, we (her fans) were able to help her through this.

  19. Hailey
    Posted November 7, 2009 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    rihanna is so brave for this. it is NOT easy to talk about an abusive relationship in general, whether it’s to your mother, best friend, therapist, etc and for her to do this on good morning america shows incredible strength.

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