This is not going be yet one more post critiquing and analyzing what happened between Rihanna and her abuser. This is not going to be a warning post or a post criticizing her for going back. I have absolutely no desire to offer up analysis of her experience in any way, shape, or form, because too many have already done that.
I am posting this interview because I want everyone to watch it and focus on the important issues she addresses and the very important, personal statements she makes during the time she is interviewed by Diane Sawyer. And I want everyone to see the strength she shows throughout.
A few things in particular struck a very powerful chord within me, so much so that I actually watched the interview three times before pulling myself away to post it. First of all the way she describes him as he assaulted her was exactly the way Kevin would look. The words she used were “He had no soul in his eyes, just… blank…. There was no person when I looked at him.”
She also addresses two very important issues: the victim blame game and accountability as someone in the public eye. When Diane asked her how she felt about the responses people were making that saying she *must* have done something to him to provoke the attack, Rihanna’s response was unmistakably clear yet respectful. Although she could have gone off on a rant (which I have to admit I would be tempted to do and may not be able to stop myself), she simply said it was out of ignorance and even if she had done something to provoke him, there was nothing that would justify it.
Toward the end of the interview, she gets emotional as she talks about the things that went through her mind after she went back to him. She talks about recognizing the accountability she has as someone in the public eye to the younger girls and women who idolize and look up to her as an example. Rihanna held back tears and became visibly emotional when she said that she wouldn’t know how to handle it if something happened to one of them because they, too, chose to go back. That you never know if you go back whether or not you can get back out.
For a half hour, watch this interview not as though you are looking at a superstar. Watch from the point of view of Rihanna being your friend, your sister, your daughter, your niece. Someone that you love. A young woman with whom you have a connection. Not a stranger. Not someone out of your reach. For she is a human being like the rest of us, a woman who was harmed by the man she loved, a woman who had to make her way to healing. A woman who still remembers the horrifying events that unfolded that night, who still sees flashbacks and gets triggered. Simply because she is like the rest of us, and I adore her strength.