Rihanna has found herself in the spotlight again. She is, no matter how
This time it’s Rihanna’s latest video offering for her new single, Man Down, that has got the people all in an uproar. The video shows Rihanna gun down a man at a dance hall. Four minutes and some change later you see that the man hadn’t taken no for an answer. The innerwebs have united against her, saying that the video shouldn’t be played, that it promotes violence & taking the law into your own hands, that the violence is glorified by coming at the beginning instead of the end, after the video alludes to the rape.
None of that matters.
The people doing all the tongue wagging must not have ever been raped. They cannot imagine the emotions that follow or the sense of powerlessness that takes over. They don’t know the turmoil of trying to understand what to do next? This, like men trying to dictate abortion laws, is absurd. It is not possible to put yourself in a woman’s shoes & relate to the feeling of unwanted hands, the heat of someone else’s breath over you without permission, the beauty of consensual sex destroyed (temporarily or permanently).
I have walked in these shoes, worn by a character in a video, in real life. I have battled with the notion of turning over His address to A Few Good Men to handle the dude. I’ve considered whether he has the right to live. I’ve choked over & over on the actual words, still unable to speak the word “rape” when speaking of my self. The tears flowed uncontrollably & without regard for time or place. I was unreceptive to touch from men for a long time. I blamed myself for not being a better judge of character, because we were friends once. Forgiveness, attempting to achieve it, became a 2nd job. I retreated into my cave, distrustful of the world & her inhabitants. I suffered a deeper depression than I’d ever known & fought with my body not to betray my secret. All throughout, this person I once called friend, continued to torment me with unwanted communication that I was unable to block. He found ways around it all, sending emails from foreign email addies & texting me pictures of himself in his birthday suit for MY birthday. I had my sanity disregarded & talked others out of ending his breath all at once.
What Rihanna’s character does in the video speaks to the lack of attention paid to women who have been added to rape statistics. So little is done, the laws stretching & bending inconsistently in favor of any man who wasn’t a stranger who pistol whipped his victim in an alley & took her against a brick wall, sorta like the video, minus the pistol whipping. There is nothing in place to give women confidence that these sex crimes against us will be dealt with in seriousness. Hence why we carry them, often in silence, without seeking the supposed proper channels to out these men & bring them to just punishments. Until such time where the lives & words of women are valued & protected, Rihanna’s mini-movie will continue to be a reality for those of us who can’t see any other way through the fear & hurt & shards of broken glass we are forced to look into. This is a situation where people are afraid that life will imitate art. The truth is, this is already some woman’s life, many women’s lives, & this has already happened with them finding themselves on the wrong side of the law because there were never any laws to protect them beforehand. Whether art imitates life or it’s the other way around, the fact that any of this is real enough to even require consideration means things are a little more than skewed. Removing the video for Man Down is not the answer.
The redhead, who will surely be labeled a vixen eventually, if it hasn’t already happened, does have a conscience:
Cause I didn’t mean to hurt him/Could’ve been somebody’s son/And I took his heart when/I pulled out that gun…”
In the end, she has more regard for him than he ever had for her. Speaking from experience, we’re the first to apologize or excuse. I still suffer with that. I forgave Him before I forgave myself. & now I wonder which of us is better off: me or the video vixen? Or are we destined to wrestle the same emotions no matter what? At least for her, the prospect of having to see him again no longer exists. Even as He’s begged for my audience as recently as last year, when it was 2 years after the fact, I couldn’t & still can't even take solace in that.
Leave Rihanna & her character alone, the figurative 1, & find something else to do with your time—like raising men who know better.
Watch me move...& view for yourself.