Do you, or should you, forgive a guy who got drunk and for no reason lashed out at his girlfriend, yanking her hair and punching her. She now has bruises and bumps on the back of her head, and some bruising on the forehead. It’s not the first time he has had violent tendencies. Can anger be managed or is anger something that can’t be helped and she should just call it quits? She likes him but now the relationship is getting dangerous.
Dear Concerned Friend,
Thank you for bringing a serious matter to light. It saddens me that this year much media and public attention shone on domestic / relationship abuse, but no clear answer or role models have emerged from the experience. After the sensational news reporting of leaked photos showing Rihanna’s battered face, there was no strong media consensus condemning Chris Brown, nor was the legal sentence severe. Instead, we saw more paparazzi photos of Chris and Rihanna reconciling, Chris jeering at the cameras atop his jet ski (as if he needed a tropical holiday), and Chris assuming other obnoxious postures in public. Where was his remorse? Where was the punishment? Where was the message to women that they should not tolerate relationship violence? The reactions of music fans, especially the younger ones, shocked me. Men and women alike seemed to think that she must’ve done something to “deserve” a beating. Let me set the record straight, in however small a way. There is no justification for physical violence. Ever. And it will happen again. Perhaps the boyfriend’s anger can be helped, but it’s not going to happen without some concerted and professional help. Going back to a guy who is repeatedly violent just keeps him in a power position and perpetuates the same behavior. He’s not going to just wake up one day as a reformed man, especially not if your friend continues putting up with him. Forgiveness – always a virtue – is one thing, but staying in an abusive relationship is never a good idea. Help her, if she can’t help herself. Information on seeking help, http://www.ncadv.org/protectyourself/GettingHelp.php.