ONCE AN ABUSER, ALWAYS AN ABUSER? COULD YOU DATE A MAN WITH A VIOLENT PAST?
– By Brande Victorian– Madame Noire
As you get older, you outgrow a lot of labels. Perhaps you were a nerd in school because you were smart, or dated a guy seen as a jock because he valued athleticism, or maybe you were the pro-black chick just because your hair was natural. Whatever people defined you as, it’s likely their perception of you was different when you reached college or entered the real world because like everything else on earth, people change. But there are some labels that never leave you. Like the sentiment that once someone tells a lie they are in fact a liar, a man who puts his hands on a woman rarely escapes the label of woman beater, abuser, or assaulter. And though those furthest from these men may never be able to see them in any other light outside their violence, often these so-called abusers go on to have relationships with other women who can see past a former abuse. Could you?
Evelyn and Chad’s current situation may in some people’s minds make a strong case for the dangers of overlooking a past transgression. Though most of the public wasn’t aware of Chad’s previous domestic dispute, once news hit of his altercation with Evelyn this weekend, suddenly he had a “history of domestic violence.” Uncovering the domestic battery charge the former NFL star received in 2000 in light of the head-butting that took place 12 years later this past weekend changed the conversation from “Chad should’ve known what he was getting into” because of Evelyn’s antics on “Basketball Wives” to “Evelyn should’ve known better” than to date someone with a violent past such as his. Assuming there aren’t any other hidden incidents such as these, can we really say Chad demonstrates a pattern of abuse and that Evelyn should have expected to be physically assaulted at some point in their relationship? It’s not quite that cut and dry.
Not all men turn out to be repeat offenders, at least as we know so far, when it comes to two well-known celebrities. Take producer Memphitz, whose domestic dispute was the talk of the Internet before Chad and Evelyn’s unfortunate incident. “Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta” star K. Michelle unearthed his violent past throughout their tumultuous relationship, but his wife of one year, who has known him for six, paints an entirely different picture of him. K. Michelle depicts him as an angry man that she somewhat provoked to violent outbursts of anger while Toya describes a sweet southern man she could never imaging laying a hand on a woman. What we don’t know, though, is if Toya knew that this alleged assault took place with K. Michelle before she met and married Memphitz, and whether that would have mattered at all?
One woman we can’t say is blind to her boyfriend’s violent past is Karrueche Tran. I know, we all think she’s just a cover, but at the very least she spends enough time in Chris Brown’s company that if he were to lose his cool and get physical again, she would be a likely target. There virtually isn’t a person in the world who isn’t aware of what went down between Chris and Rihanna three years ago, and whether motivated by love, lust, or luxury, Karrueche certainly didn’t mind taking a chance that Breezy wouldn’t be a repeat offender, and so far he doesn’t appear to be.
However, not all women are so lucky. In a small sample study on recidivism among male batterers, 32% of battered women said they were reassaulted after their partners participated in violence treatment programs. An even larger percentage – 70 –were subjected to verbal abuse, 45% to controlling behaviors, and 43% experienced threats. We know that part of Chad’s sentencing in his first domestic altercation was to complete a 12-month batterer’s counseling program, yet it would appear that he struck again last weekend. Chris Brown was sentenced tophysical labor and domestic violence counseling, yet aside from throwing a chair through a window at Good Morning America’s studios, he hasn’t had another violent incident that we know of.
For some women, word of a violent past is an automatic deal breaker, for others they err on the side of caution until they see signs of said behavior, and still for another percentage the attitude is that whatever the man in question did in a past relationship has no bearing on their current or future one. I’d venture to say the last stance is a tad naïve, while the first may be a bit staunch.
As the saying goes that once you’re a cheater, you’re always a cheater, can the same be said that once you abuse a woman, you’re always an abuser?
Could you date a man who you knew had been physically violent with a woman before?