by Sil Lai Abrams
Few things in our community are as controversial as the ongoing debate on what exactly constitutes domestic violence…well, maybe colorism, interracial dating, and hair…but I digress. Every time a notable Black man is charged with assaulting a woman, it becomes abundantly clear that when it comes to domestic violence, there is a whole lot of division and confusion on the issue.
The most recent high profile DV incident happened a couple of weeks ago when football player Chad Johnson was arrested for allegedly head butting his wife Evelyn Lozada during a heated argument around his purported infidelity. Online commentary showed that many feel that violence is a normal occurrence in intimate relationships and to be expected when things get heated. There were a few who said that any sort of violence was unacceptable. Then, you have a whole lot of people who fall somewhere in between these two camps.
As a survivor of domestic violence, it is mind boggling to consider how many Black people are active supporters of the use of violence in relationships. In the Digital Court of Black Public Opinion, Evelyn Lozada got what she deserved when Chad Johnson (allegedly) head butted her because she has hit other women in the past. When Evelyn subsequently spoke out against domestic violence, folks became even more incensed. How in the hell could this woman have the nerve to stand up and say domestic violence is bad when she herself is on tape attacking other women?
As I watch the insults grow, it seems crystal clear: most people have absolutely no idea about what domestic violence actually is.
Domestic violence is a term that is used today to describe any violence in an intimate relationship. However, not all acts of violence are considered battering (also known as “intimate partner terrorism”). Famous depictions of battering include Ike & Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It and Celie & Mister in Alice Walker’sThe Color Purple.