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Love Notes from Sil Lai: With Chad and Evelyn, Are People Blaming the Victim?

by Sil Lai Abrams

Most people with an internet connection know by know that NFL player Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson was arrested over the weekend and jailed overnight for allegedly head-butting his new wife, reality star Evelyn Lozada. The details of what happened between the two seem to be well-documented (reports say that the altercation ensued when Lozada found a reciept for condoms purchased by her husband) and honestly, not surprising given their histories. Both have been known to engage in violent behavior in the past. Lozada’s bullying, hitting and bottle breaking with female castmates on Vh1’s Basketball Wives is legendary. And Johnson was arrested, convicted and sentenced to probation and mandatory anger management classes for assaulting his then-college girlfriend. Both are arrogant, bombastic, and more than likely narcissistic, as evidenced by their mutually violent, egomaniacal and attention-seeking behavior.

As of press time, Johnson has been released from his contract with the Miami Dolphins (who later made a statement implying that the one-day-after-the-incident move had nothing to do with the player’s arrest) and Vh1 has stated that “due to the seriousness of the allegations,” the upcoming reality series Ev and Ocho is no longer on the network’s schedule.

So it really wasn’t surprising that their mutually exploitive relationship exploded into physical violence. It’s not uncommon for people to repeat the mistakes of their past, especially if they’ve never received any successful treatment for their issues.  ChaVelyn is a cautionary tale of what often happens when two very broken souls come together and try to work out their unresolved emotional issues through their relationship-without realizing that it will be impossible for them to have a healthy relationship with each other until those issues are first resolved within themselves.

Another thing that is not surprising, though quite disturbing, is the reaction to the incident that has played out on social media. I couldn’t help but to think back to the Tweets and blog posts that said Rihanna deserved to be beaten up by Chris Brown because she, like Evelyn, “don’t act right.”

A troubling number of responses to ChaVelyn-gate fall into four categories:

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