Oprah - "Love Doesn't Hurt"

Filed under: In The News

oprah winfreyLast week Oprah Winfrey and Tyra Banks teamed up for an hour-long discussion about domestic violence inspired by the Chris Brown and Rihanna February 8th domestic assault case now before a Los Angeles court.

The question on everyone's mind is: Can Brown overcome his anger problem? Well, according to Oprah, "If a man hits you once, he will hit you again...Love doesn't hurt."

"Rihanna reconciled with Chris because she doesn't think she's worthy of being with someone who won't hurt her," says Oprah. "If you were raised with self esteem, to think you're a worthy person you won't tolerate abuse."

And the same principal rings true for the abuser. Oprah says when a child grows up witnessing domestic abuse, violent behavior becomes ingrained. And the abusive cycle perpetuates because the child doesn't have an alternative coping mechanism for his anger.
That seems to be the case with Chris Brown. When he appeared on the Tyra Banks Show in late 2007, he said he watched his mother suffer abuse from the time he was 7 years old until age 13. "I treat [women] differently because I know I never want to go through the same thing or put a woman through the same thing that the person put my mom through," Brown told Tyra. Brown's message to kids who were watching their parents be abused was to try to overcome it.

Tyra Banks echoed that statement last week when she also confessed while in her twenties she had been a victim of emotional abuse. "When I met my abuser my self esteem was very low," says Banks. "I was a famous supermodel in public and appeared to have it all, but in private I felt insecure and awful. He blamed me for his mood swings and temper."

"I stayed because I felt like if I left and he didn't change and didn't treat me how I felt I deserved to be treated, I was a failure," she says. "I finally got out of that relationship because I had a plan. Every girl needs a plan to leave an abuser."

Rap stars and supermodels aren't the only ones at risk for dating violence; one in three high school students have been or will be involved in an abusive relationship. What can you do if you suspect your teen is a victim?

Don't Enable: When Tyra Banks asked her mother for help to leave the relationship, her mom said this: "'You have to do this on your own. I will be here as somebody to support you in this. But I will not tell you to leave, and I will not cut you off from him, because you'll just run out in the middle of the night and go straight back." It's not that Bank's mom was unsupportive – rather she wanted her daughter to leave the relationship because she wanted to, not because she was forced to.

Take Note of Odd Behavior: Does your daughter's boyfriend get upset when she spends time with her friends? Become angry when she can't be reached? Tells her what to do? According to Elizabeth Miller, M.D., controlling behavior (Think: "If you loved me, you would done this" or "Why didn't you answer my text right away?") are all reasons to pay attention. If you feel in your gut something isn't right, talk to your daughter.

Withhold Judgment: Although it's difficult to stay calm, resist the temptation to say things like, "How could you stay with him?" It's hard enough for teens to talk to their parents – particularly about dating issues – so letting her know you're there to listen, not judge, will pave the way for an open dialogue.

Click here for more tips on how to cope with teen dating violence.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.