Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Along with Everybody Else, The CDC Thinks Rihanna Could Do A Lot Better

Rihanna and her, um, sometime friend, musician Chris Brown made news last month when, for Rihanna's 24th birthday, she tweeted not one, but two remixes that paired the duo's vocals -- one on a new version of "Birthday Cake," and the other for Chris Brown's "Turn Up The Music."

Gossip columnist Perez Hilton summed up the exchange best, but unfortunately used a vocabulary that we should probably not repeat.  Needless to say, fans who knew of Chris Brown's February 2009's assault of the then 20-year-old Rihanna (and the subsequent restraining order) were shocked by the musical collaboration, and psychologists everywhere will have something to say about it for years.

Probably not-at-all-coincidentally, February was proclaimed Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month was in January of 2011 by President Barack Obama.  In his statement last year, the President seemed particularly aware of how social networking and portable communications can contribute to incidents of dating violence -- issues that were rumored to be catalysts in the attack upon Rihanna.    

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Indeed, the CDC found that there was a 50% increase between 2000 and 2005 in electronic aggression, and that 67% of electronic victimization occurred through instant messaging, and 16% through text messages.

the Centers for Disease Control had published, three days before the collaboration, a reminder that February is the first anniversary of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

"Did you know that in the past 12 months, one in 10 teens report being hit or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend at least once? And nearly half of all teens in relationships say they know friends who have been verbally abused."  
"Before violence starts, a teen may experience controlling behavior and demands. One partner may tell another what to wear and who to hang out with. Over time, the unhealthy behavior may become violent."  
"That's why adults need to talk to teens now about the importance of developing healthy, respectful relationships."

The CDC's Teen Dating Violence Web site has extensive information available on how to recognize dating violence, understanding healthy versus unhealthy dating relationships, and warning signs for trouble ahead.  There is also a broader site for Intimate Partner Violence.

For a localized treatment of the topic, the University of Colorado is home to the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, and of course for concerns about personal safety, services are offered on campus under several category types.

Clearly this is an issue that affects more than only popular musicians, but it is still enjoyable to see that the government can subtly find ways to perhaps call a few people out.

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