4: Guy guilt works. Women blame themselves for provoking their boyfriends: They get brainwashed into believing that they've done something wrong—"it was my fault for leading him to think I was cheating." Apparently Rihanna blames herself for inciting Chris and has been terribly worried about how the incident and criminal charges could affect his career.
5. When batterers apologize it's another form of taking control: Guys who beat up their girlfriends can be dramatically remorseful—crying, begging for forgiveness and promising to never become violent again. Flowers and gifts like Rihanna's reported "$50,000 forgiveness" bracelet, can be typical. The apologies can seem so genuine that a battered girlfriend gets completely seduced back into continuing the relationship.
6. Guys who batter are insecure and have poor impulse control: It's weird. They can seem completely normal and stable at times. At work, they can present themselves as completely nice guys. It's the fear of losing their girlfriend or being unable to control her, that leads to the intense outbursts of rage and violence.
7. When guys batter they feel entitled to do it: They believe they have the right to use whatever means necessary to take control of the situation. If police arrive, they aren't ashamed of their behavior—they feel justified, i.e., "you deserved it, you were behaving like a slut."
8. If your boyfriend is violent, you've got to get out—it's unlikely he will be cured: Most batterers don't get the treatment they need in order to stop. They don't want help because they believe they are in the right. Furthermore, the beatings are likely to escalate over time. So don't follow Rihanna's example—ask for help from your close friends, family or a domestic abuse organization, and make a plan to leave ASAP.
If you're seeking help with an abusive spouse or boyfriend call 911 or the National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline, at 1-866-331-9474. Or, visit www.loveisrespect.org from 4 pm to midnight for a live, online chat.
For more information on dating abuse, visit thesafespace.org, breakthecycle.org and loveisrespect.org.