A Domestic Violence Survivor's Advice For Rihanna

rihanna chris brown oprah domestic violence
Family, Self

Forget the $50,000 forgiveness bracelet. Don't record the duet. GET OUT NOW!

Kristen Rambler should know. The petite brunette spent two years, beginning when she was 17 and a high school senior, desperately in love with her first boyfriend—tall, dark, handsome Keith. At first, it seemed like the most loving romance in the world. But gradually the relationship turned increasingly violent.

Like Rihanna, Kristen wouldn't listen to her parents who begged her to break up with the man who was battering her black and blue. Like Chris (allegedly), Keith's favorite punching spots were her face and head. Many batterers prefer to hit their victims where the bruises can't be seen, but when Kristen saw Rihanna's beaten face, it was like looking in the mirror at what her own used to look like.

Now she hopes that the Rihanna/Chris Brown relationship doesn't come to the same deadly end as her own. When Kristen finally summoned the strength to break up with her boyfriend Keith, he came after her with a gun. He broke into her parents' home and chased her down the street before catching up to her and putting the gun to her head.

"Don't do it, don't do it," Kristen pleaded. Seconds later Keith turned the gun on himself and blew his life away.

Kristen, now 26, considers herself lucky to have survived that day.  Rihanna—she wants you to hear her story and learn.

Kristen's Story

"I had moved to Pennsylvania from South Carolina and had just started at a new high school. I noticed Keith the first day—he was the best looking guy at school and seemed very sweet. After a bunch of us went out to a hockey game together, he walked me out and asked me to be his girlfriend. When he told me he loved me a couple of weeks later, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. I'd never been in a relationship before, didn't know what to expect and I fell hard.

One day though he pushed me up against a wall and said that my school uniform —the same one I'd been wearing since he met me a couple of months before—was too short and made me look like a slut. I was confused, but then he apologized and I just shrugged it off and thought maybe my skirt was too short after all.

When he started insisting a little while later that I stop having any 'girls nights out' because 'we'd all go out dressed like sluts and guys would try and take advantage of us,' I just felt flattered that he loved me so much that he was jealous. Besides, he was bringing me flowers and cooking me dinners so it was easy to start spending almost all my free time with him.

The first really violent incident happened one day when he came to pick me up in his car. He was mad at me because the school principal had actually asked him to pick me up early for school because I had a detention. When I went to open the car door, he floored it, throwing me to the ground. My hands and knees were cut up and one of my front teeth was knocked loose, but he just drove off.

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My father made me file a police report about the incident, but when Keith asked me out a week later I forgave him and went.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.