Love, Family

Are Apologies Enough After Domestic Abuse?

Sad couple embracing

After being accused of assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna, Chris Brown recently pleaded guilty to felony assault charges. While the assault occurred back in February, not much was heard from the Brown camp until now. The R&B singer issued a video apology where he accepted responsibility, expressed remorse and promised to take steps to prevent a repeat performance. Read: The Real Reason For Chris Brown's Apology

Rihanna was able to pull away Brown, making his apology a little different than those of many other abusers as he is not an imminent threat to her. In his apology, Brown admitted fault, apologized to both her and his fans and stated that he is seeking counseling. While he is definitely trying to win back public favor, the apology also felt sincere as Brown appeared both embarrassed and remorseful.

It can be argued whether Brown's apology was sincere or a ploy to win back fans. The bigger question is, how much good does an apology do in a domestic violence situation? Rihanna was able to ditch Brown after he assaulted her, but many women who suffer from domestic abuse do not have the same power. Read: Rihanna Wants To Remain Friends With Chris Brown

For these women, is an apology enough or is more action needed to ensure that the abuse won't continue? According to Mid-Valley Women's Crisis Center, the abuser goes through a cycle of abuse that includes six stages: abuse, guilt, rationalization, normal behavior, fantasy and planning, and the set-up. During the guilt stage, the abuser often apologizes to his victim as a means to side-step real punishment.

"He does not feel guilty or sorry for hurting his victim. He may apologize for his behavior, but his apology is designed so that he will not face consequences or be held accountable," states the website. "The goal of the guilt stage is to reassure himself that he will not be caught or face consequences."

The cycle continues through the other stages, ultimately resulting in another abusive situation. Women who are stuck in such a relationship often find it very difficult to leave, especially if children and financial resources are involved. While an apology may sound nice, it may take many trips through the abuse cycle before the victim fully understands that the abuse won't stop.

So unless the abuser takes corrective action, such as therapy or marriage counseling, then a simple apology probably doesn't cut it. It can be a difficult step for someone to leave their abuser. offers many suggestions for people in this situation.

As reports, Brown wants to be a role model and return to his position as a rising music star.