Friday, 27 February 2009

Down a dangerous path: A personal note to the singer, Rihanna

Rihanna, Rihanna, Rihanna. I don't know you, but I do know what it is like to be in a situation like yours. Once you've been abused, .seeing someone else in a similar situation is like holding a mirror up to your past Yet, when a person is in it, she or he thinks that the situationis unique in all of the world. That's part of the evil glue that holds victims there for so long. People on the outside just don't understand and they never will.

It's easy for outsiders to say, "Don't go back to him." And, really, Rihanna is lucky to have friends, family and fans who support and worship her. Still, when a person's self esteem has reached bottom, no amount of praise or common sense can dig them out of the hole they've created. Being young, she's lost in love, that immature love that drowns out the self and replaces one heart with another.

Of all of the women whom I have interviewed on the topic of domestic violence, only one left after the first time. Of course, the first time with her landed her in the hospital. Most of the time it starts with a push, slap or grab and gradually increases in intensity and force. The abuse is typically followed by apologies and often manipulative tears. The abuse victims, with their loving hearts and broken self image, wind up back again for round after round. On average, it takes five to seven tries for a person to leave an abusive partner.

So, Rihanna, while I will understand the reasons that you went back, if you decide to go, I will tell you this: It doesn't get better. Rarely are batterers rehabilitated completely. You are young, you are beautiful and you are talented. There are other men out there who will treat you the way that you deserve to be treated. I've done the research, both professionally and personally, and I can attest to everything I say.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Am I hallucinating, or is life just really strange right now?

Between plane crashes and near misses, nuclear submarine collisions, octobabies, and politicians lying about severe corruption, this past week has been fairly strange in the news. I thought that my week was fairly eventful, talking to former President Jimmy Carter and hanging with Mayor Slay at the Arch River Roller Girls season kickoff event, but obviously it wasn't eventful enough to keep up with the times. Sometimes I have to take a wobbly step backward from my job in astonishment. I don't know what's getting weirder: our reportage of incidents or people in general.

Last week, I web browsed upon the naive face of little Alfie Patten, the underdeveloped 13-year-old teen father of a newborn. Now, a person would think that the shock of such a tragedy would end there, but as the story unraveled, we discovered that Alfie wasn't the only one experimenting with the baby's 15-year-old mother. A 16-year-old came forth to claim that he could have fathered the child. Now we have a real life Maury Pauvich DNA "Who's the babydaddy?" show. The public crunch on this stuff by the handful and the media keep popping it fresh.

I tend to wonder, however, what sort of impact a story such as Alfie Patten's has on a young teeneager. It could very well scare him or her from the prospect of experimenting with sex. However, seeing that another teen tried it, had a baby and was supported and not killed by parents, might have a different impact entirely on a developing young mind.

If there were only one media source in all the world, ethical decisions about what to print would be simple. Unfortunately, we live in a world of competition, the idea that, if we don't print something, someone else will. There is always someone out there with fewer scruples than you have. But, by letting go of most ethics, we add to the snowball effect, inciting emotions, inducing copycats and adding to the crime and corruption of others all over the world.

Words can be worse than biological warfare in ways. A word can infect a community and grow and spread into mass corruption. People like Isioma Daniel know this fact all too well. But we don't even have to start riots or mass killings to sicken the flock. A slightly sicker society is something that Nadya Suleman and little Alfie's expose writers might soon discover. But by then they'll be onto the next more sensational story.

Saturday, 7 February 2009


Because I've recently had some major problems with my racket insurance company (which I won't name because of liability reasons, but it rhymes with "Puke off the windshield"), and also because I work and play with robots all day long, I thought I'd post this, just for laughs: