Rihanna case shines light on abuse

February 20, 2009 2:51:19 PM PST
Stephanie Francis has handled domestic abuse cases for the past 10 years. She says the recent high profile altercation between pop singer Chris Brown and Singer Rihanna has brought the taboo subject of domestic violence into the public light. "This is getting attention because they are two public figures, but this goes on everyday all over the country and it doesn't get this kind of attention," offered Stephanie Francis, Director of Interact.

Francis said as disturbing as the alleged attack was, the publicity may be positive.

"If people are able to see it's okay to speak up and talk about it, that is a way to see something positive," she told Eyewitness News.

Brown and Rihanna reportedly got into a fight the morning of the Grammy's. Both were nominated and slated to perform. The case has gotten worldwide attention that escalated Friday when the web site TMZ published a photo that it said was a picture of the singer after the beating.

Click here to read the story on TMZ

Millions of women like Rihanna report being abused each year. One in four women are abused according to the American Institute on Domestic Violence, and it's a crime that rarely gets a lot of attention.

"That's unfortunate that it doesn't get the recognition or the publicity that it should get," said Francis.

Francis said women do not have to stay in abusive relationships. Help is available.

She pointed to her own Interact Family Violence Prevention Center as an example. It moved into a new facility in Raleigh last week. Francis said they are prepared to help anyone who needs it with shelter, counseling and help in the courtroom.

The Raleigh Police Department will move in a domestic violence unit inside the same building, so not only will domestic abuse victims get to take advantage of services, but they'll also get a chance to file a complaint against their abusers.

Francis said most people don’t realize how serious it is until it’s too late.

"People seem to think of it as a personal issue, or family issue, don't get involved, but domestic violence is a crime," she explained.


Load Comments