One of the most headline-generating examples of domestic violence occurred in 2009 when rap artist Chris Brown tried to push his then-girlfriend, pop diva Rihanna, out of his car. He banged her head against a passenger window and punched her repeatedly, leaving her bruised and bloodied the night before the Grammy awards. He threatened to beat her again once they got home, but Rihanna had her assistant call the police, who arrested Brown and charged him with two felonies.
But, like many victims of domestic violence, Rihanna later had a restraining order against Brown lifted, and the two briefly reconciled. “I was that girl,” said Rihanna in a November 2015 story in Vanity Fair. “Maybe I’m one of those people built to handle s*** like this. Maybe I’m the person who’s almost the guardian angel to this person, to be there when they’re not strong enough…when they just need someone to encourage them in a positive way and say the right thing.”
Her emotional scars still linger. Today, Rihanna, who is currently single, says, “I’m always concerned about whether people have good or bad intentions.”
Tyler Perry: Learn to Forgive
One of Hollywood’s most successful Renaissance men, Tyler Perry is an entertainment empire unto himself, with hit films, plays, and a best-selling book to his credit. But he began life as Emmitt Perry Jr., a name he changed to distance him from his abusive, alcoholic father. He once described Perry Sr. as a man “whose answer to everything was to beat it out of you.”
But his father wasn’t the only abuser in Perry’s young life. He told People in 2009 that when he was 10, a friend’s mother seduced him. And his grandmother bathed him in ammonia to rid him of his allergies.
To others who’ve endured similar abuse, Perry has a message: Learn to forgive. “I know that there are a lot of people out there with stories far worse than mine but you, too, can make it,” Tyler told the magazine.