Too often we think celebrities have it all, as if their lives are perfect. In reality, they face as much hardship as the rest of us. What do Abused Celebrities do to escape?
Domestic violence has been a huge topic in the news lately. Abuse is found in every class, every country, and every race. Dr. Megan Holmes, part of the social work program at Case Western Reserve University, partnered with the Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center to show domestic violence isn’t only found in the inner-city neighborhoods.
Even many of the celebrities we know pretty well, or at least have heard of, have also suffered through this tragedy as victims. But what is more important than knowing that some celebrities suffer abuse like some non-celebrities do, is that they find a way to overcome this obstacle and often turn around and help others overcome the same issue.
Celebrity life isn’t always the best
Throughout the years, there have been many prominent celebrities inflicted with the plague of domestic violence: Halle Berry, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and Rihanna to name a handful.
- Halle Berry grew up watching her mom being abused and as an adult, she followed in her mother’s footsteps by getting into abusive relationships.
- Mariah Carey was married to her emotional/mental abuser, Tommy Mottola, for years; what was hard for her is that he was a big name in the music industry and helped her build her career.
- Whitney Houston’s abuser was her husband, Bobby Brown.
- And Rihanna was abused by her (at the time) boyfriend, Chris Brown.
This form of domestic abuse is also known as intimate partner abuse. This is when the abuse is coming from a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend (as opposed to a parent, sibling, etc.) and can come in the form of physical, emotional, mental, or sexual.
Overcoming the abuse
Mariah Carey said, “You get into a situation and you feel locked in.” This often happens in any abusive situation: you might feel like your abuser really does love you and that they didn’t mean to hurt you. But then it happens again and again, pretty soon you make excuses for them and you stay. Mariah Carey’s situation was even trickier than that: she had a business relationship with her abuser as well. In 2009 she finally came out publicly about her experience with abuse that she suffered for more than a decade to help spread awareness to others.
Halle Berry was a witness to her mother’s abusive relationship and said that her mother would tell her “If a man hits you, you leave,” which is what she did. When her boyfriend beat her so bad that she lost 80 percent of hearing in her right ear, she left.
La Toya Jackson, who also suffered from domestic violence at the hand of her husband/manager said: “If he hits you once, I promise you he will hit you again. So please walk away, please.”
With any form of abuse, it is sometimes a struggle to walk away, but those that have been abused are much better off leaving than staying in the relationship. Like La Toya Jackson said, if it happens once, it will continue to happen, and no one deserves to be treated like that. And just as we “follow” these celebrity figures on social media, we should also follow their example and do everything we can to escape these harmful situations.
Celebrities and cyberbullying
Famous people have been faced with far more abuse than just intimate partner abuse. Cyberbullying is also prominent in the celebrity world. A recent example of celebrity cyberbullying is when a number of celebrities had personal pictures taken and placed all over the internet, which led to a lot of hurt for most of those celebrities.
The Colleges of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services at the University of Cincinnati talk about the amazing benefits that come along with the internet, especially social media, but also how there are negatives to these outlets—the biggest being cyberbullying.
One of the first victims (celebrity or non-celebrity) of cyberbullying was Monica Lewinsky. Before social media, cyberbullying still existed and ruined people’s lives. Lewinsky speaks on how her name was plastered all over the internet and TV, branding her as a horrible person for what she had done.
After nearly 20 years, Ms. Lewinsky has spoken out to stop cyberbullying. She shared her story and discussed how her cyberbullying led to suicidal thoughts and for many others it has unfortunately resulted in suicide. She said, “Having survived myself, what I want to do now is help other victims of the shame game survive, too. I want to put my suffering to good use and give purpose to my past.”
Celebrities are not immune to the woes of abuse, bullying, or cyberbullying; in that sense, they are just like us. But because they are celebrities, when they open up and raise their voices (as has Lewinsky, Carey, and many more) they can spread awareness much further. Just as these many celebrities have become stronger and spoken out to help others, all of those who have been in situations should find the strength to move on and help others.