Veteran journalist Ed Gordon shares his thoughts on Rihanna and Chris Brown and why the Black community needs to stop making domestic violence an ugly secret.

It’s interesting, because the press has been slow on the issue of domestic violence and the Rihanna and Chris Brown situation is what has brought it the forefront. People are acting like domestic violence is just a young people problem, but there are 40-year-olds who have been suffering from decades of abuse. Even though we’ve always heard the stats, domestic violence still remains that hidden secret in our community.

My daughter, Taylor, just turned 15, so she isn’t dating yet, but I suppose the time for her to start is just around the block. As a father, it’s important to not only talk to my daughter about what treatment she should expect from a man, but to lead by example, so if
she sees me acting and reacting in certain ways then she’ll know how a young man is supposed to treat her.

When my daughter and her friends, who are huge Chris Brown fans, found out what he allegedly did they asked, “How could he do that?” Ironically, it was some of her friends’ mothers who said, “Well, we don’t know what happened; let’s wait until we have all the details.” I
was a bit shocked at how many women were so quick to jump and ask, “What did Rihanna do to deserve this?” As women and mothers of young Daughters, their initial responses were a little strange to me, but they started to come around when they saw the severity of what allegedly happened.

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I’ve told Taylor that no one has a right to put their hands on her for any reason, especially a man. And the same goes for women hitting men. I’m the first to say I love you all, but a woman has the ability to get under a man’s skin and she knows it; but I would still hope that a man would be able to walk away, restrain her–anything but hit her. I have been swung on, but I didn’t feel threatened. When a man hits a woman, that’s misguided manhood. After all is said and done, what has putting your hand on a woman really proven?

Again, I believe that violence begets violence, but it’s not always a solution. However, I believe if they were a deterrent for alot of these young men who abuse women, and they had to answer to that woman’s father, brother, uncle or a group of men, there would be fewer incidents of domestic violence.

If something happened to Taylor, I’m not saying what I’m bringing to that person’s doorstep, but trust I’m bringing something. I think most people who have had relationships, if they are honest with themselves, have had a volatile situation where your anger gets the better part of you. I was always raised never to put my hands on a woman, but I remember when I was in junior high
school I hit my girlfriend. It wasn’t hard, but that didn’t make it okay either. She looked so frightened and I realized that it didn’t take much for me to instill that fear in her. Right then, I realized the magnitude of what I had done and you have to wonder how could something like that have manifested later on in life? Maybe we have used the Rihanna and Chris Brown situation as a soapbox, but obviously we haven’t done enough yelling about this issue. I’d like to encourage domestic violence victims to speak up first and foremost, even when you’re afraid and even if it’s only happened once and then to the community I say: we can’t keep turning a blind eye to this issue, it has to stop.

Ed Gordon is the host of “Our World” and the founder of Daddys Promise (