What Cassie Experienced Being Abused By Diddy Is Not An Anomaly

Sean “Diddy” Combs and Cassie at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018, in New York City. | Source: Neilson Barnard / Getty

It’s a video that is deeply triggering, especially if you or someone you know has experienced intimate partner violence and abuse. I’m referring to leaked footage from CNN appearing to show music mogul and entertainer Sean “Diddy” Combs, viciously assaulting singer and model Casandra “Cassie” Ventura. Released on Friday, the video, and what is depicted therein, has been the source of widespread coverage and public interest. Combs’ public apology three days later further fueled interest in the story.

I can only imagine how profoundly painful this whole ordeal is on Ventura and the people who love her. If it is true that he has abused other people, I am sure this moment is traumatic and overwhelming.

While there is significant coverage and interest in the leaked video, it raises so many reminders for persons attempting to live nonviolently and to leave our relationships and communities better off than where we found them. As I sat processing the video, I came up with six reminders I am taking with me today and every day:

We shouldn’t need video footage to believe victims.

When Ventura filed a lawsuit accusing Combs of rape, sex trafficking and domestic violence last November, I believed her instantly. Few people in their right mind would falsely allege the things that she alleged, and with the level of specificity she conveyed, were the claims untrue. Unfortunately, some online commentators dismissed Ventura or maligned her motives, saying the lawsuit was little more than a cash grab. Some even suggested she should have taken the case to trial, even though trials can be particularly traumatic to survivors. There appeared to be no regard for the compounded trauma a trial would have on any victim of a violent crime. It should be obvious, but how people deal with trauma and pain is personal and no one deserves an explanation. I appreciate that Combs has been incredibly monumental in the hip-hop genre, but celebrity worship has its limits. We should believe victims without requiring video footage.

Hotels must be held accountable if they are complicit in evil.

I cannot wrap my head around how hotel staff could see the video appearing to show Combs beating Ventura and not alert authorities. It’s shocking but not entirely surprising given the power of celebrity, and the vulnerability of the average hotel staff. It’s also believable given the fact that studies show hotels are popular venues for human trafficking. This is because they provide a level of convenience and privacy that predators desire. Persons participating in sex or human trafficking can easily check into hotels without staff having direct physical contact with them. They can also easily get in and out of the establishment, and pay in cash, which makes transactions harder to trace. While money can’t solve everything, hotel staff should be so well compensated that they will not be tempted to accept hush money from anyone. Simultaneously, there must be a cultural shift such that celebrities are not given a pass to do whatever they want. But the bottom line is that there must be greater accountability for hotels proven to look the other way or fail to implement adequate safeguards to protect its patrons; all of them.

There are 24 domestic violence victims per minute in the U.S.

It’s important to note that what happened to Ventura is traumatic and unfortunately, common. The National Domestic Violence Hotline notes that 24 women per minute experience domestic violence. And due to systemic racism, Black women and men experience domestic violence at higher rates than other communities. If we focus on Combs alone, and ignore what’s happening in our families and communities, we will have missed the moment. If we wait for the perfect victim, we will needlessly set others up to suffer.

Domestic violence is broader than physical contact.

Although we saw footage appearing to show Combs violently assaulting Ventura, it’s important to remember that the incident is just one example of what constitutes domestic violence. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence can include physical, sexual, and psychological violence, as well as emotional abuse. It is defined as intentional intimidation and abusive behavior as part of a pattern of power and control used by one intimate partner on another. If you are repulsed by that disturbing video but are abusing people in your own life – maybe emotionally and not physically – you, too, must seek help.

We should never demonize victims or attempt to control how they respond to abuse.

One of the most uninformed things people can do is demonize victims for not leaving or not leaving sooner. It takes an average of 7 attempts before a domestic violence victim leaves the relationship. But every attempt is one step closer to safety, and perhaps we should honor that. And even when a person leaves, they and the people they love, are uniquely vulnerable. Domestic violence victims and their family members are uniquely vulnerable during this stage. Even police answering domestic violence calls are placed in harm’s way. What is more, criticizing victims can leave them feeling further isolated. We cannot do another person’s work nor can we control how and when they respond to their assault.

We need to talk about whether some abusers can be rehabilitated.

If we care about victims and survivors, we need to think about how we train young people to reduce the likelihood that they will abuse others. And once a person has committed domestic violence, they too need help and true rehabilitation. I don’t think we do ourselves or our communities any favors away by throwing people who can be rehabilitated away. If it’s possible to save a fraction of the people who abuse others, we will boost safety in our homes and families.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, or if you have abused someone, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE.

Jennifer R. Farmer is the author of “First and Only: What Black Women Say About Thriving at Work and in Life.”

SEE ALSO:

Keke Palmer’s Abuse Allegations Spotlight How Black Women Are Disproportionately Victims Of Domestic Violence

Jonathan Majors’ Ex-Girlfriends Speak Out, Claim He Abused Them Too


The post What Cassie Experienced Being Abused By Diddy Is Not An Anomaly appeared first on NewsOne.

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