Brown’s prison release raises questions about victim shaming, rape culture


Courtesy of Creative Commons

Controversy has followed Brown throughout his entire career.

Courtesy of Karolina Bonilla

Singer-songwriter Chris Brown and two other suspects were arrested on Jan. 21 for charges of potential aggravated sexual assault and illicit substance violations in France. The incident reportedly took place at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Paris. The 24-year-old woman, who’s chosen to remain anonymous, said she met Brown at a Paris nightclub that night.

From Brown’s numerous run-ins with the law since pleading guilty to felony assault against Rihanna Fenty in 2009, stints like this unfortunately are not too surprising to many. Various charges against the entertainer have since shown an overarching theme of violent behavior, mostly concerning cases of throwing objects, hitting and even punching others.

There was an ominous silence in the wake of this case, until a vaguely-titled article on Brown went viral on Twitter resulting in quick conclusions and harmful stances of victim-shaming from various artists and social media personalities, including an Instagram post from rapper 50 cent captioned “This b**** is lying, I believe you Chris good because this ain’t right.”

A leading voice in the masses was American rapper and friend of Brown Joyner Lucas, who commented that the singer didn’t have a need to sexually assault anybody when “he can literally pick like a flower from a garden” regarding women available to him.  

Of course like many others, Joyner does not realize how misinformed and harmful this rhetoric is in a climate that will blithely ignore survivors or victims. Sexual assault and any derivation from that is not concerned with consent or willingness, since it is an abuse of power, fear and control not fame.

After being released from police custody in France, comments surrounding the issue begin to surge. Brown argued his innocence through an Instagram post that has since then been deleted, “FOR MY DAUGHTER AND MY FAMILY THIS IS SO DISRESPECTFUL AND IS AGAINST MY CHARACTER AND MORALS!!!!!”

The post itself was a glance at a project Brown was working on with the clothing brand, Black Pyramid. Following his previous collection of shirts with bold black-letter print that says “This B!tch Lyin” from 2016, Brown came out with a Paris edition. If it wasn’t clear enough, Brown is intentionally taking a jab at survivors and victims of sexual assault by discrediting them and disrespectfully mocking them.

The reality is hard to confront – when the American justice system runs on a constitutional ground of “innocent until proven guilty” and insufficient amounts of evidence are presented or an alleged crime seems unlikely in the eyes of a court or , in this case, if you have friends in higher places, the chances of any real convictions in cases of sexual assault are slim to none.

In this case and many others, individuals chose to focus on the court’s decision of who gets to walk out charge-free without recognizing the statistics that show the system is heavily biased and flawed. This is not to say that false accusations aren’t at a concerningly high number but it is to say that out of 35% of reported cases to authorities, only 2-10% are proven false through investigation.

Chris Brown’s case might have been dismissed leaving him without charges on his back, but it’s still under investigation and he continues to attempt profiting off a conversation that not only perpetuates rape culture, but will give accusers the opportunity to tangibly shame survivors and victims without having to say any words at all.