It's been argued that by posting the puffy-faced, strikingly painful image, TMZ and others embarrassed and stigmatized the pop star. I don't underestimate how difficult this must be for a 21-year-old woman. But I think the media have paid almost no attention to another pressing threat: that domestic violence will be hidden away and suffered silently by victims, alone.The truth is that victims of domestic violence are experiencing something that is anything but private. The physical wounds they suffer are often visible and they must go through their everyday lives lying about how they obtained the injuries. We use the veil of privacy to avoid talking about the issue. It is often painful for victims of domestic violence to talk about their injuries, but it is also painful to be in a situation that comes to physical blows. As we've seen people have been all too willing to excuse Chris Brown because he is young, or suggest it might have been Rihanna's fault, even suggesting that she "deserved it."
"Actually, it is not embarrassing for Rihanna. It is, however, shameful for the perpetrator," wrote Wendy Murphy, a onetime Massachusetts prosecutor, in a column supporting publication of the photo. "And it isn't a violation of anyone's 'privacy' because crime is not a 'private' matter."
Let me be clear about one thing. No one ever "deserves" to be hit by his or her partner. By ignoring or hiding evidence that this is happening, we're allowing the problem to persist.