SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 14, 2009

Teens split on blame in assault case

BEVERLY — A survey of teenagers in Boston showed nearly half blamed pop singer Rihanna for the alleged assault she suffered at the hands of boyfriend Chris Brown while the two singers drove around Los Angeles last month.

Teens interviewed yesterday outside Beverly High agreed dating violence is wrong, but when it came to assigning blame, the issue wasn't so clear-cut.

While most local teens saw Rihanna as the victim, some could not believe Brown, a popular 19-year-old singer, could do such a thing. Others could not believe Rihanna has taken Brown back. Still others blamed Rihanna, the apparent victim in this case.

"I just believe everyone should respect other people and they shouldn't put hands on anyone else," sophomore Brianna Ward said. "If the allegations are true, then he should get in trouble for what he did, it wasn't right."

A fellow student had a hard time blaming Brown.

"I don't think Chris Brown did it," Jennifer Zamot said. "He doesn't seem like a violent person, and if he was a violent person, he would have done something before." She added, "I don't think it was right if he did do it."

Brown was arrested Feb. 8 in Los Angeles after a fight with Rihanna that stemmed from a text message he received, according to Associated Press reports. A detective's affidavit alleges he pushed her head against the window of the car they were driving in, punched her, hit her and bit her.

A Boston Public Health Commission survey of 200 teenagers conducted last month and released Thursday found:

44 percent said fighting was a normal part of a relationship.

51 percent blamed Brown.

46 percent said Rihanna was responsible.

52 percent said both were to blame.

"It wasn't Rihanna's fault," Beverly High junior Jamie Dooling-Kappotis said. "I think it was stupid she went back to him."

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