Domestic Violence, the New Cool?

As Liberians were still digesting the sudden deportation of one of Liberia’s finest trap-co rappers, commonly known as Bucky Raw, I received messages from one of my good guy friends. He was disturbed by Liberian women’s reaction to the rapper’s deportation and his text read:

I find it funny how y’all, the same girl power, women rights, and all that gender bullshit campaigners, are the same ones cheering Bucky Raw. Last I remembered, he beat the shit out of his baby mother. You all are hypocrites. It’s sickening that women applaud this guy when he is just a criminal.”

He concluded by saying it’s useless to support any form of gender equality initiatives because there is a clear cognitive dissonance between Liberian women actions and their cries for equality. He says we act like toothless dogs where we bark and demand gender equality but do not follow suit with the bite when it’s time to prove our loyalty and demand proper justice.

My friend’s text messages placed me in a defensive mood. Why was he attacking me that early in the morning anyway? Later, after my brain had properly awakened and I had time to rethink instances prior to Bucky Raw’s deportation, I realized that I too had similar reactions to the rapper’s deportation news. I sympathized with the fact that he was thrown in jail because I was worried about his career. But what brought up the need for empathy in this case?

I am pro-woman and every second of every day, with every breath in my body, I stand and advocate for women’s rights. I write about domestic violence issues because I too grew up in an abusive home where my dad brutally battered my mother. I watched that same form of abuse in my sister’s relationships where her boyfriends would beat her up and leave her naked for the community to watch. So, before I jump into what many may call the crucifixion of Bucky Raw’s choices, let me step into the shoes of any woman who empathizes with Bucky Raw’s deportation.

I understand that Bucky Raw’s fans are concerned about his career, as deportation is no joke for a rising celebrity. Moreover, deportation poses setbacks to his flourishing career as a rapper. Who survives the music industry these days without access to America? Local Liberian artists relentlessly seek American visas for tours and opportunities to boost their pockets and advance their careers. Even Justin Bieber had to immigrate to America to bolster his career, so we know what this means for a Liberian musician.

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However, deeply rooted in all of these sad events is the fact Bucky Raw deserves absolutely no sympathy for abusing his daughter’s mother. Domestic violence is a criminal offense and it should not be taken lightly simply because the perpetrator is a celebrity. People should not pass off domestic violence as a ‘mistake’ in order to avoid conversations surrounding the nature of the rapper’s choice to abuse.

Sadly, many Liberian women rained supportive messages on Bucky Raw when he first got arrested. Despite his vivid shortcoming, they chose to celebrate Bucky. Why? Should he get impunity simply because he is a celebrity? We saw countless Facebook posts requesting impunity for him as the hashtag #FreeBuckyRaw trended.

 

Some women extended their support by using Bucky Raw’s pictures as their Facebook profile pictures to send a message across that they still support him regardless of the fact that he domestically abused someone. As far as I know, nobody publicly showed empathy for the victim or even consoled her with thoughts of their child and how this may affect the baby’s immediate future.

I was disgusted that many women indulged in victim blaming and shaming as they carried out sting investigations to defend Bucky Raw’s violence. Screenshots were posted online to prove that the victim, Dee Raw, was cheating on Bucky Raw which inevitably supports Bucky Raw actions. In what world is there any justification for battering a woman? Now, this is just one of many cases where a Liberian man beats on his wife or partner and gets away with it.

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Given the history of terrors that Liberian women have endured, one would expect that all women’s reaction to that situation would have been “wtf.” A shocking response to Bucky Raw’s actions was highly anticipated because recently, local Liberian female advocates have been persistently advocating for women’s rights. We have seen women rally up to oppose our government’s heinous attempt to amend the rape law and make rape a bailable offense.

Some of the most horrifying experiences Liberian women endured are still all recent memory. Our mothers and sisters were raped, tortured, and battered by their sons and husbands; pregnant women had their babies torn out of their bellies by men who called themselves freedom fighters and so many more horrors.

Thus, it is hard to understand why even with this history, our culture continuously supports men’s tendencies to hit on their wives and female counterparts. Our culture overlooks men’s habitual infidelity but shuns women if they attempt to escape the horrors of their marriages. It is the culture that a woman has to stay married to a monster of a husband to maintain her respect in her community. She isn’t encouraged to seek justice although he’s violating her human right. After we’ve watched our mothers go through these inhumane treatments when the law was not there to protect them, many Liberian young girls and women are not yet taking active steps to oppose domestic violence.

I cringe every time I see girls in relationships with abusive men making no efforts to leave those relationships. Back then, our mothers did not have some of the options we now have. Until recently, Liberian women did not even have a law that criminalized domestic violence; men would abuse their spouses and the only option our mothers had was family meetings because it always best to “talk it the family way.” *insert sarcastic side eye*.

Now that Bucky’s daughter’s mother had the courage and strength to take the right step and demand justice, we women, who should be our sister’s keepers, shun her for her bravery. We did not take into account Bucky Raw’s abusive behavior not less to talk about the fact that he even violated his probation by hitting on the victim.  So now I wonder, are all our efforts to protest for women’s rights getting blindsided? Don’t our sisters see how wrong this is? Don’t they realize that it is not okay to abuse another person or for a man to lay his hands on a woman? Why equate the repercussions of cheating to being brutally beaten?

Fast forward to Bucky’s first interview since his arrest last year where the rapper apologized to his fans for domestically abusing a female, he mentioned that he has served his time and is very aware of the harms of domestic violence. These remorseful comments led many to assume that he intends to be an advocate against domestic violence, which is not a horrible thing. We can always use more support of domestic violence, right? However, the whole ‘domestic violence advocate’ rhetoric could possibly be a scheme to push more women into giving him a pass. Giving the rapper an easy pass by readily and swiftly ‘forgiving him’ only protects a culture of ‘boys will be boys.’ It is about time that Liberian women take active steps to enforce sternness on issues that oppress us.

Bucky Raw’s case is only highlighted because he is a celebrity. However, how about the many Liberian women who are beaten by their male partners daily? Those women who may not be as lucky as Dee Raw to have their abuser(s) punished by the law? Those women who still do not know that domestic violence is a crime? Those women who unfortunately die as a result of being brutally beaten by someone who claims to love them? How about them?

I believe we need to stand up for them. We need to show support, to those who have the strength to come forth and report the abuse as well as those who don’t. It is proven that a high percentage of women who are domestically abused fear for their lives and that’s why they don’t come forth and report. So, if a woman works through all that fear and reports only to have her own tribe of women justifying her abuse, what’s to encourage any other victim to do the same? Where are these victims to find solace?

To quote the heroic Winnie Mandela:

“The overwhelming majority of women accept patriarchy unquestioningly and even protect it, working out the resultant frustrations not against men but against themselves in their competition for men as sons, lovers, and husbands.”

Authored by Suma Massaley

Featured Picture: ONUCI.Org

13 Comments Add yours

  1. John C L Mayson II says:

    Just think people either pretend not to know the magnitude and resulting circumstances of domestic violence, or they’ve considered it as an acceptable norm for popular figures. Disappointing to say the least

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You stressed an excellent point. As much as people want to empathise with Bucky’s deportation, they have to take into consideration that the primary reason for that was because of his unwholesome violence against a lady. It’s a great thing that people bear the consequence of their actions no matter who they are. Great write-up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is true, I’ve seen or heard about more women getting beatings in Liberia than before

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gwanyan says:

    I was just introduced to this man last year and thought he was extremely talented and was surprised to learn he was in jail. I thought what could he have done to come lamb himself in jail? I didn’t know this whole backstory. It’s despicable and I hope they really deal with him when he gets back home.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Zuleka World says:

    I have two issues with the Bucky Raw situation. This article addressed one; Domestic Violence is no joke and the other is in reference to coming back to Liberia as a death sentence. I read post on social media where people expressed their dissatisfaction and encouraged the young man to keep his head up. I was surprise at our Liberian people feeling sorry for a man that paid his price for his deviant behavior. People were sad he was coming home as if being in Liberia was part of the punishment. Liberia is not hell. We are not where we need to be, but we are certainly not where we used to be. If Liberians abroad do not stop acting like coming home is a death sentence, when will we rebuild this place?
    As for Domestic Violence, we need more forum like this to address these issues. What happened to Bucky was unfortunate, but he is not the victim here. I wish there were more post about the mother of his child and other countless women.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. afriqhealthy says:

    As a fan of Bucky, nobody is denying the fact that he is a great rapper and one of Liberia best artists. However, this shouldn’t excuse his behavior.
    Everyone should be held accountable for their actions. I’ve heard this phrase, “give the man a second chance”, since Bucky got out and was deported. Now no one is saying he doesn’t deserve a second chance, but second chances don’t mean glorifying people for their mistakes., because when you do, you’re also glorifying THESE MISTAKES!
    What Bucky did was wrong, point blank! There is no excuse for his actions! We his fans need to support his music from a far for now and allow him to prove himself..some of you were talking about #freebucky while he was serving his time..now what does that means? Is he above the law? Does he not deserve to pay for his crime? Was the crime not enough to be punish for?
    Liberians need to stop picking and choosing when to stand up for what is right. Right is right and wrong is wrong! I’m sick and tired of the entitlements..nobody, I repeat no body is above the law….
    I say Bucky should use this time to tell these so-called fans to sympathize with the victim (his GF) more and advocate for domestic violence instead of wasting all these energy.

    Same thing happened to Chris Brown, none of his fan (me included) thought his actions were okay, and we damn sure didn’t glorify him. He almost lost his career. He had to prove himself for years..which up till this day, he’s still doing after many years.
    I DON’T CARE ABOUT BUCKY PAST BUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS NO JOKE! PEOPLE ARE DYING EVERYDAY FROM IT.

    Like

  7. afriqhealthy says:

    As a fan of Bucky, nobody is denying the fact that he is a great rapper and one of Liberia best artists. However, this shouldn’t excuse his behavior.
    Everyone should be held accountable for their actions. I’ve heard this phrase, “give the man a second chance”, since Bucky got out and was deported. Now no one is saying he doesn’t deserve a second chance, but second chances don’t mean glorifying people for their mistakes., because when you do, you’re also glorifying THESE MISTAKES!
    What Bucky did was wrong, point blank! There is no excuse for his actions! We his fans need to support his music from a far for now and allow him to prove himself..some of you were talking about #freebucky while he was serving his time..now what does that means? Is he above the law? Does he not deserve to pay for his crime? Was the crime not enough to be punish for?
    Liberians need to stop picking and choosing when to stand up for what is right. Right is right and wrong is wrong! I’m sick and tired of the entitlements..nobody, I repeat no body is above the law….
    I say Bucky should use this time to tell these so-called fans to sympathize with the victim (his GF) more and advocate for domestic violence instead of wasting all these energy.

    Same thing happened to Chris Brown, none of his fan (me included) thought his actions were okay, and we damn sure didn’t glorify him. He almost lost his career. He had to prove himself for years..which up till this day, he’s still doing after many years.
    I DON’T CARE ABOUT BUCKY PAST BUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS NO JOKE! PEOPLE ARE DYING EVERYDAY FROM IT.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jaymu says:

    If I wasn’t mentioned in this article or used as an example or reference, I would have just read and shut up. Since I was, let me do a little talking.
    First of all, nobody gonna shame me or hurt my feelings because I support Bucky career. Before Bucky went to jail I was a supporter/fan, I prayed for him while he was there. He’s out, I still remain a huge fan of his music/career.

    I will make this clear; because I’m a fan of Bucky doesn’t means I support domestic violence in any shape or form or I’m in support of what he did to his girlfriend. There is never an excuse for a man hitting a woman. Not one. Any man that will hit or beat on a woman should be punish. Bucky messed up and was punished. His punishment was even double(jail and deportation). There’re lots of men out here that are involved into domestic violence and are not being punished for it, they’re the ones you and your friend(the one who texted you, according to your article) should go after, not the ones that have already been punished for what they did.

    Has anyone ever given you a second chance?Do you give second chances? Well, I believe in second chances. I believe that every human being deserves a second chance because human are not perfect. Anyone that will come here and say they’ve never made a mistake is full of ish. Point Black PERIOD!!!
    Let me give you a case study for my punishment and forgiveness philosophy; The fact that Charles Taylor has serve all those years in jail as a punishment for the war/killings, I forgive him and holds nothing against him because he is paying for what he did and when he comes out, I can loudly shout and tell anyone he deserves a second chance in the society. But the fact that up till now, Prince Johnson has not been punished for his crimes, I still hold everything he did in the past against him; till those that he murder can get justice.
    *I believe in justice and Dee(Bucky girlfriend) got justice and I also believe that ex-inmates should be treated justly*

    To conclude, to these woman groups that are after Bucky, if someone commits a crime, gets a sentence, and serves their time, there is no reason to continue punishing that person after they leave prison. Plus, the fact that the girlfriend still loves her boyfriend and still feels a sense of loyalty toward him, is easily persuaded that he is indeed a good guy who just made a mistake.

    #StopViolenceAgainstWomen
    #BuckyDeservesASecondChance

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Rose Abla ABentsi Fagans says:

    I agree wholeheartedly that domestic violence is wrong and should be punishable as the law demands.
    What I do see a bit of an issue with is the fact that you wrote about how the society accepts men’s habitual infidelity but discourages similar behavior in women.
    This shows that if the society is willing to accept such a lifestyle from men, they should be willing to accept the same from women – which is wrong. That lifestyle is wrong whether it’s being lived by a man or a woman. But as I said earlier, I don’t support the rapper’s actions. That still didn’t warrant a beating.
    What I suggest would be best is that when you address the issue and say, ‘society accepts such wrong behavior from men as a habit but disregard women who does the same’, you should continue to explain how it’s wrong for both sexes.
    This brings the readers’ mind to a conclusion on the issue instead of leaving it open ended. Because leaving it open ended can lead a person to interpreting it to suit their worldview. To a lady already living a life of adultery, it might be a license that women can also do what men do regardless. But I don’t think that was part of the message you had in mind when writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Princess Kollie says:

    Why are your trying to break this man career so bad. Your acting like to say domestic violent is not a normal thing in Liberia smdh everyday a mother is beaten by her husband or boyfriend in Liberia and nothing come out of it and I damn well don’t see your writing article on it but because it’s bucky Raw so that’s when your know the meaning of domestic violence. Liberian people your will never change and I’m disgusted by your that your will do whatever your can to bring down your own kind, sometimes I am ashamed to be Liberian. When Chris brown beat Rihanna in America here, your forgive him and was still buying his music and listening to it but because it’s your own kind that’s when your know the law. This article is trash so I didn’t waste my time to finish reading it and Bucky Raw was not deported because of domestic violence and he didn’t massively beat up his child mother like your are putting it. This is America whenever police show up to a situation that involve a man and woman fussing and engaging in argument the man will be taken away or asked to leave the home. I am so annoyed of your trying to break down your own kind and it’s sad. Buck Raw was on his final strike with the law and was supposed to stay out of any trouble during his prohibition period but unfortunately things went wrong between he and his daughter mother just how every couples have their issues in their relationship Bucky and his partner had theirs too. Being that he’s on prohibition and police came they had to take him and that goes for everyone that’s on prohibition in America. If you on prohibition and police arrived at the scene and you part of the incident that’s a automatic violation of prohibition. Your need to leave this young man alone he’s not the first to get caught up in this situation and damn well isn’t the last. He don’t have record or history of domestic violence, everyone have temper and act on it when they are upset. He have apologized to his fans, family and mother of his daughter for allowing his anger to take control. He is not perfect, nobody is we all have made stupid mistake in our lives especially when we are angry so instead of trying to break this man or his career, learn to forgive and accept his apologies. You that wrote this article I know you not perfect and have got yourself into a mess due to your temper taking control. Only reason you putting light on domestic violence is because your intention is to kill this man career and it’s sad, cause everyday our women in Liberia are dying and suffering from domestic violence and you or the government never put light on it but because it’s a rising star that’s when you know the effect of it. #BuckyRaw #Trapco #Liberia

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Anonymous says:

    Go best friend! That’s my best friend!
    I’m so proud of this woman. The brightest! I love you!

    Now, I really was drained out of all energy I had left relative to this Bucky Raw case, as I promised myself to let everybody have their say. But, I’m a Bucky Raw fan, a Liberian Entertainment promoter, and, this was written by my best friend. Had to make it all add up. Which is why if I let this go by without making some additions or subtractions, I’d be letting everybody else who has a blog to write about this, drag by the day, an entire industry down the hill in the blink of an eye over the wrong reason.

    Before joining the army of women that are going to be shortlisted as prior so-called anti domestic violence or women rights advocates, I’d like to clear that that friend of yours who claimed Bucky Raw beat his girlfriend black and blue is a blatant liar! A cheap gossip, and a bitter man over nothing for assuming without inquiring. As a matter of fact, before quoting him, for a very reliable piece, you should have reached out to Bucky or his girlfriend, to balance the story. Something I did, for which I know your friend is either bitter about a domestic violence case from a previous occurrence just as you are, or, he’s trying to stay in the fries(in my petty nation’s voice).

    Suma, first killer about this is the fact that the entire piece isn’t fair to Bucky. From the cover picture that tells a different story than Bucky’s, to your piece having been written per mere assumptions. I’d love to be attentioned to the exact line if I didn’t see it. But, why doesn’t this lay much light on the fact that Bucky isn’t any of the other abusers referenced in this piece? Your sister’s boyfriends from back then are the true reason I think you think Bucky still needs to be bombarded as if he did not receive due punishment over his domestic violence case. Mentioned how people shouldn’t ever walk with impunity for their crimes? Your sister’s boyfriends did, I assume, but Bucky didn’t! And that could be why you still want to paint him black. It’s clear you’re still angry(disappointed).

    Don’t get me wrong, let’s all keep reminding him and using his situation to remind other men and women that domestic violence is wrong in every form. Yet, let’s point out the right instances. Bucky’s case isn’t one to use in the bad way. Use it! Tell them how his case almost shattered his career even though Bucky got punished. Tell them it’s wrong because even after his time served, he’s still suffering backlashes from people like you as if he walked with impunity. Tell this to them as few of many reasons why domestic violence is wrong. It snatches your previous adorable personality, wiping you off your respect, and, crowning you with public ridicules and misconceptions. Tell them domestic violence is simply wrong because it’s wrong. But don’t tell them not to support other people because they abided the laws, and that supporting them comes across as glorification.

    To the point, Bucky isn’t being hailed. Bucky is being acknowledged because we cannot put him in the same box as people who’ve walked with impunity, neither, people who are still closet abusers to their spouses, families, and friends. He isn’t them. Those people never openly agreed to being abusers and pay the prices for what they’ve done. Bucky did!
    Give him a chance to make this right by leaving him to be the free man that he is now. Why? He paid for his sins.

    You are disappointed in people who think he deserves a second chance and have labeled us selfish? That’s corny! It’s not like people like you are out here dragging other violators as you are doing with Bucky. I remember some guy from the past months who beat up his spouse till she was hospitalized with oxygens to assist her breathing process. Liberians, that poor woman’s only real advocator on this social media was Miss Taylor. Some of us posted about it for barely an hour and were done. Where were all of us who have opposite views about domestic violence then?
    Sis, trust me, if Bucky was out here pussyfooting without the past eight months of suffering he had to endure, I’d be your assistant in this campaign. Making sure he’s stripped off of the current public empathy he’s receiving. But he served his time. Longer than he even would have, had it been here in Liberia.

    Don’t exalt him! Don’t rain him praises! Just acknowledge that several other men in his shoes would’ve been out here still, denying that they didn’t abuse their girlfriends to save a face and career. And few people would’ve beloved them. Aha! IMPUNITY!!!
    Bucky didn’t do that. And that’s why he needs to be left out of pieces like these to be able to put his life back together, if referencing him isn’t for advocacy purposes.

    This, however, is an amazing piece my love! Still very proud of you.

    Like

  12. In her talk with Tory Burch yesterday at the Embrace Ambition Summit, Yara Shahidi spoke of Personal bias – which is the first thing that resonates with me in this piece.
    The need to stay aware of your personal bias; those forged by natural societal stereotypes and cultures.

    It is a continuous process that requires us to remain intentional; in our words and actions as we (advocates), navigate the quotidian responsibilities bestowed upon us by our convictions.

    Responsibilities that include advocating against domestic violence that is parallel realities for domestic violence victims, and tests – challenging, the usage of our agencies for the interests of vulnerable men and women.

    Why are people sympathizing with Bucky Raw? The same reason men like Harvey Winston were enabled for years, by bystanders and victims, due to a global system, created to protect our abusers.

    We see people, even victims, justifying why they cannot report cases of their abuse. Mostly ranking from higher consideration for the damage that speaking-out could cause the abuser or the fear of abusers reactions – For fear of further aggravating the problem.

    The fortunate plot in this non-fictional disgust of a story is that the victim was opportune to receive the support of a system that is functional – one that is intolerant of such barbaric practices.

    Imagine the run-down of a domestic violence case in Liberia where gender-based violence is but a culture – romanticized and under-regulated, where people are taught that ‘men can only prove their love for you if they beat on you.’
    Counter-progressive and exasperating as shit.

    Now, I am deliberately avoiding any reference to the law because that is a more in-depth conversation for another day. You know? Failed systems and shit.

    (Watch Caroline Bowah Brown discuss the dysfunction of Liberia’s justice system toward gender violence issues *link below.)

    Instead, let’s tap into our empathy. ‘Do unto others as you will have them do to you.’
    But then again, half these Pro-Bucky Raw supporters would no doubt not mind the violence and abuse because sadly, that is the culture ingrained in our people.
    For the few, who feel and think otherwise, it is our responsibility to educate as many of our sisters and brothers we can. As well as remaining intentional and cognisant of our personal bias which is a product of our environment – a very natural reaction (watch Dr. Valerie Greenway speech from the Embrace Ambition summit 2018 *link below). Fight your personal bias to fight the system and protect/support the real victims.

    *http://www.toryburchfoundation.org/embraceambition/summit/
    *https://web.facebook.com/talkaymedia/videos/vl.147489449265085/326210331221275/?type=1

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Suma, This is such a difficult subject, but you did a great job and presented a sensible approach. No one should get a pass for domestic abuse – not in Liberia or anywhere else in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

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