Chris Brown and Rihanna's situation isn't just a center of media attention. Highly influential talk show hosts — including Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil and Tyra Banks — have dedicated episodes of their shows to address the ugly issue of domestic violence.
"Ever since I heard the details of Chris Brown's alleged attack on his girlfriend Rihanna, I've wanted to do this show because the message this story sends to teen girls and boys is disturbing, and it is also dangerous," Oprah said on Thursday's show, appearing alongside talk show host Tyra Banks. "We need to evolve from this moment in their life, and not just be voyeurs in their life and talking about what they should and shouldn't do. We should use this as a moment to allow our society to begin to grow. This show is dedicated to all the Rihannas of the world and to any young men who ever think about hurting a young woman."
Banks, whose Thursday show also told teen abuse victims' stories, explained to Oprah and the audience that she had been emotionally abused in a past relationship. "He never hit me... but there were blows to my spirit, blows to my emotional well-being."
The two discussed the topic with teens from around the country via satellite, and addressed the stance some people are taking in that Chris Brown was defending himself. "If a girl hits a boy...he has the right to stop her, but it is against the law to go further and use excessive force," said Banks. "According to that police report, you would agree that is the case," Winfrey added.
Dr. Phil also devoted his show's hour to domestic abuse and agreed that self-defense is not a viable excuse. "If you're getting beat up by a woman, run away, call the police, get something between you and her. But you do not attack a woman. You just don't do it," said Dr. Phil. "Recently Oprah chimed in with a message to Rihanna that love doesn't hurt. That if a man hits you once, he will hit you again. I can't tell you how much I agree with that."
Do you agree that self-defense is not an excuse? And are these shows helping "society grow" or is it being exploited?