How does it happen that nearly half the young people who participated in a recent survey blamed pop-superstar Rihanna for being beaten savagely by her boyfriend, hip-hop singer Chris Brown? Let's get the specifics straight, to start with. On February 8, Los Angeles cops responded to 911 calls from homeowners who heard a woman screaming. They found Rihanna -- a glamorous 21-year-old beloved for her sunny smile and her music's bouncy beats -- badly bruised, cut and swollen-faced outside a car where 19-year-old Brown had reportedly punched and choked her. She also had bite marks on her arms. During the assault, which began while Rihanna was a passenger in the car Brown was driving -- and allegedly began after she revealed evidence of his infidelity -- he also reportedly threatened to kill her.
In a survey conducted last month by the Boston Public Health Commission among 200 Boston-area boys and girls aged 12 to 19, 51 percent said Chris Brown was responsible for the incident, 46 percent said Rihanna was responsible and 52 percent said both were to blame, according to the Boston Herald, which adds that 52 percent of the kids said the media was treating Brown unfairly; 44 percent said fighting was a normal part of a relationship; and a "significant" number said "Rihanna was destroying Chris Brown's career." As many girls as boys blamed Rihanna.