Bleats

Eminem’s Awful Lyrics About Rihanna Never Should’ve Seen The Light Of Day

Nobody should be taking Chris Brown's side.

In the most unsettling news of the day, some pretty horrible Eminem lyrics have allegedly been leaked, making it look a lot like he’s on Chris Brown’s side when it comes to the infamous domestic violence case Brown had against Rihanna. As you can imagine, he’s copping some well deserved heat.

Back in 2009, Rihanna was hospitalised with really serious injuries to her face and arms, and Chris Brown turned himself in to the police shortly afterwards.

In a clip of the unreleased verse from a track called Things Get Worse, Eminem can be heard rapping the line:

“Of course I side with Chris Brown, I’d beat a b**ch down too if she gave my dick an itch now.”

Things Get Worse was Eminem’s collaboration with B.o.B., and was released on mixtapes for both artists – B.o.B’s E.P.I.C. (Every Play is Crucial) and Eminem’s Straight from the Lab Part 2

The lyrics are awful and distasteful enough when we’re discovering them now, but they were actually recorded years ago. Things Get Worse was released in 2011, but it’s being said that the original recording of the verse could have been recorded for Eminem’s Relapse album in 2009 – the same year that the domestic violence incident happened.

So best case scenario, it was recorded two years after the fact, and worst case scenario it was recorded in the same damn year.

The. Same. Year.

Sure, Eminem is known for being an edgelord with his lyrics, but there has to be a line to cross somewhere. He’s been writing incredibly violent lines for as long as he’s been making music, he wrote an entire song about murdering his ex-wife and throwing her in the back of his car, and was even investigated by the secret service earlier this year for rapping about killing Ivanka Trump.

Who knows what other garbage lines have been recorded over the last 20 years of Eminem’s career, but in the age of the internet it’s a pretty safe bet that they’ll come to the surface eventually.

The Sentencing Of Aiia Maasarwe's Killer Should Signify A Shift In Our Blame

It should have never happened.

On January 16th this year, Aiia Maasarwe’s body was found in a Melbourne street. She had been beaten with a metal pole, sexually assaulted, set on fire, and left for dead. She had just gotten off the tram, and was calling her sister when she was attacked. She was only 21.

A billboard along the street leading to the mosque in Aiia Maarsawe’s home town in Israel.
Credit: AAP Image/Tessa Fox

Yesterday, the man who murdered her, Codey Herrmann, was sentenced to 36 years in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 2049 after serving 30 years of that sentence. He’ll be 51 years old by then.

We’ve heard this story time and time again. As of this morning, 58 Australian women have been murdered since the beginning of 2019. Aiia was the first victim  of violence for the year, but sadly she was definitely not the last. 

People gather for a vigil for Aiia Maasarwe on the steps of Parliament House, Melbourne.
Credit: AAP Image/Stefan Postles

As well as those 58 women, 20 children across the country have been killed too. The youngest was a Victorian child who was only three months old. 

Standing outside court, Aiia’s dad Saeed Maasarwe told reporters that “our compass is not revenge. We think all the time, our mind, our compass is positive, is not negative”. 

“This is not our compass, this is not our focus, but to care for the society, for the people, for the ladies [to be able to] go out and go back home,” he said.

Saeed Maasarwe, the father of murdered exchange student, Aiia Maasarwe.
Credit: AAP Image/James Ross

He also said that he hoped their experience made authorities think more about preventing crimes rather than responding to them after they’ve already happened. 

The attack on Aiia was a crime of opportunity that never should have happened. It’s an important point about prevention, but we have so many organisations working to prevent situations like this that it’s sometimes easy to forget that they shouldn’t be the ones bearing any responsibility. Front line services do their absolute best with what they’re given, but they can’t hold any blame when tragedies like this happen.

People gather for a vigil for Aiia Maasarwe on the steps of Parliament House, Melbourne.
Credit: AAP Image/Stefan Postles

We’re hearing more now about what the court was told about Herrmann’s life. He had apparently lead a life of “extreme physical and emotional depravation“, and had diagnoses for drug-induced psychosis and severe personality disorder. The judge described his life before the murder as full of “profound chaos and despair”. 

Codey Herrmann arrives at the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne.
Credit: AAP Image/James Ross

Herrmann’s background was taken into consideration when he was sentenced, but it’s important that we don’t start speaking about these aspects of his life as if they’re an excuse. A lot of people have managed to get through horrible circumstances in their life without murdering a random woman walking home at night. 

People leave floral tributes where the body of Isreali student Aiia Maasarwe was found.
Credit: AAP Image/Ellen Smith

I never quite know how to wrap these articles up. I can’t say that I hope something like this never happens again, because we all know it’s just a matter of time. I can’t try and find a silver lining amongst it all, because everything involved in these cases are just a horrible tragedy. I can’t tell you to stay safe, because I shouldn’t have to tell anybody that. 

I think I’ll just say the same thing I said when the news of Aiias death first broke: Vale, Aiia Maasarwe. You deserved better.

How And Where We Talk About Domestic Violence Has A Huge Impact On All Of Us

Words really, really matter.

This week, a group of doctors and other health professionals – collectively called Doctors Against Violence Towards Women –  came forward with their story that they’d been campaigning for the establishment of Australia’s first domestic violence trauma centre.

The trauma centre would be built in New South Wales, and offer ongoing care for victims of domestic violence. It’s an important step, because while frontline services do amazing work with the funding and resources they have, long-term support is not as easily available.

As I was reading about this centre, one word stuck out to me: trauma. Of course surviving domestic violence is a traumatic experience, but I had the sudden realisation that I’d never really heard it described as such.

Karen Williams, a psychiatrist with Doctors Against Violence Towards Women, told the ABC that she “saw 13 women last week and none of them had been referred to me with trauma.

“They had been referred to me with anxiety or depression, but all 13 of them had histories of abuse.”  

The effects of surviving an abusive relationship or growing up in a violent household are deep and lifelong – that’s a well documented fact. So why aren’t we giving the experience the label it deserves?

The way we speak about domestic violence is important. It might seem trivial, but language is powerful, and has a real impact.

In 2015, a report was released that showed lawyers had been using language that minimised the role of domestic violence perpetrators, and even sometimes tipped into victim blaming. Cases where a man had a long history of abusing a woman were described as ‘volatile’ or ‘stormy’ relationships.

A man who had been convicted of stalking was described to the court as “making a nuisance of himself”, and another court was told that a man who SET HIS GIRLFRIEND ON FIRE did it out of simple “jealous anger”.

Imagine, just for a moment, what that would do to your ability to function in the world. Tell me that isn’t the definition of traumatic.

We need to remember this when we’re having these conversations. We need to start saying things like ‘he chose to abuse her’ and stop saying ‘she provoked him’. Start asking ‘why does he beat her?’ instead of ‘why does she stay?’. Start saying ‘one woman a week is murdered’ instead of ‘one woman a week dies’ when talking about deaths linked to violence.

To do otherwise takes the onus off the perpetrator. And please, for the love of God, stop saying ‘real men don’t hit women’.

It’s not just how we have these conversations that should change either, it’s where we should be having them.

Until very recently women only spoke about these issues among themselves, quietly, and then just continued on with their lives – it’s only been in the last few decades that conversations about domestic abuse have made their way into the public arena.

It needs to go further than just women, though: we need discussions around domestic violence to extend into men’s spaces. Men’s Sheds, the change rooms after a footy match, barber shops – these are the places that we need to see change from the ground up.

“Locker room talk” – the shorthand for the things men say when there are no women around – needs to be redefined. That Trump-esque “grab them by the pussy” crap just isn’t going to fly any more.

If we’re going to tackle domestic violence statistics in this country, we need to start by having the right conversations, and we need to be giving those conversations the language and impact that they deserve.

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