Yesterday, the internet was abuzz and a-head-shake with news that several fans of Chris Brown expressed their adoration of the star by Tweeting that they'd let the convicted domestic abuser hit them in the face. Some concerned people even took it upon themselves to teach those female internet users a lesson about joking about domestic violence— by threatening to beat and even rape them. One of the now-infamous Tweeters told me her side of the story.
On Sunday night, Twitter user sarahleighlove wrote "I'd let Chris Brown beat me up anytime ;) #womanbeater." When Buzzfeed featured the Tweet in a post entitled "25 Extremely Upsetting Reactions to Chris Brown at the Grammys," her feed exploded.
Some of the responses were a simple "You're an idiot" type tweets. Others offered an earnest critique of joking about domestic violence, telling her that jokes about beating women aren't funny. Still others couldn't help but respond by complimenting her boobs (because it's the internet, and boobs are the official currency of the internet). But others— a disturbing number of others— threatened her with violent and sexual assault.
It should go without saying that advocating against domestic violence by threatening someone with plain ol' regular violence is a pretty useless practice.
But the practice is alive and well on the internet. Since the Buzzfeed post, at least four of the users featured as requesting a Chris Brown beating have either made their accounts private or changed their usernames. It's hard to imagine that the violent threats directed toward sarahleighloves weren't also directed toward other users.
Oddly (or perhaps sad/predictably), sarahleighlove was herself a part of a household affected by domestic violence as a child. "If I took eveything personally when I saw people joke about certain things that have effected me in my life I'd be a very bitter person [sic]," she wrote. Joking about a serious topic that's affected one's life does have a certain "laugh so you don't cry" quality to it.
She says now that she regrets making the joke on Twitter, as she had only signed up for her account a few days prior and it didn't occur to her how public it was. She also said that while at the time she thought she was making a gallows-humor style joke about her physical attraction to Chris Brown, she understands now that it was in bad taste.
"I in no way condone what he did. I am not a fan of Chris Brown's music nor do I follow his career in any way but I do happen to appreciate his face," she says.