03/21/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Chris Brown & Rihanna: A Wake-Up Call?

As I was reading the latest Chris Brown-Rhianna report on the ABC website today, I realized that there are always red flags in a relationship leading up to this kind of action. But with abusive behavior, whether emotional or physical, red flags are often either ignored or excused. People stay in this type of relationship for various reasons, none of them good. They may feel as though they are getting something out of it such as sex, power or control, or perhaps they don't want to be seen as a failure.

It seems, from what I have read, that these two have not had a healthy relationship for quite some time, if ever. This reminds me of my childhood. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, rage and fear, and was in a relationship that had all the symptoms of an addiction, yet I found a way to justify that relationship to my friends, family...and myself.

Staying with a man that was emotionally abusive and seemed to have an internal speed dial that connected him directly to my crazy button was my low self-esteem at it's lowest. I allowed him to suck nearly every ounce of light and joy out of me. After two years of a slow decent into the darkest relationship I have ever had, I gathered what self-respect and personal items I had left and drove off in a U-Haul. That was 11 years ago. I never looked back and have not entered into an abusive relationship since. Healing the wounds from my childhood has been a fantastic journey leading to self-discovery. I hope all survivors of domestic violence will embrace this path.

One of the things that gets me about the recent Chris Brown and Rhianna incident is that it actually has taken this type of public situation to get people talking about domestic violence. I have also heard comments about the negative lyrics in rap and hip-hop music and the themes of shows, which young adults are watching.

Here is an example: The Grammys and other awards shows need to wake up and smell the lack of judgment, before letting Lil Wayne, Snoop and others get on stage with gang colors waving out of their back pockets. Radio stations should also stop playing lyrics like "I will put your lights out if you keep running your mouth," when the so-called artist is talking about a woman.

What if radio and television finally take responsibility for what they are actually supporting and take these kinds of lyrics and actions off of their shows and play lists? What if bandanas hanging out of back pockets, or any other gang related clothing, were a deal breaker? Lyrics that degrade women and promote breaker! Lyrics that glorify being a thug/gangster, who participates in activities such as violent crime and breaker!

It would be nice to see the power players stop turning a blind eye from such toxic content for the sake of their bank accounts. Instead, it would be great if those in such positions would begin to support organizations that reach out to encourage, inspire and educate the masses about the very real issues related to domestic violence.

As for Chris and Rihanna...hopefully this is a wake-up call for them both to get the help they need to stay out of any relationship that is this unhealthy. In the future, I hope they both discover their own personal power and stop ignoring and excusing the red-flags.