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A few days ago the blogs were on fire with news that rapper Nicki Minaj and an unidentified companion were involved in an altercation that left her with a bloody lip. Immediately, memories of Chris Brown’s assault of Rihanna flashed through my mind, and I thought, not again. 

As the details of the incident unfolded, we learned that after getting into a verbal altercation with a man—who some speculated was Minaj’s longtime companion Safaree Samuels—at a Dallas hotel, Minaj suffered a bloody lip and asked that hotel staff call the authorities. When the story first broke, many speculated she was punched in the mouth, but Minaj took to her Twitter page to dispel the rumor.

She tweeted:

“The fact that u believe a man either slapped or punched me in the face & didn’t leave on a stretcher w/his balls hangin off? #getaF%cknLife”

The details of the incident have recently been released. According to reports, Minaj and Samuels got into an argument at the hotel’s pool. After returning to their room, the argument continued and Samuels decided to leave, taking a suitcase that apparently belonged to Minaj, but contained his belongings.

The Dallas Observer goes onto explain:

“When Minaj protested, Chevalier Samuels picked up the suitcase and “shoved it across [Minaj’s] chin and lower lip.” Chevalier Samuels then left the scene and did not return. At that point, a hotel employee called the police and fire department at Minaj’s request, and, upon their arrival, Minaj was treated for bleeding on the inside of her lower lip.”

Although Samuels has reportedly not been speaking to the police, he did take to Facebook to share his thoughts.

Samuels posted:

“‎4the record I would never lay a hand on ANY woman, I have all sisters and No brothers And that’s the last I’ll say about that!!! God bless”

If the reports are true, Samuels did not “lay a hand” on Minaj, but perhaps a suitcase?

Without taking sides in this matter—because I wasn’t there—this incident made me wonder about how we define relationship/domestic violence.

While it’s easy for us to all agree that a man punching, kicking, choking, or hitting a woman is never acceptable, I’ve seem some men (and women) rationalize “shaking the shit” out of a woman or slapping a man to get or keep them in line.

What makes one thing acceptable, but not the other?

With so many woman falling victim to relationship violence, I think we cannot ignore the small things—the little push, the way he squeezes your arm when you say something he doesn’t like, the constant yelling. Because each of these seemingly harmless, and to some, “normal” things can easily grow into full-blown abuse.

 

So where should we draw the line, Clutchettes and Gents? When does physically acting out in a relationship become abuse?

Let’s talk about it!

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  • @SugarKovalczyk

    I know you didn’t ask specifically about Nicki Minaj’s incident but the article title implies a judgement. When did she say a shove doesn’t count anyway?

    Regarding Minaj I agree with Whilome; if you tussle over an item and you’re accidentally injured that’s not abuse.

    Me personally I don’t allow a man I’m in a relationship with to cuss when speaking to me. I don’t accept him raising his voice to me. My friends think this is to strict but this is what I need. If he can’t live with this we aren’t compatible.

    Aside from prosecutable actions each individual decides what’s abuse.

  • QueenofNewcastle

    Certainly the infamous mush to the head that I have often seen delivered by women. Also what about child abuse? It is really among the worse forms of abuse and sees black children as a significant demographic. Many black children happen to be protective custody as wards of the state because of the abuse/neglect they suffer at the hands of their parents or the partners of their parents.

  • Amber

    After reading this article and my various encounters, it’s apparent to me, someone who works in the sexual assault/family violence field, that people continue to see abuse as physical. Abuse is verbal, emotional, psychological, physical, any kind of unwanted sexual act, word, or engagement. It comes in all forms and just because it doesn’t lead to what people deem as the “more serious” abuse i.e. physical, does not mean it is not still abuse.

    • MarloweOverShakespeare

      NO ONE can dispute your sentiments Amber!

      It’s just unfortunate that we live in a country where emotional, psychological and verbal abuse are all harder to prove and prosecute in court than physical abuse (on average).

      And the victims and perps of the three formentioned abuses are at most recommended therapy.