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Chris Brown's Sentencing for Beating Rihanna: Let's Focus on What Really Matters

Did the court let Brown off too easy for beating girlfriend Rihanna? The author says that's the wrong question.

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If we don't reverse these cuts, not only will we not see programs put in place that can stop batterers from striking again, but the existing shelters and other programs that save the lives of women every day will have to keep scaling back critical services, or close their doors for good.

This may seem like a tough-but-necessary measure in lean times, but it's actually costing us every day in lost wages and productivity, increased need for emergency responders, unpayable medical bills, and more -- in fact, the World Health Organization estimates that intimate partner violence costs the USA economy $12.6 billion every year. And that tally doesn't include the immeasurable cost to all of us when our mothers, sisters, and children -- even sometimes ourselves -- have to choose between living in terror or leaving our homes and communities.

If our collective outrage over Brown's violence toward a woman he claimed to love means anything besides an obsession with celebrity scandal, then we'll refuse to wash our hands of this issue when it leaves the headlines next week. Instead, let's hold our government and our justice system accountable the way we need that very system to hold batterers accountable -- beyond sentencing, until we see results.

Jaclyn Friedman is a writer, poet and activist based in Boston. She produces Where Your Mouth Is, a monthly podcast, exclusively for AlterNet.