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Heidi Shaffer, Published February 13 2012

Shaffer: Is society quick to forget celebrity domestic abuse?

Three years after he ruined Rihanna’s 2009 Grammy night by injuring her in a fight, Chris Brown took center stage at the Grammy’s Sunday night.

Not only did Brown perform twice Sunday night, but the Grammy academy named his “F.A.M.E.” album the best R&B release of the year.

In a town as fickle as Hollywood, a short memory is probably a given. But some fans’ reactions to Brown’s Grammy performances left me questioning whether some in society even understand the issue of domestic violence and its lasting effects.

Several female followers took to Twitter with disturbing and similar reactions to his performance: “Chris Brown, you can beat me anytime.”

Brown pleaded guilty to the assault charges filed against him in 2009. Is our memory really so short that we can again embrace an admitted batterer? I can’t imagine Rihanna has forgotten the fight that blackened her face.

In the same weekend, another tumultuous celebrity relationship wrought with violence resurfaced. And again, some in the public seemed to rush to the side of the accused batterer.

The announcement of Whitney Houston’s death Saturday was quickly followed by reports of her ex-husband Bobby Brown’s reaction to it.

The couple split in 2007 after 15 stormy years of marriage, reportedly filled with drugs, alcohol and abuse. They were dubbed by some as the new Ike and Tina Turner – a couple as famous for its domestic scuffles as its classic music. In 2003, Bobby was charged with battery after he allegedly beat Houston during a dispute.

Many blame Brown for Houston’s fall from fame in the early 1990s. She was a pop and gospel singer, and he a self-professed bad boy. Houston’s recent comeback attempt was marred by her years of hard living, often associated with her time with Brown.

And though we don’t yet know the cause of death, it’s easy to assume it had to do with the bad behavior she often fell into with Brown. Yet, we rush to find out if he’s grieving.

Really? We care how the man who allegedly threatened in 2003 to “beat her ass” is feeling about her death?

Some people say there are two parties in any relationship and two sides to domestic violence claims. Maybe those same people are willing to forgive and forget.

But to me, Chris Brown will always be that guy who beat up Rihanna. And Bobby Brown will always be that guy who beat his wife and fed her addiction to drugs and alcohol.