Women’s Aid defines domestic abuse as “an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behavior, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer.” 
What makes the issue of domestic abuse even more frightening is the one-sided nature of it. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, but 85% of victims are women and women with disabilities have a 40% greater risk of intimate partner violence than women without disabilities.  
The issue of domestic abuse is so shocking and abhorrent that it even compels very young people to step up and take action. Angelou Brown, a 5-year-old Kiwi-Samoan boy from Christchurch, New Zealand, has been raising awareness for domestic abuse – an issue that haunts his own family.
Brown reached out to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson asking him to help spread a simple message: “she is not your rehab.” He asked for help from the “strongest man on the planet” because countless men around the world look up to him and because he thought that The Rock would agree with him about the incredible importance of preventing domestic abuse against women.
In a video Brown tells The Rock that his involvement could help troubled people around the world turn a corner and begin to right their wrongs.
“Dear Mr. Rock, my name is Angelou Brown and I am 5-years-old. I live in Christchurch, New Zealand,” Brown says in his video, introducing himself.
“My dad is Samoan so I’m pretty sure you’re his cousin. And since you’re part of the aiga (family), I thought I’d send you a gift. It’s a T-shirt. Not just any T-shirt. This T-shirt my dad and my uncles wear to encourage other men to treat girls well. Men all around New Zealand, the Pacific, and even the whole wide world because his mum, my nana, had a sad life when they were growing up with lots of fights at home.”
“It was sad for my dad to watch her get hurt a lot. And she had to go away lots to many refuges,” Brown says. “My dad says it’s his mission to help other men to heal so their wives don’t have sad lives like Nana did.”
Brown explains that She Is Not Your Rehab, an organization launched by his father, is intended to get men to address their own domestic violence issues and to keep families and women safe.
Brown’s video clearly struck a chord with Mr. Rock, as not long after, The Rock shared his video on his own Instagram account.
“Just watched and this one just sat me down,” he wrote in his post’s caption. “A bit emotional watching this 5yr old little boy speak to me.”
“I admire your father, greatly for standing up and creating She Is Not Your Rehab. And to make sure his mom – your Nana – will never be forgotten. Encouraging men all over the world to treat our women with respect, love, and most importantly, violence-free,” The Rock writes. “The way you sit in your Nana’s arms as she speaks to you is the exact same way I would sit in my grandma’s arms when I was your age, while [she] said her prayers in Samoan to God, and then she’d talk to me afterward just like she talks to you. She would tell me the exact same things your Nana is telling you. Listen to her. And always remember her words.”
The Rock had parting words for Brown:
“You stay strong, Angelou, and keep listening to your Nana and your parents. One day you will become the leader of your aiga and also a leader the world will admire. All our alofa, Uncle Rock and our aiga.”
It is difficult to quantify the impact that The Rock has had by sharing this message, but I think we all hope that it’s helped men around the world realize that they can do good or bad, that it’s a choice they make, and their choice can reshape our society.
- “What is domestic abuse?” Women’s Aid. Accessed December 2, 2020.
- “At Least A Third Of All Women Murdered In The U.S. Are Killed By Male Partners.” Huffington Post. Alissa Scheller. Accessed December 2, 2020.
- “Intimate Partner Violence.” American Psychological Association. Accessed December 2, 2020.