The Video of Diddy Assaulting Cassie is Horrific. This Is Why You Shouldn't Look Away.

Content warning: This story describes domestic violence and alleged sexual assault.

As sickening as it was to watch the footage of Diddy assaulting Cassie Ventura at a hotel in 2016—released Friday, May 17, by CNN, and corroborating the claims she made in a lawsuit filed in November 2023—it can and will never compare to the terrible suffering experienced by his victim. But we must not look away. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

Sometimes an abuser has to be exposed for who and what they are. But the fact it took a video kept hidden for around eight years to prove to the world the kind of man Sean “Diddy” Combs is, is a travesty.

We mustn’t forget that Ventura’s words alone were not enough when she first came forward with her story. While they didn’t condoning the allegations—which went further than the video and included how Combs beat Ventura regularly during their on-and-off relationship between 2007 and 2018, abused her sexually, and raped her—multiple high-profile stars offered Combs emotional support when they first surfaced. Actor Tyrese Gibson (in a since deleted post) reached out publicly to Combs saying, “God bless you Diddy if you ever need to call me and just need a listening [ear] I’m here here bro.” And boxer Floyd Mayweather said on a podcast about Ventura’s account: “Even if that happened to my daughter, I would be hurt, but that’s the choice that my daughter made. So, I don’t wanna kick nobody while they’re down.”

This footage, however horrific and difficult it is to watch, is a reminder to us all: Believe women. We shouldn’t have to draw the comparisons between her legal filing and the video (which corroborates the hotel incident in her lawsuit), but it is worth noting how—even seven years on from the assault—Ventura’s recall of her suffering is as vivid and shocking as the footage itself. Memories of abuse do not fade.

Just as Ventura detailed in her legal claim, the video footage obtained by CNN showed that there was an altercation that occurred at a hotel in Los Angeles “around March 2016.” Ventura’s legal filing stated that Combs became “extremely intoxicated and punched Ms. Ventura in the face, giving her a black eye.” Per the lawsuit, when Ventura attempted to leave the hotel room, Combs (who had been asleep) woke up and “followed her into the hallway of the hotel while yelling at her.”

“He grabbed at her, and then took glass vases in the hallway and threw them at her, causing glass to crash around them as she ran to the elevator to escape,” the complaint alleged.

In the footage released on May 17, camera footage shows Combs beating and kicking Ventura, dragging her to a corner, and throwing objects in her direction.

There are innumerable horrific aspects to this story, but it’s worth examining more deeply some key ones. First, that—in Ventura’s own words in the lawsuit—she was stuck, like so many victims of domestic abuse are: “Upon realizing that her running away would cause Mr. Combs to be even angrier with her,” the complaint outlines, “and completely stuck in his vicious cycle of abuse, Ms. Ventura returned to the hotel with the intention of apologizing for running away from her abuser.”

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