I have a problem with the domestic violence campaigns I have seen over the years. There has been made for TV movies such as The Burning Bed or No One Would Tell (staring Candace Cameron and Fred Savage). There was The Way You Lie by Eminem and Rihanna. Of course there were pictures of Rihanna’s face after Chris Brown beat it to the point she needed stitches.
The most resent viral campaign is the Through The Glass video showing a woman walking through a regular day while using Google Glass until she shows up home to get a beat down from her boyfriend.
These all give us a visual we can hold on to; but, I believe it may be giving off the wrong message. I know if I everyday I came home to getting backhanded and dragged around by my hair and there were bruises all over my body it would be over the first time. This might be how a few women live their daily lives; but, the majority of abused women do not have such clear cut lines. For those women these examples may be a way to excuse the bad behavior happening their own life.
Here is the typical life of borderline domestic violence:
The woman is able to go to work and even school; but, she feels her off time is on lock down at home. Whenever something wonderful happens to her she has to deal with her partner’s adult tantrum and she has to walk on eggshells because the smallest slight can cause an emotional violent episode. Alcohol usually plays a part. “He is wonderful when he does not drink.” He may become physically violent only on occasion and it never goes further than a shove or hit followed by apologies and excuses like “I was drunk and not in control of myself.” The woman dreads coming home to “adventures” such as frantically looking for lost stuff, cleaning up a trashed home, finding her drunk partner sleeping in strange places, checking vitals, putting out fires of forgotten food in the oven, and of course emotional abuse. She stays because there is the voice that says it will get better or it is not abuse because she is not covered in hand marks.
It is abuse and it is going under the radar in our culture. We need to change the view of domestic violence in our campaigns. I didn’t think it was domestic violence until I got out. I still have those days when I remember a sweet memory; but, I know the above is reason enough to keep away. Now I come home head straight to bed and it is a joy to slip in those cool sheets and know I am in charge of my life.