This was the assignment:
Follow the links below to music videos on YouTube. Watch the videos.
Dixie Chicks, Goodbye Earl Video:
Eminem, Love the Way you Lie:
Compare and contrast their portrayals of domestic violence. What do they show/tell us about domestic violence? If you have heard these songs or seen these videos before, how does watching them in this context change how you see them? What problems, if any, do you see in how domestic violence is portrayed or how domestic violence is portrayed in general in the media?
This was my reply:
To me, domestic violence is an intricate and devastating type of abuse. It is perpetuated by those closest to us, and it promotes a circle of abuse that, if not destroyed, will destroy its victims. I know this from personal experience. I have seen the damaging effects of domestic violence in my life. I was fortunate enough to have a support system(my family) that helped me break free from the chains of it. Even after I was away from my abuser, I felt the effects of the abuse in my children and in myself. Domestic violence destroys self-confidence and trust. It creates fear and generates feelings of despair and helplessness. These are real consequences. Because this abuse is usually in the home and women “chose” to marry into it or have children with men who are abusers society portrays their situations in a way that blames them. They should just walk out. It’s their own fault. Why are they still there?
When I watched the Dixie Chicks video I could not help but feel happy for the girl that made it out and got rid of the abuser. I think every abused woman wishes she could do the same. There are days that I feel that I will never escape my abuser. I know for a fact victims of domestic violence experience post traumatic stress. I know my life became a battle field, and even after I escaped it, I struggle with the vivid memories and very real effects of that abuse. For a long time after I left, I felt so guilty for “betraying” my, then, husband and at the same time I would wake up sweating and screaming at night from the recurring nightmares I had of him killing me. I can’t lie that there were days I wish he were not alive.
The Rihanna video, made me cry. It reminded me of the feelings of hopelessness and despair “love” in turmoil gives you. I can’t believe I used to think that was love. Literally standing there burning and not being able to jump out. That is such a vivid portrayal of the cycle of abuse. I also felt a strange recurring sensation of guilt when I saw the girl get violent with the guy. I remembered defending myself and later excusing my attacker in my mind by thinking, “well, I hit him too”.
I used to be afraid to talk about these feelings and my experience with domestic violence but as I’m healing, the more I speak on them the more powerful I feel. I don’t remember every step of escaping but I do remember being there and I remember how good it feels to be out.