By Stephanie Quinn, See the Triumph Guest Blogger
Note from See the Triumph: As part of our series this month on Intimate Partner Violence, Stigma, and the Media, this week we’re featuring a series of reviews of books and films that address the topic of domestic violence. In this series, guest blogger Stephanie Quinn shares insights about how these resources depict the issue, as well as resources for learning more.
Picture Perfect is a novel by Jodi Picoult about a woman who wakes up in a graveyard and can remember nothing about her life. She eventually discovers her name, Cassie, and finds her way home. In a seemingly encouraging turn of events, she learns that the husband she forgot is an award-winning actor in Los Angeles. She comes home to a mansion and realizes that she had been living a life of luxury. Unfortunately, Cassie’s story does not happily end there. She begins to feel inexplicably uncomfortable around her husband, especially when he becomes upset. As her past comes back to her, she begins recalling memories of her husband being physically abusive toward her.
Like many women in violent relationships, Cassie is torn between staying and leaving. As the wife of a movie star, she is in many ways living a life that most people could only dream of- multiple homes, chefs and butlers, and movie premieres. While most women in violent relationships are not experiencing these benefits, multiple different aspects of a partnership can make leaving difficult. Many women stay because they are economically dependent on their spouse. Others may fear what the perpetrator would do if they left. No matter what the reason is, leaving an abusive relationship is always challenging. There can still be some positive aspects to a relationship, and women may have to grieve the loss of their marriage, despite the abuse they suffered.
Another issue Cassie faces is the outside world’s perception of her marriage. Cassie was seen as privileged to have entered the world of Hollywood. Many viewed her life as a Cinderella story. While most women in violent situations are not married to Hollywood actors, many have experienced the pressure to stay in a relationship from family, friends, or religious communities. Some people outside of the relationship may not fully understand the dangers of staying in an abusive home.
For the reasons listed above and countless others, leaving a violent relationship can be challenging. To learn more about safety strategies, check out the following link about safety planning with a counselor, social worker, or other domestic violence professional: http://www.dvsafetyplanning.org/safety-strategies-booklet.html
To learn more about or purchase Picture Perfect: http://www.amazon.com/Picture-Perfect-Jodi-Picoult-ebook/dp/B000QUEHP8
Stephanie Quinn is a second year masters student in Counseling and Educational Development at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Originally from Iowa, she moved to North Carolina to attend Elon University where she received her bachelor's degree in Human Service Studies. Specializing in couples and families, she is currently interning at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center this fall, where she works with families in the children's oncology and hematology unit.