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.
There are not many films that accurately show the horrors of domestic violence. In an attempt to discover how interpersonal violence (IPV) is portrayed on film, I watched the movies Safe Haven and What’s Love Got to Do with It. The first is a fictional story based on the book of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. The second is based on musical artist Tina Turner’s memoirs. These two films are not entirely realistic or representative of the average woman’s life experience, but they do show the sad and frightening reality of domestic violence.
Safe Haven tells the story of Katie, a woman who was in a violent relationship with her alcoholic husband. Katie once had the courage to call the police after a violent incident, but because her husband was a detective and employee at the police station, no charges were filed. Realizing that her situation would be more difficult to escape from that she anticipated, she began creating a long-term plan. Finally, with the help of neighbors, she was able to escape. Having also read the book this movie was based on, I found that the film does not include enough of story of Katie’s abuse. Katie experienced symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder including nightmares and flashbacks in the film, but little of her life prior to the escape is shown. Most of the movie focuses on the subsequent love story she has with a man she meets in her new town. For those interested in her story outside of the romance, I would recommend the book.
In What’s Love Got to Do with It, we meet Anna Mae Bullock. Performer Ike Turner discovered Anna Mae and helped develop her talents and her career. This led a romantic relationship, and subsequently their marriage and Anna Mae’s stage name that we all know today- Tina Turner. Eventually the duo became successful, famous, and financially wealthy, but Ike was physically abusive to Tina throughout the marriage. The film showed a realistic portrayal of violence. Like most IPV, the violence cycled. After an episode of hurting Tina, Ike would be on his best behavior for a while. In one scene, he awakens her after a night of violence with a gift. Because Ike had helped make Tina the star she was, she felt obligated to stay with him through the violence. When Tina finally divorced Ike, she let him take all of her assets in order to get away from him as quickly and as easily as possible. This left her with nothing but her stage name to build a career on. Yet, years after leaving Ike and her abuse, she became an idol and award winning singer.
While both of these films may not have the most realistic endings- a quick and perfect romance and a Grammy winning career- they do give hope to what can happen when a woman is able to leave her abuser. Both films provide the audience with a taste of what a violent relationship can be like while appreciating the courage that both heroines had throughout their abuse.
For Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks: http://www.amazon.com/Safe-Haven-Nicholas-Sparks/dp/0446547573/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406142919&sr=8-1&keywords=safe+haven
Safe Haven the Film: http://www.amazon.com/Safe-Haven-Julianne-Hough/dp/B00COGXGNQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1406142967&sr=8-2&keywords=safe+haven
What’s Love Got to Do with It: http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Love-Got-Angela-Bassett/dp/B003SHYW4C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406142999&sr=8-1&keywords=whats+love+got+to+do+with+it
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.