Last week I got some interesting comments when I posted the new video for “Love the Way You Lie,” the hit single by Eminem featuring Rihanna that tackles domestic abuse from the unsettling first-person perspective of two pop stars with histories of domestic abuse of their own.
Controversy around the video – which stars Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan – mostly centers on one particularly combustible lyric from the song:
I know I’m a liar / If she ever tries to f***ing leave again / I’ma tie her to the bed / And set the house on fire”
Eminem and Rihanna have each argued, convincingly, that the song is meant to emphasize the brutal reality of domestic abuse, and to illustrate it and call it out for what it is so that we can talk about it and work to prevent it. And, as my colleague Sunny Pepper reported yesterday, Megan Fox donated her paycheck from the video shoot to benefit the Sojourn House women’s shelter. Unfortunately, similarly violent endings to abusive relationships are all too real: According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting statistics, one third of all female homicide victims in 2008 were killed by a boyfriend or spouse.
As an upsetting report at PoughkeepsieJournal.com puts it today, following up on the murder last week of Linda Riccardulli, 47:
The most dangerous time for victims of domestic violence is when they are trying to leave their abusers.
Riccardulli was shot by her husband Anthony Riccardulli on July 29, two days after his release from jail on domestic violence charges.
“That isolation that is formed helps to control her and makes her feel like she’s trapped, no one would believe her, that she has no place to go,” she said.
Often, an abusive situation will escalate when a victim tries to leave, said Judy Lombardi, director of outreach and support services at Grace Smith House, a nonprofit agency that provides services to victims of domestic violence and their children.
“The leaving time is the dangerous time,” said Lombardi. “When she’s leaving she’s saying, ‘I’m taking back power’… and (abusers) get more desperate .”
It’s important for victims of abuse to leave with a “very clear safety plan,” she said.
As a resource to my readers:
Here’s the website and phone number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline: www.ndvh.org 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) 1.800.787.3224 (TTY).
Don’t wait until you’re tied to the bed with the house on fire to ask for the help you need.
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