Many moons back (well not that many) when I was a Freshman in College and back when I was getting my “Denzel Washington” on, I auditioned and won a role in a University of Pittsburgh stage production called “In Jeopardy”.
Now this play wasn’t the typical type of play that you may be accustomed to see being performed. This play was more of like a sketch comedy/drama show and it was geared towards all of the incoming Freshman that year, and addressed several issues that we were sure to encounter in our lives now that we weren’t sheltered under mommy and daddy’s roof.
The issues that the play touched on were partying, alcohol consumption, dating, rape, studying, depression, suicide, sex, AIDS, drugs, and domestic violence among other such topics.
One of my roles in the play was that I played the abuser in an “Ike & Tina” like scene that unfortunately garnered many laughs even though the scene, along with the rape scene, were easily the most dramatic and suspenseful scenes throughout the entire play.
Since the play was seen by over 5,000 freshmen, and since I became somewhat of a mini-celebrity, at least for the next 2 weeks following the play, anytime someone saw me on campus, my name was “Ike”. I just shrugged it off and enjoyed my moment in the sun. This play was a way for me to make new friends and was a really good ice breaker with the ladies. And I got paid too! So what, if my rise to fame on campus was because I beat a woman’s ass on stage? It wasn’t real. It was just acting. Everyone knows that I’m a nice guy in person. Who cares that a scene in a play that’s supposed to reach out and spread awareness about Domestic Violence went over the wrong way?
Fast forward 10 years later…
And my views have changed. The Play’s message hits home. Hind sight is of course 20-20 and I now know that as 18 year olds, we were either too imature for the content or was just simply too excited to be on our own for the first time in our lives that the message just went over our heads.
Domestic violence is serious. Real serious! I can’t even count on both of my hands the number of people that I personally know that has been affected by it. It’s a never ending cycle that never goes away.
And is it because Domestic Violence for some reason so often is trivialized? That so often Domestic Violence situations become punchlines in comedian jokes and part of comedic situations in some of our favorite television shows.
I hate to use another Ike and Tina reference, but one of my favorite lines in any movie was when Laurence Fishbourne delivered the line “Eat the cake Anna Mae!” I don’t know what it is about that particular line, but I crack up every time I hear it, even though “Ike” goes on to smash the cake in her face.
But the true important part that I should have taken away from this scene was how Tina’s homegirl urged her to walk away from this doomed relationship. Advice that is always given to people in these situations but so rarely taken.
We all know about Rihanna and Chris Brown, and how he knotted her up…yet people, many women in particular, professed that she must’ve had it coming…that she did something that warranted him beating on her head like a pinata.
We all know about the Tiger Woods situation, where his now ex-wife supposedly came out swinging literally at Tiger’s head after finding out about a small sample size of Tiger’s sexual exploits away from home.
It’s easy to see why these two examples became so sesationalized because we’re talking about larger than life personalities but what about “Amanda” and her boyfriend that lives next door to you?
How many times have you seen the cops pull up to their home just to go away shaking their head because “Amanda” doesn’t want to file charges even though she’s the one that initiated the call.
How many times have we heard “Brenda” in the workplace talk about how many times she’s filed restraining orders on her boyfriend? How many times have you heard Brenda say how often her boyfriend has violated the order? I can’t even keep count. But here’s a much easier question. How many times have you heard “Brenda” say that she filed charges against her Boyfriend after he has repeatedly violated the order or went upside her head multiple times?
None. Zero…and that’s obviously the bulk of the problem.
I guess I’m trying to make a corellation to the public’s general perception of domestic abuse from within the media and why women feels that filing a restraining order will cure the ills of their failed relationships, almost as if their half-attempted plea to police will scare their significant others straight.
The other half has to be them filing charges as soon as order is violated.
Yes, filing an order is a step in the right direction, but what good is that order if you don’t follow up on it?
Getting these perps behind bars is only when we can begin to see some progress, but even that won’t stop the problem or make it go away.
The only way that domestic violence can truly go away is that as soon as it happens to you, you must be the one to walk or “go away” from the relationship.
If you or someone you know is currently a victim of Domestic Viloence, please visit The Hotline, which is a website and telephone hotline dedicated to spreading awareness on this issue and offers many suggestion on how you can overcome this.