Wednesday, March 29, 2017
The Lies of Domestic Violence
There are the haves and the have-nots of this world, those with HBO and those wishing they did. Okay, this may be an exaggeration, but I regularly see movies and series which appeal to me, at least through the frosted pane of glass.
I saw a newsy thing claiming that Keith Urban, country star, is appalled by the bruises on the body of his wife, actor Nicole Kidman. He didn't inflict them. They are the outcome of her role as an abused wife in the HBO series Big Little Lies. Apparently there is some method acting going on here. The character Kidman plays is in an outwardly ideal marriage but she is subjected to the physical abuse of her husband, played by Alexander Skarsgård. Big Little Lies has been described as a dark comedy mystery drama, which is intriguing.
I wonder what the comedy part might be? It's been years since any comedian would dare to suggest that abuse of a partner is humorous. Old episodes of The Honeymooners make us a little queasy as Ralph threatens to send Alice to the moon with an upraised fist.
Just the same, we are still doing a mediocre job at best of ending the stigmas attached to domestic violence which will free persons --mostly women -- to leave their abusers. I chatted briefly with a young lawyer about this on a street corner this morning. We agreed that the law doesn't protect women in these circumstances and trials can end up humiliating the victim rather than the perpetrator.
Churches and other faith groups are behind as well, although concerted efforts are being made in some of them. As many of you know, my wife Ruth was a crises counsellor in a women's shelter for years and some of her clients have been members of congregations. Again, the perceived social stigma of their circumstances meant that they were reluctant to let anyone know what was going on in their lives.
I'm hoping that I get to see Big Little Lies sooner or later. I also hope that the church is not the place where we choose not to recognize the lies of self-protection and victims are hidden in plain sight.