I will be blogging here from time to time about things relevant to teen dating violence that I see in/on tv/the internet and other media. I decided to join with this cause because I have known teens who have experienced dating violence and have seen the damage it can do. And I want to do what I can to stop what I saw happen to my friends happen to others. Feel free to comment about my blogs or email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to hear from you soon! -J
I was eating pizza on Hollywood boulevard and I found myself watching the movie Baby Boy on the TV in the pizza shop. I had never seen the movie before but was stricken by one scene in particular. To give you a little background on the movie, Jody is both the boyfriend of Yvette and the father of her child.
The scene begins with Yvette accusing Jody of cheating on her. Jody denies it at first but then finally admits it. Yvette gets angry, says “I’m sick of you cheating on me,” and starts to hit Jody. Jody tells Yvette to stop. She keeps hitting him. Jody hits her in the face. He says he won’t do it again. He promises he will make it up to her. He says he loves her.
Granted, this is a movie, and the characters are assumed to be fictional. Nevertheless, it still says a lot about abuse and how people think about it. First of all, abuse can happen to anyone. In this case BOTH of the people are being abusive. Jody cheated on Yvette and lied to her and Yvette hit him back. As upsetting as that can be, violence is never the right tool to fix something. Then Jody hit Yvette after she started hitting him. Hitting someone in return is not necessarily ok; self-defense should only be used to protect oneself from serious injury or death. Jody escalated the situation by hitting her when he could have backed off. Violence is NEVER ok.
And for my second point, abuse can continue even when the physical abuse is over.
Take Jody for example: He goes over to Yvette’s house the next day and “apologizes,” saying “I’m sorry I hit you, okay? You blacked my eye, too.*” In this attempt at apology, Jody both says he is sorry, and tries to make an excuse for his actions by bringing up the fact that Yvette also hit him. This is really just an extension of the abuse he already subjected Yvette to. By making Yvette feel guilty for hitting him, he is trying to make hitting her OK. Abusers often make the people they abuse feel guilty about what happened to them in an effort to make their abusive tendencies OK. BUT Abuse is NEVER the victims fault. The abuser is the one who makes the decision to hurt another person. NOT anyone else. NOT the victim.\
What do you think about Jody and Yvette?
Check out www.thesafespace.org for more information and resources on teen dating violence.