Glee and Domestic Abuse

When the new Glee’s female coach, played by NeNe Leake, overhears  the Glee girls making light of domestic abuse, it raises some very interesting issues regarding domestic abuse. We hear about the coach’s aunt who was married to a very polite man, his temper only exhausting itself upon her in the privacy of their home. Like most abused women, she accepted his apologies until she ended up in the hospital. It took her 5 years to leave the relationship.

Coach Shannon, the woman whose shiner the girls were making fun of, is also a victim of domestic violence. This also raises the question of the kind of woman who is abused. Shannon is as “big as a house.” How can a man hit her without her retaliating? As big and tough as Shannon “the Beast” seems, she confesses that she is not confrontational or violent. When Coach Sue tells her she needs to leave him, Shannon admits that she is afraid to be alone. She’s afraid that no one will ever love her again.

Finally, we see Glee play an important role in creating awareness among their young viewers regarding domestic abuse and how it is portrayed in music and other social mediums. It successfully shows the shame, fear, and illusions that revolve around abusive relationsips, but also the courage and strength that is required to leave the abuser.

Since this is a show that requires students to use music with which to explore issues like love, letting go, and growing up, the girls in Glee were asked by NeNe Leake’s character to “Pick a song that gives women the self-esteem and courage to get the hell out of an abusive situation.”

Here was their choice: Florence + The Machine with “Shake it Out”:

This semester, I gave my students a similar project for their research paper. They had to find a music video/lyrics that exposed a social issue of their choice, and they had to use the song and research to discuss the issue. A few students focused on domestic violence. The videos they chose included the following:

Christina Aguilera’s touching song “I’m OK,” which demonstrates the long term effects of domestic abuse on the children who witness it:

Eminem and Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie,” which shows the endless cycle of abusive relationships:

Also, a song I’ve never heard, Justin Nozuka’s moving “Save Him,” which describes the violence and the murder/suicide that ends the abuse:

All this brought me to YouTube, wherein I discovered some thoughtful and well-crafted videos on the issue:

This one is compilation of images and facts to Pink’s “Long Way to Happy,” which is about rape, but if you listen to the words, the song can still be applied to domestic abuse because violence is violence:

This video is put together by one person inspired by all the music videos on domestic abuse. With Nick Lachey’s “I Can’t Hate you Anymore” playing in the background, it is chilling:

Which music videos have you discovered that describe the pain of domestic abuse ?

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About Marinagraphy

Marina is a writer who focuses her work on the need for female empowerment. She writes articles, books, and blogs centered on female experiences related to motherhood, female agency, feminism, and building positive images for young girls and women. She currently teaches Literature, Writing, and Women's Studies on the College level.

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