Domestic violence is an often invisible cancer eating away at the foundation of home life in America (and around the world). It's not something we talk about. Even in 2016 with all of the media attention on celebrity sexual misconduct, we don't talk about domestic violence (and prominent figures in sports, music, and Hollywood continue to have careers despite overwhelming evidence that they are domesetic abusers). And it isn't discussed for a host of reasons. There is still an omnipresent stigma against women speaking out against their abusers. The media doesn't discuss domestic abuse because, if we did, we'd have to face the fact that some of the most beloved entertainment figures of all time are domestic abusers (Bing Crosby [childhood abuse], John Lennon [spousal abuse], Stone Cold Steve Austin [spousal abuse], just to name a few). It isn't discussed because we are still a deeply patriarchal and kyriarchal nation.
I have first hand experience with domestic abuse. After my parents got divorced, my mother married a man who physically and emotionally abused her for years. They eventually divorced, but for six+ years, he terrorized her and their relationship caused my mother and I not to speak for over half a decade. In college, I dated a girl whose father was still physically abusing her at nineteen. She'd come back to the dorms from weekends home, and she'd have bruises on her thighs. It had caused her to develop PTSD and other emotional disorders and she lived with my family over the winter break that year. Other exes have shared stories of emotional and physical violence from past partners. This is not some isolated problem women occasionally face. It is widespread and we as the American people are doing practically nothing about it.
Irish folk artist Hozier just released a video for his new single, "Cherry Wine," and it hit like a punch to the stomach when I saw it because in clear and honest language, it addresses the invisible nature of partner violence. Starring Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan, "Cherry Wine"'s video is the story of a couple who are seemingly happy on the surface but when she retreats to her bathroom to take off her makeup for the day, you see the bruises that her partner has given her. There's no portrayed violence in the video but there doesn't have to be. When you realize all of the cracks in this seemingly happy facade, that hits as intensely as any displayed act of violence would have.
And by focusing on how invisible partner violence can be to the rest of the world, it reminds viewers that you shouldn't take for granted that someone you know is in a healthy relationship just because you can't see visible signs of abuse. If you think you or someone you know is the victim of domestic abuse, head to the National Domestic Violence Hotline's site and read the definitions of domestic violence
. All of the proceeds for "Cherry Wine" will benefit domestic abuse charities across the world.