Dr. Wilda Reviews: HBO Documentary: ‘Private Violence’

10 Oct

Moi was invited to a preview screening of HBO’s Private Violence which will premier on HBO at 9:00 p.m. on October 20. Here is information about the film from the HBO site:

Private Violence is a feature-length documentary film and audience engagement campaign that explores a simple, but deeply disturbing fact of American life: the most dangerous place for a woman in America is her own home. Every day in the US, at least four women are murdered by abusive (and often, ex) partners. The knee-jerk response is to ask: “why doesn’t she just leave?” Private Violence shatters the brutality of this logic. Through the eyes of two survivors – Deanna Walters, a mother who seeks justice for the crimes committed against her at the hands of her estranged husband, and Kit Gruelle, an advocate who seeks justice for all women – we bear witness to the complicated and complex realities of intimate partner violence. Their experiences challenge entrenched and misleading assumptions, providing a lens into a world that is largely invisible; a world we have locked behind closed doors with our silence, our laws, and our lack of understanding. Kit’s work immerses us in the lives of several other women as they attempt to leave their abusers, setting them on a collision course with institutions that continuously and systematically fail them, often blaming victims for the violence they hope to flee. The same society that encourages women to seek true love shows them no mercy when that love turns dangerous. As Deanna transforms from victim to survivor, Private Violence begins to shape powerful, new questions that hold the potential to change our society: “Why does he abuse?” “Why do we turn away?” “How do we begin to build a future without domestic violence?” http://www.privateviolence.com/#about

Watch the Trailer for Private Violence, HBO’s Documentary on Domestic Abuse http://time.com/3422516/watch-the-trailer-for-private-violence-hbos-documentary-on-domestic-abuse/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+time%2Fmostemailed+TIME%3A+Most+E


One knows that they are in for an intense experience when the filmmaker issues a disclaimer and lets the audience know that some of the scenes and content of the film might be disturbing. If you need to go outside, please feel free to do so. This is a very personal film about the many facets of domestic violence.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Tolstoy may not have been specifically talking about domestic violence, but each situation is unique. There is a specific story and specific journey for each victim, each couple, and each abuser. There is no predicted endpoint for domestic violence; each situation will have its own outcome according to the film. The film suggests certain behavior for those concerned about a domestic violence victim:


1. Are you afraid of your partner when he is angry?
2. You are not alone; there is help for you, your children, and him.
3. May I help you find some local resources?
4. You deserve to feel safe in your home at all times, especially when you and your partner disagree.
5. I’m not here to judge you; I’m here to listen.

1. Why don’t you just leave?
2. I’d never put up with that.
3. What did you do to make him angry?
4. He/she seems nice to me.
5. It’s just stress.

This is a very timely discussion with headlines which regularly detail incidents of domestic violence involving sports figures and other prominent people. Domestic Violence is a societal problem. According to Safe Horizon:

The Victims

1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.

Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.

Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men

Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.

Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner….. http://www.safehorizon.org/page/domestic-violence-statistics–facts-52.html

Abusers come in all races, classes, genders, religions and creeds. Moi won’t spoil it for you, but ignorance comes in all classes and incomes as well. A statement from a female judge and comments on Kit’s paper from a professor show how much education must be done on the issue of domestic violence.

Although, the primary focus of the documentary was on Deanna and Kit, there were glimpses of the various shades of domestic violence from stories about other victims. This is intense and tough stuff, but well worth digging into the issue and your own particular set of emotions. The goal is to not only raise awareness, but to give courage, support, and understanding to the victims and hidden victims of domestic violence.

Dr. Wilda gives Private Violence a thumbs up.

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