Domestic Violence Depicted in Summer Music Elicits Strong Response

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Domestic Violence Depicted in Summer Music Elicits Strong Response

Popular rapper Eminem and the musical group Odd Future both made headlines this week, spurring debates over the portrayal of domestic violence in the media, specifically through lyrics and music videos.

Music Video Prompts Worry

Eminem released the video for his latest single, “Space Bound,” online June 27.  The video takes the viewer through the escalation of anger into violence and eventually murder as Eminem copes with discovering that his girlfriend cheated on him. Having realized what he’s done, Eminem commits a graphic suicide at the end of the video.

The new single also presents aggressive, violent lyrics including, “I’m trying to stop you from breathing/I put both hands on your throat […]’ til I snap your neck like a Popsicle stick.” The violent imagery and lyrics have prompted outcry from Mothers Against Violence, a British nonprofit, who have called publicly declared the rapper “evil” and “selfish.”

The song’s producer Jim Jonsin defended the video to the press. “People kill themselves, people get killed, they kill other people,” Jonsin clarified to MTV News. “When my kids watch it, I like to explain to them in that manner: ‘It’s like a movie, ya know? He isn’t really killing himself.’”

Eminem has earned negative press before with his previous portrayals of domestic violence. The video for the 2010 hit song “Love the Way You Lie,” in which Eminem collaborated with Rihanna, featured a similarly hostile and abusive relationship between Dominic Monaghan and costar Megan Fox.

Festival Selection Mobilizes Chicago Activists

Pitchfork released the line-up of their summer music festival on June 22th, which includes controversial California-based indie rap group Odd Future. Odd Future has been condemned by several anti-domestic violence and LGBTQ groups, especially since the release of frontman Tyler the Creator’s crude album Goblin earlier this year. With lyrics deemed too vulgar for The Late Show and multiple Twitter feuds with various musicians, Odd Future has garnered a lot of criticism.

Pitchfork’s endorsement of Odd Future has empowered Chicago-based domestic violence groups to voice their concerns. Between Friends, a domestic violence agency providing counseling, court advocacy, prevention and education efforts, has announced that they will be present at Pitchfork Festival to provide another perspective to concertgoers about the content of Odd Future’s music.

Between Friends issued a statement (full message available here) regarding their July 17th protest intentions. “While we don’t agree with this, it is their art, and we’d like to offer a counterpoint and continue to help people that are being affected by the violence they describe.”

Between Friends has printed 5,000 cardboard hand fans featuring educational information about domestic violence and resources to get help. The group described their goal as the following. “The result will be a sea of fans cooling down concertgoers while, hopefully, getting them discussing the issue and knowing where to turn for help.”

Comment section

0 replies
  1. Glorifying this behavior is terrible. I agree that music can’t really be censored, but this is a very serious issue. Teens can’t truly understand what affect this type of violent music is having on them. It’s sinks in over time. I know it’s almost impossible, but parents need to ensure that their teens are not listening to this type of music or at least discuss that some music has an inappropiate theme . I’m disappointed in Rhianna, she of all people should know better.

  2. I know Eminem’s music has been glorified, but I’m not certain the purpose of “Love the Way You Lie” is to glorify domestic violence. If anything, I see it as an attempt to normalize it. The song was extremely helpful to me…I never realized how incredibly toxic and unhealthy my relationship was until I listened to the words of the song. So I think for some people facing similar struggles, this is a positive thing. However, a shortcoming of the song is that it lacks hope…it lacks the happy ending where the abused leaves the abuser and triumphs in the end. In that regard, I find the song sad. But for those who feel alone in their abusive situations, I believe the song can provide some value.

    1. Akirah,
      I am glad to hear that “Love the Way You Lie” was extremely helpful to you. It sounds like you were able to gain insight into your relationship from Eminem’s song. Thank you for sharing your experience of the song through our blog. If you ever want to talk with one of our hotline advocates, we are available 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233.
      Take care,

  3. What do you do when a restraining order is issued to keep you from fathering a child.? Who do you complain to, when, you find yourself battered and abused by the issuance of a restraining order, against you, because the court, has other reasons or needs to prolifierate, and keep a child from her rightful
    heirs. The mother and the Father!, What do you do, when the mother of your daughter, leaves at 8.5 monhths pregnant, to have our daughter, with her ex boyfriend, of which, custody was removed of them, not me!, What do you do, when the juvenile court, denies you, your legal rights? Who do you complain to? Who do you ask to help? They say its a juvenile court issue., of an ongoing juvenile court issue? And that I must wait until their jurisdiction is ended? What do you do, when they have continued on, keeping my daughter, now 23 months? What do you do, when your requests for termination of jurisdiction, for custody of your daughter, for even increased visits, of which, all have been denied?
    what do you do, when you are told, that there wont be any court, during the month of Febuary, 20-10. only to discover afterwards, 2 months later, that there was a hearing and a trial, that i wasnt invited? What do you do, when you ask your attorney these questions, and he says there is nothing he can do?
    What do you do, when clearly and precisly, and clearly stated, as defined by the welfare and institutional code, What do you do, when you are denied your legal right to deny and terminate, the ongoing, misery, of which, “Is seriously, hurting my daughtter” ? What do you do, when, you visity your daughter, and you are assigned a different monitor, that isnt even a social service worker, who will not let me give, my daughter, snacks? What do you do, when you are acused of my daughters , diareah, by bitches? What do you do, when, the definition of the word bitch, is the wrong misundedrstatement of civil harassment and denial, of my daughters “Quality of Life:”/ What do you do, when the child is removed from the mother, and her boyfriend, but not You?
    What do you do? When my efforts, as a soldier, fighting for the freedoms of which, were supposedly guaranteed to all, are intentionaly denied of me, because of what reasons? What do you do, when, there are no criminal charges against you, and you deman d that the child be released to yer because, ttherel is no legal grounds or convictions, to support tthe reason for the judge to deny you your request,

    to freely raise your family, as you were promised would be your right to live?> What do you do?

    What do you do, When you are treated like a piece of garbage? What do you do, when you go home to your other children, and tell them, that thier sister, is going to be adopbed out, because, she was promised for the director of Social/ Services to adopt?

    What do you do?

    What do you do?”, Zoey Violet Upton, dp018979.,, There are some very bad people, in control of the lives of children, who, do not assist the families brought before the court of california?

    Who is it, that has declared thier decisions to be that “For the Best interest of the Child”?

    What do you do, ????

    Call the police???????????/

    1. Aaron,
      I am sorry to hear of your difficulties in dealing with the court system and social services in your area. You have every right to be angry and confused at continually being denied parental rights. It sounds like it is a complicated situation that would be difficult to address in this response. One thing I can suggest is that you look into It is an organization that advocates for abused children who have been failed by the justice system. You are always welcome to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. We are completely anonymous and confidential, and are available 24/7.


  4. I agree completely there is a limit for “art” and when “tweens” listen and watch this music and video repeatedly it will sink it and effect their actions. Again agreed with Rhanna she is being looked up too by children and adults alike, some victims of violence and to participate in something with violence (artistic or not), it is not fair to those who are expecting more!!

  5. I think Eminem’s songs “Love the Way You Lie” is far from “glorifying” domestic violence. I think it’s a way to raise awareness, and it’s doing so much better (in my opinion) than any PSA. First it was Rihanna’s song “Russian Roulette” and then “Love the Way You Lie” and then everyone was talking about domestic violence. People who didn’t normally think about it started to care, started to reach out.

    As for “Love the Way You Lie”, all you have to do is watch the video to see that it’s a metaphor for how domestic violence can literally burn away everything good until there’s nothing left but ashes. That, to me, isn’t glorification. It’s a message, and a good one. I wish people would see past what they’re programed to think and give him a chance. Not all of his work is bad.

  6. I’m so confused. My bf tells me he wants the protective order I have on him and then he tells the judge to keep it on. Idk what to do…. Thanks

    1. Emily,
      Thank you for contacting the Share Your Voice blog. I can understand why you would feel confused by your boyfriend’s response to the protective order. One minute, he’s tell you to drop it; the next he’s telling the judge to keep it. It’s up to you what you would like to do at this point, but if you feel like you need to protective order to be safe, then you have every right to keep it. If you need to talk to someone about options, you are welcome to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. We are available 24/7 and are completely anonymous and confidential.


  7. I am reading this website because I call the hotline all of the time. My wife was abused in the past and any aggressive action on my part can start a snowball that I cannot control. When its over, the emotional baggage is obviously the issue and we play that song out of awareness and as a relief to issues that are a little different, but the same for a lot of people and when there is no talk about it, it seems so much bigger than it really is and the answers seem so out of reach. I think if a person cant listen to that song and feel the pain of being in a relationship that needs to get fixed or be over, they probably haven’t even acknowledged what they are living with. Its the lack of outlets that leads to a lack of self control, that leads to actions on the part of anyone. If you have no outlet, and no way to “come up for air”, no self control in the world will be enough. In a drunken moment of anger and frustration I slapped my beautiful wife in the face. I dont even remember it, but it is a serious as a heart attack, even to this day, but it has never happened again. She was given the opportunity and knew she could and should leave and make sure of what she wanted for her life. We worked through my issues and have come to find a lot of hers as well. When the spotlight is on the team and its issues, no one needs to feel defensive and everyone works for the good of the team. I dont feel that an abusive action on either end is an immediate reason to leave permanently. Watch the video again and see that its raw emotions that are hard to control, not a bad person that make Eminems relationship bring out the worst in him. If you have had an issue, even if your mate leaves and you lose love that you wanted so badly, you still have to fix the issue. If she stayed and gave you one chance, you have to take it. I’ve left for my safety and so has my wife, but we have built something beautiful and removing a small percentage of a relationship that is unhealthy, is a lot easier than starting over and over again until you find someone that will cover your inadequacy. I choose to not live this life as an “abuser” or as a “victim”. I choose to be strong and happy.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It’s true that it’s a very personal decision to end a relationship or not.
      We’re glad to hear that the Hotline has been a resource to you as you’ve worked to address the unsafe elements in your relationship.

  8. I been with my husband almost 13 yrs iv had the most worse kinde of abuse from guns down my throat to a golf club a driver to be corrected .to watching it grow in size he started beating my daughter. and the mental part way worse then the actual beating .is it love or fear well guess im going to find out . i left him got my other two kids , a restraining order and now I am depressed heart broken and homeless ,and im still trying to fix my marriage . what is wrong with me,I am praying to my lord that i can forgive but at the same time my faith is little .i do not want to be angry at god or anybody . i only want love my family and my faith back . least that is what i tell my shrink . i don’t know if I am still here on earth any more has he taking all of me? all i know is no matter what the circumstance 1 time is to many love ur self i wish i would of said no the first time . no it is not Ok to say hateful words or even play or have an acid ant or just get hit .im a mom a daughter a sister and a friend and I m learning i do stand accounted for i mater. hear my voice learn from me if ur out there and i know u are get out i love u enough to say if i can u can . now lets hope i stay true to my self.

    1. Rachael,

      Deciding to leave an abusive relationship takes a lot of courage and strength. It sounds like you are doing the best you can to move forward to a healthier place for you and your children. If you would like to talk to an advocate about shelter, counseling, and support groups you can call us 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233.

      Thank you for sharing your voice with us.


  9. I claim that we all visitors actually are undoubtedly lucky to be in an excellent community with lots of special people with useful solutions. I feel very much grateful to have found your entire website and look forward to really much more fabulous times reading through here.Thanks yet again for all the details.

    1. Glad to hear that you are enjoying the blog! Know that you may also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, anytime, at 1-800-799-7233 if you would like to talk about your situation.


  10. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Very helpful information specially the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I was seeking this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  11. Thank you, I’ve recently been searching for info about this topic for ages and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far. But, what about the bottom line? Are you sure about the source?

Leave a Reply

Please feel free to add your comments, but be aware that this blog is a public space. Your email address is required to comment but will not be public or shared. Please note that entering a website address in the comment form will create a link to the site’s URL. We reserve the right to remove comments that do not abide by our community guidelines.

caret-downemailfacebookgoogleplusLove is Respect Heart Iconlinkedinmagnifying-glasspdfpinterestreddittumblrtwitter
Click to go back to top of page.