Did You See Last Night’s Law & Order SVU? Thoughts?

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Did You See Last Night’s Law & Order SVU? Thoughts?

Last night’s Law and Order SVU told a familiar story — one of a young pop princess being brutally beaten by her baby-faced singer boyfriend. It was very similar to Rihanna and Chris Brown’s experiences, including the same triggers that set off the fight, his controversial tattoo and the public tweeting between the couple. It was an emotional episode that ended tragically — the young star is slain by her boyfriend after they get back together.

Here are some thoughts around last night’s episode:

Victim-Blaming Worsens the Situation

It was heartbreaking to watch the young pop icon named “Micha” in the episode attempt to recover in the days following the abuse.  She had just been betrayed by her best friend and partner, “Caleb,” she was physically hurting and she alone had to decide what to do next. In the midst of all of this, former fans and Caleb supporters were slamming her on Twitter saying that she was a “hoe,” that she should take him back, etc. A neighbor even told police, “She shouldn’t have dissed him.”

Take-Away: This was a powerful reminder of the difficulties facing a victim days after an instance of abuse. We should never judge or blame the victim for what has happened. No one wants or asks to be abused. Abuse is never justified. Let’s make sure that we always take an open-minded and supportive approach towards the victims in our life, and never tell them what they should do but rather be there for them as they heal.

Labels and How Abuse Changes Self-Perception

One of the most jolting lines in the show was Micha saying, “I don’t want the world to see me like that — like a victim.” In the episode, Micha’s brand managers talk with the detectives about what Micha should do in order to protect her public image. The scene also hinted at an internal struggle. It seemed that Micha didn’t like how her own self-perception had twisted as a result of what happened. One of the characters said, “He breaks the law and she gets punished?” Micha’s “punishment” wasn’t confined to her injuries, but rather her self-esteem and understanding of the world was changed as a result of Caleb’s violence.

Take Away: Victims are not only victims. They’re mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, teachers, jokesters, romantics, artists, you name it. Too often in news stories or TV dramas, the victim isn’t adequately described outside of the violent situation. If you are being abused now or have survived, know that your experience isn’t all that you are. It’s a part of your story, but know that you are still a whole person. If you’re struggling in how you feel about yourself as a result of abuse, we have advocates on the lines 24/7 who are here to talk.

Is Anything “Inevitable” In Abuse?

The episode ended on a jaw-dropper. Micha and Caleb publicly announce they are back together. When asked what the detectives should do next, Detective Benson replies, “We wait for the inevitable.” Cut to Micha and Caleb on a boat, seemingly happy until Caleb receives a text message from another girl. A fight ensues, and in the next scene a TV report broadcasts that the young singer’s body was found.

Take Away: The sad ending to the show seemed to insinuate that death always follows abuse. While it is true that abused women are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser owns a firearm, we do want to point out that nothing is “inevitable” when it comes to someone’s situation. Advocates on The Hotline can help assess for potential risk. We are always concerned about our callers’ safety and can help anyone see how much danger is present. If you or someone you know is being abused and there are weapons present, please call The Hotline to safety plan around staying safe with those in the house.

What did you think of last night’s episode? Did anything stand out to you?

(photo credit: nbc.com)

Comment section

8 replies
  1. My situation:

    We had only been married a few months and things started to change. He became very demanding, even to the point of where “we” needed to go to church. He is Catholic and I am more spiritually. Before, we married we took turns every Sunday – go to his church then the next Sunday go to mine. Finally, to “please” him I gave up my church and went to his. This wasn’t good enough, he started to complain about dinner and how I didn’t cook “healthy” enough. I even changed that. Then he started sending messages to my friends from my phone, asking why are you calling my wife dear, or why are you talking to her. Things from that point of control started to get more emotionally abusive and physical, he would call me a B**** or Cu** , when he didn’t get what he wanted, he would slam doors on me to keep me out of the bedroom, follow me around the house when in a heated argument, hold me down in bed when he didn’t get his way and spit in my face or hit me with a pillow. Finally, one day he got so mad he stood over me while I sat at the kitchen table, with his forehead pressed against mine screaming and pushing me back into the chair. I was afraid he was about to “blow.” In order to try and get away I pushed his face back and stood up, moved away from him, then he pushed me up against the back door and used his size and arms to keep me there. He hit the back door with his hand, while continuing to scream at me, this frightened me more. So, I grabbed his neck and shoulder to push him back, that only made him press more against me, my nails left marks – (note: I keep my nails very short). I was able to get away and ran to the garage with the door opened. I called the police for help. They arrived and asked if I wanted to press charges, I said no, I stated I wanted marriage counseling, I want him to understand this isn’t okay. I was trying to save our marriage. Yet, it only back fired on me. Two weeks later we were in an argument again, I said I wanted a divorce this time, I had enough of his emotional and physical abuse. He started following me around the house, I went to the bedroom and locked the door, praying he would cool off. Yet, I opened the bedroom door to the voice of a state trooper. He had called the police. The officer asked if I was okay and could talk, I said yes I was trying to get away from him and I just want a divorce. He advised me to get an EPO, my husband overheard this. He went and filed an EPO before I could. He stated I was a raging person and was abusive to him. I filed an EPO stating what really happened. During the court hearing for these EPO’s. He showed pictures he had taken of himself with the starches on his neck from my defense to flee. He stated I was emotional unstable, a drug user and very violent. The court dropped his EPO and gave me a DVO upon his request and also upon my husband’s request sent me to get a drug assessment and mental health assessment. Which the drug assessment of course came back negative and the mental health assessment came back as very stable. Due to the DVO, now I have to go to court order angry management weekly. I have evidence in text and messages of him stating he was sorry and needs to be more embracing. He denied ever holding me down and spitting in my face, it was so disgusting I vomited. He denied this in court, yet the messages show the details and his apology. He has used the justice system to continue his abuse and control over me. I want this injustice to be shown. Any help or advice please feel free to comment. He took many of my belongings out of the home, I have been following the orders of the court. However, I have never been in any trouble with the law and he is hurting my reputation and my chances of every working in the healthcare field again. He can not take my voice and whomever is willing to help or hear me, I am willing to speak. Abuser’s use the system to often to try and break down the victims even more. Yet, I refuse to allow him to take my joy. If he has done this to me, he has either done this before or he will only do this to someone in the future and it needs to be addressed in the justice system. I just want me life back!

  2. JJ,
    Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story with us and our community. I’m so sorry your partner, a person you should be able to trust, treated you this way. The abuse you’ve described is so awful, and you do not deserve to be treated this way. You also have a right to your faith or spirituality, and I’m upset this was taken from you. Your beliefs, and how those differed from your partner’s, should have been respected, not changed. I can’t tell you how sorry I am that this person was able to manipulate the justice system and turn this around on you. What happened was not, and is not your fault, and it is not okay that you’re being treated this way. If you’d ever like to give The Hotline a call, please do so, we are 24/7, completely confidential and anonymous. Although we are not legal advocates, perhaps we could give you some local resources (this is something we can only do on the phone) for legal advocacy, to see if there is anything that can be done to change this situation. You deserve to be safe, and you deserve that joy in your life.
    Call us anytime – 1-800-799-7233.


  3. I’m a 32 year old mom of a son that’s 9 years old. I was pregnant 3 yrs old ago but lost my daughter at 21 weeks, my boyfriend beat me up so bad I had placental abruption. He doesn’t always hit me he takes things away that he bought me or breaks my stuff if he is mad he wants to control me like I’m a child, I don’t work so I need him financially the thing is he is not always mean only when he doesn’t get his way. The problem is I don’t want my son to see that his mom has a black eye or busted lip I want him to have a wonderful childhood , He always reminds me of the things he has done and be grateful because no one else helped me when I needed help. He is not my sons father but he treats him good buys him things and shows him love. Im just venting I just don’t want to be six feet under one day because of his anger sometimes I can’t keep my opinion to my self I guess

  4. Shonda, I am sorry you lost the baby. I am even more sorry still, that you have to live under such harsh circumstances! You have never done anything to warrent being beaten or to have your things destroyed. But you’re absolutely right, his behavior is all about power and control over you and your son. Even the part where he seems thoughtful and kind to your son. That’s still part of his abuse– confusing you sometimes, into thinking the relationship has “good” moments. Your son needs a stable, healthy parent to guide him into adulthood, that adult is still you. AND you are not alone. You will always have a listening ear if you call THE HOTLINE at 1-800-799-7233. There may be a Domestic Violence center near you where you could get counseling for yourself and your son. You’re not crazy, his behavior is crazy. It is extremely harder to get out of DV without some help. Talking to a DV program, on a regular basis, can be helpful.

    And, when you just want to vent– or just can’t keep your opinions to yourself– we’re here, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, I’m confident it’s safer to call us than talk to him. Call and we can talk about safety.

  5. If you leave I will leave my abuser who is horrible and also kicked me between the legs when I was pregnant, punched me in the stomach so hard I couldnt breathe for several miniutes. He checks my receipts to see where I’ve been and constantly sets me up so he can accuse me of having an affair. He is controlling and emotionally and physically abusive. I have control over the money because he owes so much money that he has no choice. He lives in my house so I dont want to go to a shelter because this is MY house not his. Why do women always have to be the ones that have to leave. I want him to leave. We work in the same workplace and he is one floor above me. He has threatened to kill me daily calling me a B—-! every chance he gets. I wissh every night I would die in my sleep and get out of this situation.

  6. Women do not always have to leave, but sometimes it is far safer to do so…because the abuser is familiar with your working pattern and the location; stalking can make you even more vulnerable. While the house is yours, it is not more important than your life. You can replace a house, not your health and life.

    Get in touch with your local domestic abuse hotline and find where you can be sheltered, for your safety and/or given pragmatic advice as to what you can do to protect yourself. Remember, even though at times it seems as though your abuser is all powerful, it’s untrue. A women’s shelter’s counselling will show you what power you have and how to use it effectively.

  7. Anne,

    It sounds like you are living in a very dangerous situation. Kicking you in the stomach, controlling your every action, and the threat to kill you are all very serious. You are right that you are entitled to remain in your home. There is an option of obtaining a Protective Order and asking in it that he be removed from the home. You can call your county courthouse for further information on how to apply for a protective order, or call us at 1-800-799-7233 for legal advocates in your area that can help; http://www.womenslaw.org has useful information as well.

    It’s terrible that you have to worry about him at your work too. If you feel comfortable, maybe talk to your Human Resources department about what is happening. Maybe they can move around your schedule? It might be a good idea to have a security guard or co-worker walk you to your car at night. I am sorry that you feel scared and overwhelmed by your situation. The Hotline is here 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 for further guidance, support, and safety planning tips.

    Thank you for reaching out through the Share Your Voice blog community.


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