Written by: Mikayla Hill
Domestic violence is a topic that has been receiving more and more attention throughout the past 10 years. As it came out of the shadows and was discussed openly there have been many avenues that people have used to raise awareness, knowledge, and advocate for domestic violence survivors. Music and song writing has been one of those avenues.
Domestic violence can be found in many genres like country, rock, pop, and rap, dating all the way back to the early 1900’s. One example is a pop song ‘Love the Way You Lie’ by Eminem and Rihanna. The song emphasizes the cycle of domestic violence with lyrics “cuz when its going good, it’s going great. But when it’s bad, it’s awful”. Rock artist Alice Cooper wrote about a woman in an abusive relationship in his ballad “Only Women Bleed”. In his lyrics, he sings “he lies right at you, now you hate this game. He slaps you once in a while and you live and love in pain”. The pop band Green Day, wrote the song “Pulling Teeth” about an abusive relationship where the woman is the abuser. While this is less common, in real life and in songs, there are situations where the husband is the victim of domestic abuse; violence is not limited to one gender. These are only a few examples.
If you take the time and do the research, you will see songs about or referencing, domestic violence throughout the decades. There are several pros and cons to listening to these songs. They consistently remind you that domestic violence is a harsh reality in this world. They raise awareness that this is a larger social issue than we’d like to believe. As awareness, knowledge, and advocacy for domestic violence survivors grows there will be an increase in services, specifically directed to and for survivors. However, if we are not careful, we can become desensitized to the painful reality of domestic violence and the need for survivor services, by accepting and listening to these songs without thinking about their meanings and implications. When we continue to let discussions happen without taking a stand with survivors, we enter into the dangerous territory of apathy. We as consumers, must do a better job of fighting against the attitude of indifference towards domestic violence. Songs that push the message of domestic violence are here for a reason. Whether they push for acceptance of domestic violence or a societal revolution it still reminds us that we have a job of listening, hearing, and advocating against violence and services that help domestic violence survivors.