Izzy Pipa

Stop glorifying abusive relationships in media

January 27, 2022

The glorification of intimate partner abuse is inappropriately normalized, and at times, romanticized in the media. 

Intimate partner abuse includes either physical or emotional abuse done by an individual’s partner, according to the CDC. This abuse destroys all aspects of one’s health and is dangerous in many ways.

Popular TV shows and films portray the romanticization of toxic relationships, such as “Twilight” and “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

“Twilight” depicts a relationship between Bella Swan and her vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen, who controls what she does and who she sees throughout the majority of the film. 

“Fifty Shades of Grey” is an extremely problematic film based on a novel, depicting a contractual relationship attempting to justify emotional abuse, sexual violence and rape culture.

Not only do these films romanticize and idealize abuse, some fans of the storylines tend to instigate it as well. 

“Twilight,” fans chose between “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” based on their significant other preference, overlooking the fact “Team Edward” roots for an abusive and controlling relationship.

The impressions these stories leave are detrimental. They teach young individuals that emotional or physical abuse is normal and is what love is supposed to look like. These impressions affect generation after generation. 

Some media attempts to show individuals leaving abusive relationships, in movies such as “Dangerous Intentions” and “Safe Haven.” 

Yet the storylines often portray this in an ignorant way, inaccurately depicting how hard leaving abusive relationships truly is.

In these storylines, characters simply decide to leave the abusive relationship with success and ease. It is lovely to think leaving is that easy, but victims are in complex situations, making them feel like it is impossible to leave safely.

Each year one in five homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner, and 50% of female homicide victims are murdered by a partner as well, according to the CDC

The fear and threat of being killed can cause an individual to stay in an abusive relationship, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline website

Individuals in abusive relationships tend to find themselves completely isolated from the world making it seem impossible to begin a new life, according to the NDVH website

The ignorant narrative surrounding intimate partner abuse in the media is damaging to victims and survivors alike. 

Depicting stories that ignorantly display happy endings damages and diminishes the pain survivors go through.

TV shows, movies and other media need to depict the reality of abuse. Otherwise, toxic relationships will seem healthy and survivors of abuse will continue to be misunderstood.

If you or someone you know is suffering in an abusive relationship, there are resources to help.

HOTLINE: 1.800.799.7233

TEXT: 88788


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