First published on November 9, 2015
"Abused & Silenced," better known as "If Someone Had Known," is about a White woman in an abusive relationship and how she dealt with it. It was released on NBC in May 1, 1995. If you've ever wondered how someone can end up in this situation and the problems involving such relationships, watch it. This is a topic you must understand as a potential victim, witness, or offender.
If the video is ever taken down, search for "If Someone Had Known full movie" online and watch it.
"If Someone Had Known" Movie Review
Spoilers ahead. Also, I write a lot of content with focus on the Black community. Much of it is still applicable to non-Blacks to a certain extent.
She meets an older guy who puts his best foot forward in the beginning. After a fun date, he drops her off at her home where she lives with her parents, only to later sneak into her second-floor bedroom for sex. She is hesitant but allows him to take her virginity. After a time jump, they're married and she's in labor. The father is present. The now husband not only misses the event, but he's late arriving to the hospital to pick her up. He's a prick to his wife who just delivered their child and the parents who are concerned about why he was absent.
When the married couple gets home is when you see the full picture. He's an abusive man with a weak ego. He isolates her from her parents and sisters. As the title states, she is silent until her sister finally succeeds in getting her to meet up. The sister notices one of many skin bruises and presses her until she admits that she's being abused. They agree on her leaving the abusive husband, but when she gets home, he refuses to let her leave. After a heart-breaking argument, he makes her choose between him and their child...
The rest of the movie follows this woman dealing with that decision, guilt, post-traumatic stress, and the law. Meanwhile, a side-story picks up with how our victim learned to accept this behavior: her father. He is verbally abusive to her mother and a cop that downplays a recurring domestic violence situation where a nearby neighbor is afraid for life when her husband is drunk. In the end, our victim is not charged with prison. Her father shows a change of heart and arrests the drunk husband the next time the scared wife calls.
My Thoughts in 2022
Seven years ago when I first saw this, I just thought it was a long public service announcement (PSA) on domestic abuse, or intimate partner violence (IPV). The title caught my attention because it covered a serious topic. Over twenty years after its release, It looks a lot different in our current society. Now, we have strong statistics proving that domestic violence are not overwhelmingly male-on-female. It is very close with male attackers on the high end. That doesn't account for unreported incidents, though. Gay couples, particularly lesbian partnerships, are statistically proven to be more "catty." Yet, most gay IPV cases I've seen reported were male-on-transwoman. More on that later.
The story is written to ensure you quickly know who are the protagonists and misogynists, erm, antagonists. The main character is a complete sweetheart. Her sister is a great sibling. Her mom is amazing. The father talks down on his and downplays disrespect towards women. The boyfriend is a whole ass.
The lack of complexity in many real situations does not take away from the topic at the movie's forefront. There are men abusing girlfriends, wives, and children. Those victims need to know that it is not okay and that there are battered women shelters that can help them. Those men need to learn how to manage their anger and any related addictions. In reality, many women provoke such situations while holding the threat of jail time, child support, and alimony over men's head. Again, that doesn't make physical violence okay. It does mean that we must remember to ask who truly is the victim and attacker. Sometimes, the answer to either question is "both." This is where guys need to be careful.
Misogyny, Misandry, and the Truth
I started with men first for one simple reason. If I were speaking about this to women in-person, they wouldn't listen to anything I say until I hold men accountable. Lucky for me, I've talked about personal development for men many times in the past. Especially Black men know we need to be better, reflect more to grow from our past, and learn how to deal with women without being a "yes" man. "Manosphere" and red pill content are teaching men the challenges of raising boys in American society today.
"Boys are bad," mkay?
Specific to domestic violence, men today know that when in domestic disputes with females they're more likely to go to jail, regardless of whether they're innocent of not. We also know that men serve longer prison sentences than women. I don't know how widespread that info was in the early 90's. I so know that the #MeToo movement forced a lot of men to acknowledge how dangerous the "guilty until proven innocent" and "believe all women" are, especially when it catches the attention of social media. How does all this affect women?
I lot of you ladies don't acknowledge how "believe all women" and #MeToo hurt you. Approaching a female can be deemed as sexual assault. Comedian Daphnique Springs spoke on this, while of course shaming men for putting our safety first.
Many decades ago, wives had to leave the child and house in divorce. Now, the husband must leave, and women initiate 69% of divorces. Women are not shamed into staying in bad marriages because of religion or being overweight. They can end a relationship with their husband or baby daddy at any time and be financially rewarded for doing so. Despite that, IPV is still a thing. Why?
As stated earlier, men account for approximately 40% of reported assault cases and have far fewer resources when in such a situation. Sometimes, abuse by a female looks different, mainly the perspective of the American society and common narrative. But it is still about control. In violent female versus male disputes, the male takes the blame most of the time. If he claims self-defense, he's screwed without rock-solid evidence and witnesses. If he has evidence, misandrists will throw all the insults along with the tried-and-true excuses:
"He didn't have to hit he back."
"He could've held her down until she calmed down."
"A real man would've walked away."
Determining who escalated a situation to the point of abuse rarely affects a case. Johnny Depp's court victory against Amber Heard was a major outlier.
The Rainbow Angle
Women ignoring the momentum of "Transwomen are women" isn't helping. Platforms like Kendra G's "Singles on" show how many transwomen are not telling men their biological sex. This leads to many men assaulting them as they weren't given the choice to choose. This contributes to why Black transwomen consider Black men the biggest threat to their lives. And that is why there's mutual tension.
For those unable to comprehend this controversial section, I do not condone beating on a transwoman for not stating that she is a biological male. Transwomen know that men don't to be further misled when dating. The make-up and body-shifting accessories are more than enough. Even I, a gay man, would be upset because I make it known to women that I'm looking for "a woman that wants to be my wife and then the mother of my child." Transwomen know it is dangerous because they know that some Black men will get violent if put in that position. Why? What happens if he goes with it, they get intimate, and they break up? Many transwomen run to the streets and social media to "out" him for having dated a transwoman. Yet, transwomen want to be respected and normalized. Make it make sense.
You should make it known that you're #trans well before you start spending time together, on day 1 being best. Otherwise, you waste time for men seeking a serious relationship and marriage with a "adult female with a womb." #transgender #LGBT #dating https://t.co/taUZ0T3Br0 https://t.co/04xGVYdP1z— Jt (@jtspratley) October 30, 2022
Some Black gay men play this game of putting down Black straight men. This only further drives Black men away from Black communities more, since many feminine men walk in lock-step with DL gay Black women.
I won't rant about the transwomen in sports. I'll just leave this here.
Male or female, we need to ask ourselves more often how we can become better people, not just employees and entrepreneurs. Career accolades do not make you a good person. Domestic violence is common. That doesn't make it okay. Learn what it looks like and address it. Follow your gut, the holy ghost, or whatever you want to call it. Sometimes, it's telling you to slow down. Sometimes, you need to leave.
- Keep your legs closed and say "no" if its not a 100% yes.
- Don't put your hands on a guy in any way that you wouldn't want him doing to you.
- "Love bombing" is suspicious. Interrogate them on their intent.
Some of you don't know when to stop, even when you've already won.
- Remember that abuse can be physical or verbal.
- Don't suffer in silence when it happens. Call the cops, social services, school faculty, landlord, etc. so that there's a paper trail of evidence.
- Pay attention when she says things like "man up." That's her accidentally admitting that she doesn't deserve you.