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Breaking Free From an Abusive Relationship

According to statistical data provided by the American Bar Association of Commission on Domestic violence, approximately 1.3 million women are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States (American Bar Association). This problem has grown so acute that many American writers and screenwriters of the XXth century made up their minds to touch it upon in their books and movies.

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The problem of an abusive relationship and a woman’s role in it is vividly depicted in the movie “Enough” with Jennifer Lopez and in the book “Black and Blue” by Anna Quindlen. In both storylines, the woman who became the victim of domestic violence is presented along with the way out of the situation she chooses. Yet, Quindlen’s character from the book “Black and Blue” is a portrayal of a stereotyped woman suffering from her husband’s abuse, and Slim is a kind of calling to those who are patient to any manifestation of domestic abuse.

The storyline in the movie “Enough” is quite usual. “A spunky working-class woman suckered into marriage with a rich yuppie master of the universe who brutally abuses her” (Holden, Stephen). While being young, she dreams of eternal love and passion. She is inexperienced, and due to it makes a mistake when choosing a husband. She is young and does not care about possible troubles that she might have in case she chooses the wrong guy to live with. So, she makes mistake, as her minion has a deceptive appearance under which a psycho capable of abusing her mentally and physically is hidden.

When she confronts the danger embodied in her own husband, she is at a loss. She finds herself in the situation that many American women are in these days: they are morally abused and beaten by their husbands. She realizes now that the feelings for her husband, Mitch, have gone.

Mitch: Whatever happened to privacy?
Slim: Well, I guess it’s dead, along with chivalry and fidelity (Enough).

She is in big trouble now. She cannot escape from him, since he can easily find her no matter where she goes. On the other hand, her life is in danger, and she has to solve this problem as soon as possible. Far not every American woman would ever venture to run away in such a tremendously complicated situation. However, Slims turns out to be a brave woman who cares not only about her own life but her daughter’s life as well. She decides to kill Mitch.

Self-defense is not murder (Enough).

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In some way, Slim’s behavior is a kind of calling to those women who think they can do nothing with the problem of being brutally abused by their husbands.

The story of Frad, the main character of the book “Black and Blue”, is very similar in which her relationship with her husband is depicted. Frad starts dating Bobby when she is nineteen. This is the age when teenagers can fall in love easily paying no heed to what mask is hidden under the handsome face of the minion. Thus, being inexperienced in judging people’s characters, Frad makes a mistake and chooses an extremely aggressive man to live with who beats her brutally.

Like in the story of slim, Frad faces the greatest challenge of her life. She suffers from constant beating and abuse of her husband and has to do something with it. Yet, she cannot leave her husband for several reasons. One and the primarily important one is her son.

I even started using a soft toothbrush so I wouldn’t have to taste blood in my mouth more often than I already did. How do you tell that to a kid who loves his dad (Anna Quindlen, 34)?

Frad is afraid that her son will be living in a single-parent family, without his father. Besides, he loves his father despite all abuses and beating his mom. Fred is afraid not only because she might have made her son living without the father but also because her husband could easily find her. Her hair stands on end when thinking what might happen to her if her husband finds her after the escape. Still, after her husband last beats her, she firmly decides to leave him, for that was the only way out for her.

However, in contrast to Slim, before Frad finally decides to leave her husband, Bobby, it takes her seventeen years long. She hesitated whether such a decision would be the right for her son, whom he loves most of all in her life. This is what some critics say about Frad:

A woman whose love for her son far surpasses her instincts for self-preservation (Martha Bagnal).

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Frad runs away to Florida from New York with her son Robert and gets married changing her name to Beth Crenshaw. Since this moment, the name Fran Beneditto is mentioned only when Beth recollects memories from her past. She has a new husband, a new daughter, and finally, a new life full of difficulties and challenges. She can hardly find enough money for existence, a shabby apartment, and no friends. This is the price she had to pay for the escape from her husband.

There’s not a day when I haven’t wondered whether I did the right thing, leaving Bobby. But of course, if I hadn’t, there would have been no… Grace Ann. Your children make it impossible to regret your past. They’re its finest fruits. Sometimes it’s only ones (Quindlen, Anna, 197).

Quindlen portrays not only the woman who said ‘no’ to her husband’s constant abuses but also the woman who cannot help thinking about the past relationship with her husband while they were young. She remembers the days when they made crazy each other for the passionate love they were shrouded in while being young. She cannot help thinking that Bobby can find someone.

Thus, we can see the identical stories of similar characters in the movie “Enough” and the book “Black and Blue”. However, the main characters are depicted in a bit different way. The major difference lying upon the two characters is their attitude towards their husbands. In contrast to Slim, Frad has a more tender temper. She would never resolve to kill her husband since she loved him. She cannot stop thinking about him even after she leaves him. Slim, on the contrary, starts hating her husband for his being aggressive and abusive. She is ready for everything for the sake of her life and the life of her daughter.

Frad lives with doubts and hesitations after the final decision is already made. Slim, on the contrary, is sure that even killing the husband is the right thing if it comes to domestic abuse. Frad is a prototype of the woman who suffers from domestic abuse and waits for half of her life until she decides to leave him. Slim is rather an embodiment of courage and resolution capable of killing her husband for abusing her.

Works Cited

Anna Quindlen. Black and Blue. Random House, 1998.

Apted, Michael, dir. Enough. Perf. Jennifer Lopez and Bill Campbell. Columbia Pictures Corporation, 2002.

Diana Hacker, Nancy Sommers, Tom Jehn, Jane Rosenzweig. A Pocket Style Manual. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008.

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John Schilb, John Clifford. Ways of Making Literature Matter: A Brief Guide. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000

Martha Bagnall. “Pow! Slap! I Love You!” The Yale Review of Books. 1998.

Prevalence of Domestic Violence. American Bar Association. Web.

Stephen Holden. “Enough (2002) Film Review; O.K, Buster, Now It’s our Turn”. New York Times.

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