Posted by: gdevi | October 7, 2014

LHU screens “Domestic Violence” documentary

LHU screening the documentary “Domestic Violence”

Lock Haven University’s student group Gender Equality Liberation (GEL), in conjunction with other university sponsoring groups, will screen acclaimed documentary “Domestic Violence” by renowned filmmaker Frederick Wiseman.

The documentary is screened as part of the month-long programs observing October as the month to raise awareness about domestic violence. The screening will be held in Robinson’s Hamblin Hall of Flags, 7 p.m., on Monday, October 13.

“Domestic Violence” is set in Tampa, Florida, and opens by dropping us right in the middle of a domestic violence call taken by the Tampa police department.

Since the early 1980s, most urban and rural police forces are trained in domestic violence intervention, and we see the officers work diligently and conscientiously to secure the battered, terrified and confused women as they deal with the horrors of their physical and psychological trauma.

Shot over a period of two months with hundreds of hours of real footage edited and pieced together organically to tell a painful story that travels the arc of trauma to shelter to personal empowerment and responsibility, and finally, to a small glimmer of hope, Wiseman lets his camera tell the story of the women, children and men without narration or commentary.

The many anecdotes run through a day and a night touching upon many different stories. The effect on us as viewers is one of physically being in the presence of a highly charged emotional context, and needing to understand how it happened, and what can be done for those impacted by it. This approach might have trigger warnings, but it is a powerful strategy.

From police intervention, the film quickly moves to the central events set in the “Spring,” a battered women’s and children’s shelter in Tampa, Florida. We are led through the official work of a domestic violence shelter, its staff and residents, the women and the children. We hear the intake-interviews, the domestic violence assessment interviews, working with the power and control wheel, and the different types of domestic violence and abuse.

Above all, we hear from the women who found the strength and courage to leave their batterers behind and seek help for themselves and their children. We get to hear the women’s stories as they move through individual and group counseling sessions at the shelter.

Wiseman’s camera lets the women speak for themselves, and their narratives capture their ambivalent feelings about their partners and spouses, men who have hurt them and their children in unimaginable ways, and yet for whom some women show compassion. Wiseman lets the women talk through their conflicted emotions as in the segment with the mother of five who repeatedly asks for help for her husband who broke her arm with a hammer and cut her throat.

Domestic violence is one of the greatest tragedies of any community, and any nation. It occurs everyday in America. Its victims and survivors are both women and men. Children comprise a tragic percentage of its most defenseless victims. This film is a shocking and sobering portrait of a socio-cultural disease.

The documentary belongs to a series of programming various LHU groups have put together to raise awareness about domestic violence in the month of October. LHU HOPE Center is sponsoring a Clothesline Project and T-shirt making day on Thursday, October 9th from 10am-7pm at the PUB-MPR. The T-shirts will be displayed in several locations on campus the week of October 20th.

LHU HOPE Center Vigil for domestic violence will take place at Rogers Gym on October 22, at 6 p.m. Ms. Joe Sterner from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) will speak at the event.

The film screening and the DV vigil are free and open to the community.

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