I recently read about Nicole Kidman winning an Emmy for Big Little Lies, a 2017 HBO mini-series starring Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, and Nicole Kidman. The show also won several other awards that evening, but none struck me more than Kidman playing the role of an abused wife, mother to two boys, and victim to her batterer. This great cast of three women in the TV series opened eyes and unraveled the truth about domestic violence and how victims often live through it.
All three actresses play very different roles in the show. Reese Witherspoon plays a divorced mother in her second marriage who ends up cheating on her husband. Shailene Woodley is a single mother of Ziggy, born of rape by an abusive man who she never saw again since that unfortunate night. Nicole Kidman is the abused wife I mentioned earlier who stays in her marriage for her children until she finally chooses to leave when her son starts bullying other girls in school (they say it runs in the blood doesn’t it).
While the women seemed to be set in wealthier lifestyles (with the exception of Shailene Woodley) their struggles are nonetheless real and the producer made a good point of not letting riches overshadow their issues. It just goes to show that even women with money find it hard to leave their abusers or to move on in life. Naturally part of me thought that if I had that kind of wealth, I would not be struggling now, but the way the series played out made me feel even more sorry for Kidman. The fact that all the wealth in the world could not bring her safety or happiness was just appalling.
In many parts of the mini-series, I actually found myself tearing up while watching the different scenes these women had to act out. Yes, just acting, but oh so real in our everyday lives.The stories and incidences were just so real, so true… something no one would ever want to experience, yet many of us have.
The Truth About Abuse
The series made one thing very clear. It doesn’t change. People don’t change. It doesn’t go away. It doesn’t stop even if you try to leave. It never fades away from your memory. It doesn’t just “disappear” like everyone else tells you it would.
No. You don’t “get over” it. You don’t forget. You may forgive but you definitely don’t forget. You don’t stop worrying. You never stop living in fear. The cries for help sometimes do not work. The testimonies do not weight merit. The pleas might go down the drain.
Yes. You can deal with it. You can move past it, though it takes a long time (Ziggy was five and Woodley still thought of her perpetrator every night). You can be strong. You can forgive (not because they deserve it, but because you do). You can move ahead. You are always able to stand up again.
But if you are in an abusive relationship right now and think that your partner is going to change after years and years of hoping and praying he/she will, please save yourself and call the domestic violence helpline (1−800−799−7233). If you or your children are in imminent danger, please call 911.
Children in Abusive Environments
One other thing the series depicted very well I thought, was that Kidman’s son was bullying other girls in school and that was her wake-up call. He had learned behavior from hearing his father’s abuse on his mother.
Children in violent or abusive homes NEVER fare well. They learn to yell and shout, to hit and bully, just like the abusive parent is doing. If you think that your children are fine because you don’t argue in front of them, you are wrong. Children pick up all kinds of signals and are very sensitive to emotions from adults, especially guilt, sadness, and pain.
It just isn’t healthy to raise children in these situations. For the sake of your children, please consider them first and get help.
Kidman’s Take on Domestic Violence
To sum it all up, I really liked the series. I thought the acting was great, but more so the way they enacted the abuse and torture the women experienced. The script was well-written and very real (not the acting “don’t hit me” type script). Words sounded familiar, scenes were all too real…
So instead of me continuing this rant tonight, I thought I’d leave you with words from the star herself the night she won the award. The words that I thought really mattered are towards the end after her big “thank you” notes so fast forward if you must but it really is worth waiting to hear.
God bless you all.