Domestic violence is the abuse of other partners in a relationship or marriage. It includes physical, sexual, and psychological attacks. Economic coercion is a part of domestic violence.  Domestic violence is a widespread problem. However, most victims are women and children. In the film, What's Love Got to Do With It Tina, the main heroine, escapes from her husband because of domestic violence.  She waits until Ike was asleep. She then puts on shades to disguise the bruises and escapes to Los Angeles, yet, she had only 36 cents in her pocket. This film and the book condemn domestic violence and give insights of this vice so that those who are facing this problem can stand up and do something to fight it. They challenge the society which turnes a blind eye on the domestic violence issue.

Plot Synopsis

What's Love Got to Do With It is a film that bases its story line on the life of Tina Turner, who is a famous musician. She is popular for her song “What’s Love Got to Do With It”. It was her first comeback song after a hiatus that followed an abusive marriage. Tina Turner was a victim of domestic violence.  Ike Turner married her on the onset of her music career. Tina Turner initial birth name is Anna Mae Bullock. Tina is a stage name which was a creation of Ike Turner when he began managing Tina Turner’s music work.

The movie starts with a picture of a naive girl, Tina (played by Angela Bassett) who moves to Knoxville with her family. In Knoxville Tina and her sister frequented night clubs. Tina knew she had a talent in singing and sometimes performed in those night clubs hoping to be discovered by “Kings of Rhythm” which was her favorite band. Ike was a member of that band. Eventually Tina got a chance to sing and impress Ike who asked her to perform regularly with the band. Initially Ike had named Tina little Ann. The relationship between Ike and Tina was that of a mentor and protege, but it became a romantic one eventually. They got married in 1958. Their son was born immediately after that. However, Ike never divorced his former wife.  The couple continued to make music and toured. Their project was popular and they toured all over different continents while making millions of money. All along Tina was the subordinate, Ike made decisions about their music and family life. Tina suffered from physical, sexual and emotional abuse from Ike. The first time Ike hit her on the eye with a wooden shoe stretcher when Tina refused to be involved in the recording of a song. After hitting her, Ike would force Tina to have sex with him. That first time instilled fear in Tina, and she became an emotional prisoner to Ike. Later in the 1970s Tina started working without Ike recording her own songs.

In 1970s, their relationship had gone from terrible to worst. Tina had undergone all kinds of abuse; in fact she had converted to Buddhism to give her the strength she needed to cope with the relationship. Their music sales were falling down. Ike became addicted to cocaine and Tina had to carry the burden of appearing in shows alone. The worst thing though was the physical abuse she received despite putting so much effort in their music. Ike used to hit Tina everywhere with anything he found. He hit her on her face, ribs and back. The worst part was that Ike liked hitting her on the face on the place everyone could see. He would hit her before she went to stage to perform, and the band members did nothing because they feared Ike. The last episode of the violence was in Dallas in 1976; Ike beat her to pulp in their hotel room. Tina waited until Ike was asleep, and escaped to Los Angeles, yet she had only 36 cents in her pocket. Tina left all the money and assets with Ike; she had to survive by cleaning houses and food stamps. However, her music career took off. She released “What’s Love Got to Do With It” which topped Billboard charts all over many nations and made her song an instant hit. Her story of domestic violence is evident in her music, which makes people identify it with her, particularly women facing domestic violence.

The domestic abuse had various effects on the victim. Tina had many injuries on her body as a result of beatings. After the marriage, Tina did plastic surgery to correct the injuries and marks that were all over her body. The emotional damage takes a longer time to heal as compared with the physical damage. Tina had lived a life of fear and lack of trust. Ike had threatened her so many times; even when she left he came looking for her with a gun ready to kill her. This time round though, Tina had been through a lot so that she did not fear dying. She has not remarried although she is living with her lover, probably because she cannot bear to be tied down again due to her past abusive marriage.

Once the marriage ended, Tina left Ike with everything they had. All she wanted was her freedom, and maybe she was afraid to fight for her property with her ex husband. She only retained her stage name. After leaving Ike, she was so poor that she had to depend on food stamps before her music career took off again.

Ike’s violent behavior had a number of reasons behind it. Ike was a violent person. In fact, even before Tina got married, she knew Ike as a violent and angry person. His father had died after a mob of whites attacked him; probably this was the cause of anger in his life. After Ike marries, violence becomes the order of the day. He applies violence whenever he is angry, probably to relieve his anger. Ike abused drugs; his death was as a result of cocaine overdose. Violence is an effect of drugs. During the “Oprah Show” Tina said that her marriage to Ike was not out of love. However, she did not want to disappoint Ike. Before Ike married Tina, he had experienced many past failed marriages. All these reasons are enough to warn somebody about an impending danger, but Tina went ahead to marry him. When the husband first hit her, Tina chose to stay out because of the fear. Symptoms of domestic abuse include drug abuse, disregard, quarrels and the real physical abuse by a partner. Tina experienced all of that, but she ignored the symptoms. She was emotionally weak and did not want to disappoint her mentor. Tina learned that her mother got pregnant with her despite her will. It made her believe that her birth was the onset of suffering. She felt disillusioned and disappointed.

There are different theories that explain the domestic violence. The first theory is the patriarchal theory. Most societies are patriarchal, and they maintain the idea that men should dominate the other members of the society. The theory is based on the Biderman’s scale of coercion which states that there are five ways of gaining control over somebody. The five ways are omnipotence, threats of violence and violent attacks, isolation, emotional abuse and kindness. The theory also uses the principles of power and control wheel. Such principles include coercion, intimidation, and emotional abuse, isolation, male privilege and economic abuse. This theory applies to Tina’s case. Ike used almost all the principles of this theory.

The second theory is the exchange theory. This theory states that family members will resort to violence as long as the violence will help them achieve their goals. If a husband is likely to be jailed, he will not hit his wife because of the serious implications involved. If the husband badly wants to gain something, which belongs to his wife, he will use violence if that thing is worth it.

William Goode formulates the resource theory of domestic violence. It says that the decision making in a family lies on the person who provides for the family. Provision is related to financial, social and organization ensuring. The theorist says that women concentrate on taking care of their children hence they forget to empower themselves economically. This makes them depend solely on their husbands. Financial difficulty is a crucial problem to marriage. When one member provides for the family, he tends to have authority over others.

The ecological theory connects domestic violence with values and order. This theory links violence to culture, society and the family. There are some cultures where domestic violence is still high. The social learning theory of domestic violence asserts that violence is a behavior that people acquire. It says that there are factors that can cause development of violent behaviors such as drug abuse, stress and financial constraints and others. The theory says that people are not violent from birth. It is not an intrinsic vice. The environment and the things people associate with it can make them violent. The media are the ways in which people get to know about the violence other than their immediate environment.

Another theory that seeks to explain domestic violence is the feminist theory. It says that domestic violence is a result of patriarchal society that assigns various roles to men, particularly the management. The education system has not helped the situation. Women are lagging behind in education and they end up serving the male counterparts. The society has dictated roles on how men and women should behave (Pence & Paymar, 1993).

Intervention into the family suffering from the domestic violence should be carried out in a way that it guarantees the well being and stability of all parties involved. Intervention into the family is helping out victims of the domestic violence. Intervention can be done by an individual, an organization or the state. Intervention should start with the victim of the violence. The victim knows all the red flags of the violence in her case and should be able to escape when she/he experiences the symptoms.  The victim should form a strong support system to help her in times of violence. Such a system can include the emergency numbers to dial in case of domestic violence, domestic violence workers that aim at helping victims get back on their feet.  The domestic violence shelters offer a variety of services to victims of violence such as legal help, counseling, support group, employment, medical services and financial help. They ensure that people are safe and stable at the same time maintaining their confidentiality. Courts are also a part of the intervention program since perpetrators of domestic violence are criminals because they infringe on the rights of others.

Domestic violence victims need physical and mental treatment. Physical treatment is meant for the injuries they receive because of the violence. Mental treatment is meant for the psychological abuse the victims experienced. Therapy is necessary as it will help the victims to overcome the trauma caused by domestic violence. Therapy should be performed in stages and by a therapist who has a strong knowledge of the dynamics of the domestic violence.  

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