June 24, 2014

"Save Me":
Web series looks at how domestic violence affects more than the victims

I live in the state that currently holds the dubious title of being Number One for the number of women killed by men. Last year, my state had nearly the same number of women killed by men as the entire United Kingdom--and their entire population outnumbers us by 15 to 1.

It's easy to shrug off domestic violence if you or a loved one are not personally involved in it. But the truth is, domestic violence affects far more than just the victims of it.

When I ran across an interview about the YouTube series "Save Me", I was cautious. Domestic violence is an oft stereotyped media victim--and that's over and above the usual wariness I'd feel about production quality and acting in a web series.

I wasn't prepared to be as sucked into the series as I have been, for sure.

Without a doubt, there are stereotypes, but the show is also nuanced. One such nuance that struck me was the number of people, aside from the victim, that the initial episode represents. In the episode, the victim is clearly affected, but so are the friends of both her and her violent partner, as well as their child together--and those emotional impacts are clear. You could even go so far as to say a new partner for one of the friends is affected by her partner's emotional involvement in the situation--so someone completely uninvolved in the domestic violence situation is also impacted. Domestic violence is not portrayed as an individual issue. It's portrayed as a social one.

I find this incredibly intriguing. The distinction is important: When we write domestic violence off as a personal problem between individuals in a relationship, we are able to ignore it. When we acknowledge it as a situation that everyone has a stake in, it ups the ante, if you will, making it something we all need to address.

New Hero does a great job of portraying this.

So yes, the acting may remind you a bit of a well-done soap opera, and the lighting is a bit dark, but the show is worth watching for anyone that's interested in seeing what hit me as a unique portrayal of domestic violence.

On the YouTube page, the show is described as:
It has begun ladies and gents! "Save Me" is a new series on domestic violence. We hope to reach out to those in need, inspire them, educate them, and let them know that they are not alone.
While they say they want to reach out to those in need, I think they are actually accomplishing something far more wide-ranging and socially important.

They are reaching out to those of us that aren't in need, reminding us that domestic violence is an issue that affects us all.

This jives well with the ideas expressed by Christopher Jones, who created and films the series. Jones said, "Every time you just let it go and you don't call the cops, you're telling yourself that it's OK."

The series was inspired by real events. A review for a local paper explains:
The character, Amy, is partly inspired by the real story of Amy McGee, a 33-year-old mother of two who was shot and killed by her abusive husband just as she was taking her things out of the house to leave him for good.
 There are moments in the episodes that definitely carry triggering overtones. Whereas we often see media shy away from depicting the actual violence, "Save Me" does not.

The first episode shows Amy surrounded by people that realize what she is going through--and no one is there to help.

It begins with a black screen that says, "Inspired by True Events", and fades into another screen that says, "Every nine seconds, a woman in the U.S. is assaulted or beaten."

It's not overdone. It's a quiet portrayal of an insidious trend of violence in our communities--and it points out that we are willing to overlook it because we don't believe that it affects us.

But it does.

The video above is Season 1, Episode 1. I highly encourage anyone that's interested in this intriguing and heartbreaking portrayal to watch it. It's eleven minutes of your life that won't be wasted, I promise.

Other episodes are available through New Hero's YouTube channel. I'm most certainly looking forward to watching them myself.

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