Domestic VIOlence in THE United States
Our story shows that domestic violence is not about out-of-control rage, but rather a calculated strategy motivated by need to dominate and control, and physical violence is but a small part of the tactics used. How the abuser weaves a gradual, tightening web of controls around his victims, breaking their agency and autonomy down, and how threats against his control, (i.e. when his victims try to leave), is often what turns a domestic violence relationship deadly. Leaving an abuser is the highest risk time. 76% of murders happen on separation.
Contrary to popular belief, domestic violence murders have not been reduced since the 1970s in the US, but have in fact increased in the last decade. Between 2000 and 2006, 3200 American soldiers were killed in combat. During that same period, more than three times as many women died at the hands of their husbands and boyfriends back home (Rachel Louise Snyder 2019). New studies show that gun-related DV homicides have exploded by 26% in the last 7 years. Today we are keeping better track than ever, and we know that every 16 hours a woman is killed by their current or ex partner. With JENNIFER, 42 we interrogate this under-reported, yet catastrophic epidemic through the story of one family - one that is both unique and typical.
The elaborate trillion-dollar system we have built to combat domestic violence is failing to protect women and children, and hold violent men accountable. As filmmakers, our ultimate objective with JENNIFER, 42 is to bring Coercive Control to the forefront of the domestic violence conversation, with an eye toward reforming US domestic violence law to include Coercive Control, following the UK’s pioneering laws. Executive Producer Laura Richards spearheaded the successful Domestic Violence Law Reform Campaigns in the UK and developed and implemented training on the law. Our entire producing team are committed to outreach and engagements around the film and its messages, to make maximum impact in the professional, educational, public health and political spaces where it’s most needed.
Early intervention reduces domestic violence homicides by 79-86% (Dr Evan Stark Amnesty International 2013). Criminalizing these forms of intimate partner violence would send a powerful signal and give victims confidence to come forward earlier, leading to early intervention and prevention.
We are in the middle of a cultural moment of female reckoning, and violence against women is a fundamental issue. While the important #MeToo and #Time’sUp movements target sexual harassment and assaults in the workplace - women actually get hurt by male violence at a greater rate in their homes than anywhere else. The J42 team believes that we cannot have a just society as long as the cruel imprisonment and terrorizing of women in the private realm known as ‘domestic violence’ is so widely tolerated. We believe that we are at a critical cultural moment where it is possible to once and for all dismantle the myths about domestic violence, and to reveal it’s true nature. We need laws that reflect domestic violence in all its guises - and Jennifer’s story is an important story to tell. She could be any woman, anywhere.
We are part of a group of survivors, campaigners, activists and experts who are campaigning for domestic violence laws to be strengthened and modernized in the USA to reflect the reality of domestic abuse in all its guises and better protect women and girls. How can you help?
If you are a resident of any of the 50 United States, please take two minutes to SIGN the petition and SHARE it with your networks.
WRITE to your senator and ask them to support New York State Senator Kevin Parker’s coercive control bill S5306.
If you are or have been a victim of domestic abuse, please complete this 2 minute, Victim's Voice Survey.