The film in question is entitled Provoked and it dwells upon an important social issue (domestic violence). The filmmakers tell the story of a young woman who had been abused for ten years and unintentionally killed her husband in her attempt to protect herself (Mundhra, 2006).
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Some may say that the issue has been a topic for a lasting debate, but the film reveals another facet of the problem. The abused woman is Asian and her submissiveness is a product of culture. Burke (2000) also focuses on the way Asian women have to live with their abusive husbands. The article provides new insights into the discussion and makes people think of a broader context.
It is important to note that the film shows a case of escape (very long, dangerous and wrong) and this escape can be understood through some people will still say that murder is not a way out as the woman had no right to kill her (even) abusive husband. Burke (2000) reveals the world of Asian women who are left alone with their husbands and have no right to escape.
The author mentions cases when women came back to their parents or relatives hoping they could get help and protection but they were sent back to their husbands (Burke, 2000). More so, females’ relatives make them silent as their complaints can dishonor the whole family. There are even cases when females were killed by their own families as these women had dishonored their families in some way.
This larger context makes it clear that, when it comes to Asian women, the issue is more complex and needs more consideration. Asian women are expected to be submissive, and it is taken for granted that men can abuse their wives. By many, it is seen as a natural right of a man to abuse his wife if he wants to. It is clear that females (especially those about lower castes) are brought up to accept this ‘truth.’
Some people (for example, Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green) claim that focusing on ‘honor’ murders can have negative effects as it can enforce existing prejudice on the matter (Burke, 2000). Such people state that cases of domestic abuse are not a characteristic feature of all Asian families.
Nonetheless, it is hard to agree with the viewpoint that cases of domestic abuse and ‘honor’ murders should not be brought to the light. Even a couple of similar cases can be enough to start some kind of struggle against it.
Luckily, films like Provoked and articles similar to Burke’s work make people think of the problem. It is obvious that some women live in intolerable conditions and they can end up in jail as they can kill (intentionally or unintentionally) their abuser. Women often do not see another way out as even their relatives will not support them and save them from the abusive husband.
These women are left alone. Burke (2000) notes that some organizations help females in need and save them from domestic violence by helping them escape. Nonetheless, this is not enough. Men and women should understand that domestic violence is unacceptable.
On balance, it is possible to note that the film and the article mentioned above draw people’s attention to a burning social problem concerning domestic violence and Asian women.
The two sources bring a broader context to the problem. They help understand that the only way out is to start a broad campaign aimed at changing some concepts and make people value men’s and women’s lives equally. Saving a few females will not remove the problem, but education and, maybe, law enforcement can solve the issue.
Burke, J. (2000, October 8). Love, honor and obey – or die. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2000/oct/08/jasonburke.theobserver
Mundhra, J. (Director). (2005). Provoked. London: Private Moments Ltd.