That's why when I was listening to Lana Del Rey's “Ultraviolence” I was pleasantly surprised to hear her referencing such a hauntingly straight forward song, sung in such a sweet complacency you wonder if they were one of Lily Allen's inspirations.
The shocking thing about Little Eva is that she was a star. She made the song “Locomotion” popular long before Kylie Minogue gained recognition with it in the United States. Her name can be added to a long list of popular women who have faced domestic abuse. Jessica Simpson, Tyra Banks, even Oprah who has stated that “love doesn't hurt.”
But, these women have simply joined a pedigreed list of women who include Tina Turner and Whitney Houston. You may even remember when Romanian singer Alexandra Stan was hospitalized after physical violence from her manager. Domestic abuse continues to happen, and it seems only natural to look back on what in pop culture has done to justify or bring awareness to it. Let's not forget not only abuse towards women, but also children. You may remember that Woody Allen made headlines recently for the sexual abuse of his daughter during her childhood.
Now, this is a guilty pleasure. If you've never seen Julia Roberts Sleeping With the Enemy, you need to. This movie is at it's core a psychological thriller with a candy coated plot. Not nearly as deep as The Burning Bed, the lengths to which Julia Robert's is willing to go to end her abusive relationship is astounding. This is one of my favorite movies and it's not hard to connect with her abject fear.
Hard rocker Alice Cooper wrote the song “Only Women Bleed” (Which is not about menstruation as some people suggest), but instead that only women are affected in times of domestic abuse. The great Tina Turner even covered it in 1999 for a greatest hits of Ike and Tina Turner of all things.
RuPaul, Madonna, and Pat Benatar all deal with child abuse with “Never Go Home Again”, “Oh Father”, and “Hell is for Children”. “Never Go Home Again” is certainly more directed towards a gay audience. Yes, Frankie shouldn't have to wear makeup in order to hide the scars, but a lot of it deals with the emotional side of abuse of not being able to be who you want to be. While, Madonna deals with her personal childhood in a stunning ballad that implies that her father was not only verbally abusive, but physically abusive, but that “He didn't want to hurt me. He didn't want to live this way.” Then, you have Pat Benatar with cold precision sets down the facts of child abusive in a sometimes graphic manner. Although, not a major hit, any Pat Benatar fan is likely to recognize it as one of the standouts from her album Crimes of Passion. One of the few hard 80's rock songs that songs just as hard twenty years later as it did when it was written.
“Alive” may or may not be directly about spousal abuse, but battered women have collectively used it as an anthem, and nothing stops it from being one of the most stunning songs of Jennifer Lopez's career.
A sobering fact is that according to the World Health Organization forty percent of women murdered are killed by a spouse or partner.