SPOILER WARNING: Major parts of the plot are discussed in the following review.
If you haven't heard about this movie remake, the story line focuses on the rocky relationship between Jackson and Ally. Ally works two jobs: singing at a drag bar and working as a waitress. She attempts to get record deals but is always denied for being unattractive to producers. Jackson, also referred to as Jack, is an extremely popular country singer. Jack had a rough past growing up and looks towards getting drunk and high to deal with his childhood trauma. His mom gave birth to him when she was a teen and died during labor. His father was an alcoholic who died when Jack was thirteen, so Jack's older brother raised him.
One night, they meet at the drag bar when a drunk Jack is introduced to Ally by some drag queens. Jack asks Ally if he can buy her a drink, and she agrees to have a drink with him. Now at a cop bar where Jack can attend without being bombarded by fans, they have a conversation on Ally's singing abilities. Ally shares that she has tried to make songs with record labels but gets denied due to having a big nose that music producers find unattractive. Jack exclaims his infatuation with Ally's nose and asks for her consent to touch it. This moment is wholesome and reoccurs throughout the film as a "thing" between the two. It helps Ally build up her confidence. However, an obnoxious drunk arrives shortly after this moment and asks Jack for a picture to send to his ex. Jack remains calm, but Ally gets in the drunk's face and throws a punch at him. Jack simply carries Ally out of the bar. She unnecessarily resorted to violence in attempt to let out her anger towards the drunk character. Though she does not show violent tendencies through the remainder of the movie, this was a red flag that she may not deal with her feelings in the best ways.
Later, Jack invites Ally to one of his shows across the country, but she rejects his offer due to having to work. Jack sends one of his personal drivers to Ally's house in persistent efforts to get her to his show. When Jack's driver arrives on Ally's doorstep, Ally exclaims, "If I didn't know Jack, I'd call you a stalker." The driver does not leave Ally alone, so she finally decides to quit her day job to fly to Jack's show. This stuck out as the first major red flag in Jack's endeavors to get with Ally. It becomes clear that Jack does not like to take "no" for an answer when he later forces Ally on stage to sing a song she wrote after she already said she did not want to get on the stage. This manipulation may be seen as Jack helping Ally step out of her comfort zone and further propel her career, but the unhealthy coercion led by Jack should not be dismissed simply because some fortune arose from these events. Jack rides the line between giving positive encouragement of stepping out of one's comfort zone and pure coercion into doing things one does not want to do. His intentions do not seem malicious, so he might not be aware that his pressuring behavior may be toxic.
Ally soon blows up and signs with a record company after singing with Jack on stage for many shows. She transforms from a humble singer who writes her own meaningful lyrics into more of a pop sensation with typical lustful lyrics. Jack eventually confronts Ally about her new lyrics "Why'd you come around me with an a** like that?" He admits that he feels as if maybe he failed her, because she's embarrassing. Ally starts yelling at him claiming he's so embarrassed of himself that he has to put her down. Jack mumbles that he isn't enough for her, so she has to seek approval from others through her fame. They began to argue and take jabs at each other's insecurities. Ally crosses the line when she jokes about being Jack's drinking buddy in place of his alcoholic father. Jack immediately says, "You couldn't be my dad if you f***ing tried. He had more talent in his f***ing finger than you have in your whole f***ing body." Even after Jack tells her she crossed the line, she continues to make fun of his drinking problems.
Ally is nominated for three Grammy awards and wins "Best New Artist." Once she steps onto the stage to receive the award, an obviously intoxicated Jack stumbles on stage while mumbling things about her winning. He makes it next to her while she recites her award speech but visibly relieves himself on stage and falls over. Once rushed off stage, Ally worriedly helps Jack wash off in the shower while she is in tears. Ally's manager, Rez, later chastises Jack saying he was embarrassing and made Ally look like a joke. Jack apologizes to Ally, yet continues to stay drunk and intoxicated on drugs throughout their relationship.
Jack seems supportive in the beginning of Ally's career. He gets her a record deal and buys her a piano to practice on at home. He gives her tips on singing meaningful lyrics, because she has a voice people will listen to. However, it is later dependent on interpretation to tell whether Jack becomes jealous and spiteful or simply worried and unsure about Ally changing once she gets a record deal. Regardless, there is a clear difference between the way Jack treats Ally before and after she receives the record deal. This seems to be the root of most of their arguments, along with Jack's addiction problems. They both lack in good communication skills and resort to arguing without calmly discussing how they feel. This sticks out to be the main source of toxicity in their relationship.
This movie portrayed an unhealthy relationship between Jack and Ally that most likely could have improved and grown into a healthier relationship if given more time. Though they both seemed to care deeply for each other, their communication skills needed work. Jack needed further help in his struggles with addiction before he could give his full love and support to Ally. Ally could have improved her understanding of herself and Jack's struggles.
It is important to note that every relationship can always grow and improve. Individuals should always work on themselves before rushing into relationships. This movie highlighted the significance of self love and care and the role proper communication has in all relationships.
*We received a free autographed copy of this book from the author for an honest review.
SPOILER WARNING: Parts of the plot are discussed in the following review. Direct quotations from the book are used.
This book follows Andrea’s journey through an abusive relationship with her boyfriend Josh. This book grabs the reader right away as the author describes feelings so real.
Readers get sucked into the internal turmoil of someone in an abusive relationship; the confusion, self-blame and fear. It helps readers understand why someone would stay; “…The wreckage I’d caused….walk back into the havoc and face what I had done.” “It was over for now, that latest incident, and there was no way to tell when there would be another one… but there would definitely be another one, I was too broken for it to be any other way.” “How could he still love me after this? He deserved better. Everyone did.”
Readers can also gain insight into how all abusive relationships start- just like any other: the attraction, attention, and affection from the partner. “It was exhilarating to be around Josh.” “No one had ever called me pretty before.” “I wanted to remember the way I felt right then…I felt insatiable, invincible…even Ethan said he’d never seen me so happy. I was different.”
Readers can spot the red flags before Andrea knows what is happening. “Even though I was enjoying myself, I couldn’t shake those odd intricacies that would pop up every once in a while…I felt a little uncomfortable, but mostly confused. I shrugged I off, reminding myself that everyone had their own idiosyncrasies, and this was just one of Josh’s.”
“I wanted to be a good girlfriend and it wasn’t worth arguing…I thought about the playlists, the cute text messages, and his affectionate behavior. And I reminded myself how lucky I was to be with such a sweet, vivacious guy. I could overlook something like this for the good of our relationship. So I told myself it would be all right, that everything would be okay. But it was never okay again.”
Readers cringe at the escalation of verbal, physical and sexual abuse and want to save her as she is focused on saving the relationship. “My relationship had to be my first priority if I didn’t want to lose the only guy who might ever care about me.”
Andrea’s parents started noticing, her good friend Ethan and others started noticing. They try talking to her about him, but she was not ready to see the truth yet. When something went wrong, Andrea could not talk to anyone about it. “They’d just tell me to break up with him without understanding what the consequences would be if I made him really angry. Plus, I didn’t want them to look at Josh in only a bad light. I knew they weren’t’ crazy about him, and this would be the final straw. Josh wasn’t a bad guy. He just went through these angry episodes, and I knew that nobody else could understand him as I did. I would just have to fix this myself.”
Incidents began happening at school and just as in real life, the culture is to ignore the problems. Most people, even a teacher, did just ignore it. One friend, Stephanie confronts Andrea with her worries. Stephanie explains what she saw and how it made her feel and said she was worried. Andrea denies, Stephanie says she is here whenever. This is exactly the right way to handle it, you can’t force someone to listen or tell them they are stupid if they stay. Just be honest about what you saw and that it is not the victims fault and that there is help.
Our only complaint is that we wish Andrea wasn’t focused on another guy and that she could to learn to love herself through her own eyes.
We won’t give out any spoilers about how this ends. We will only say that this book was well written and accurately portrays teen dating abuse.
With popular media that covers the topic of domestic abuse and its victims, especially without romanticizing it, being few and far between, it may seem ironic that one of the most notable examples is a television show that involves mind-control and super-strength. Nonetheless, the Netflix original television show Marvel’s Jessica Jones details the struggle of the titular character (played by Krysten Ritter) in coping with the aftermath of her time under the influence of the series’ antagonist: Kilgrave (played by David Tenant) in a surprisingly realistic way.
Disclaimer: Broad narrative elements of the Jessica Jones plot are revealed below.
The character Kilgrave is designed to represent an abuser. He has ability to compel others into following his commands, simply by telling them to, which is used as the fictional equivalent of an abuser’s ability to coerce their victims into performing actions that they are not comfortable with. Prior to the events of the series, Kilgrave had taken control of Jessica’s mind and forced her into a variety of heinous actions against her will including murder. Throughout the events of a significant portion of the narrative, Kilgrave attempts to persuade Jessica into returning to him without the use of his powers, but his emotional abuse continues. He minimizes the harm he inflicted on her while advocating a distorted view of the past that portrays himself as well-meaning. He repeats that he truly “loves” her and would treat her differently this time around while simultaneously threatening to harm others if she doesn’t give into his demands. Like many real-life abusers, he strives to keep his victim involved in a relationship through a mixture of false promises and physical threats.
On the other hand, Jessica represents a victim learning to move forward with her life and realize that the abuse was not her own fault. At the start of the series, she has already managed to get away from Kilgrave, but she continues to feel guilty because of her actions under his control. This has led her to adopt unhealthy coping methods including alcoholism. As the series progresses, she comes to realize that she cannot hold herself responsible for the actions she carried out without free will, helping her to overcome the influence he held over her. In the real world, many victims blame themselves for abuse inflicted upon them. Yet it remains important to know that the fault lies with the abuser and not the abused.
While promoting the show’s first season, Melissa Rosenberg, the creator of the series, was asked about how she decided upon her portrayal of abuse and PTSD. Her answer was that “playing them as honestly as possible was very much the objective from the beginning. The tone is meant to be very grounded and real, so you have to be very grounded and real with whatever subjects you're dealing with. So there was no glossing this over. It was really an exploration of a survivor and her healing, to the degree that she does, in facing those demons quite literally. From the outset, it was really wanting to treat the matter as directly as we could.”
All episodes of Jessica Jones season 1 are available for streaming on Netflix. However, mature content is present, so viewer discretion is advised. Season 2 of Jessica Jones will premiere on March 8th.
*Trigger Warning* this blog addresses sexual assault…
April was Sexual Assault Awareness month, and even though it’s over we believe it’s always a good time to talk about consent. A couple weeks ago, Scream Queens actor, Abigail Breslin, opened up about being sexually assaulted by an ex-partner. It began when she posted a couple pictures to Instagram and disclosed a few details about the assault, including that she was in a relationship with the person who raped her.
We’ve heard these questions one too many times: sexual assault in a relationship? How is that possible? Aren’t you both on the same page if you’re dating? The concept of sexual assault within a relationship may sound totally strange, but the reality is that it can happen.
For the record, consent doesn’t change when you enter a relationship; everything about consent remains the same. Dating someone does not automatically give your partner consent, so there is never an obligation to say yes to your partner! Being in a healthy relationship is all about being able to make your own choices, respecting your partner and being respected, and feeling safe.
Let’s begin with the fact that consent is ongoing: this means that it can change and be taken back at any point. You may have been on the same page with your partner two minutes ago, but later you changed your mind -that may happen and that’s okay! You always have the right to change your mind and your partner should respect that. Consent is about equal power: if someone is asleep, under the influence, or in a vulnerable position in any way, then they are not at equal power and can’t consent. Consent is about making a choice that you are comfortable with, not being pressured into saying “yes” -and consent can’t be gained through threats or manipulation, either. If we don’t feel free to make that choice for ourselves, consent cannot happen. Consent is expressed through words of affirmation, for example, “yes”. If your partner is silent, or does not respond, that is not consent and that does not give you permission to keep going. Just because you don’t hear the word “No”, doesn’t mean you can keep pushing. The absence of “no” does not mean “yes”. Only yes means yes!
We wish that nobody would ever have to experience any abuse, and we believe it was very brave of Abigail Breslin to share her story. You can read more about Abigail’s courageous Instagram posts here: A.Breslin
Remember, you have the right to be safe and live free from fear and abuse, and you deserve respect. If you, or anyone you know, need help or just someone to talk to, call our hotline @ 407-330-3933
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and it is so important to talk about consent. We decided to create our own video to help everyone understand the concept. And of course, we had to do it using cupcakes, mmmm.
Even if her music isn’t your style, you’ve probably heard about Ke$ha at some point. Last weekend, Kesha received an award from the Human Rights Campaign for her advocacy work with LGBT. During her moving acceptance speech she talked about her teenage years, feeling like a “misfit”, and what she wants to tell the world. She says “…we were bullied for being ourselves, shamed for being different and encouraged for hiding the things that make us unique.”
It can be difficult to feel comfortable in your own skin when there are messages that tell you that only certain things are cool or beautiful. We should remember that being unique is a wonderful thing! There are certain things about all individuals that make them one-of-a-kind and that stuff is great! Being able to accept others for who they truly are, standing up for what is right, that’s not always the easiest thing to do, but it is the right thing to do. If you see something that isn’t right, do you try to help or do you tell yourself that it’s none of your business? If you notice that your friend is changing their appearance for their partner’s requests do you tell your friend you are concerned, or do you ignore it?
“My message today is don’t be afraid to speak up against any injustice you experience. Don’t let people scare or shame you into changing the things about you that make you unique.”
You can watch Kesha’s acceptance speech below, but be prepared to hear her drop the F-word a couple times…
Just read a beautiful blog post titles "33 Fast Facts About Love" and it was full of amazingly surprising details. Most of those 33 facts were based on first loving yourself. There is no other way to feel loved by others if you do not believe you are worthy of that love. It is so important for each of us to realize this notion, and not on an abstract basis, but truly deeply loving yourself and believing that You (yes, you) are a lovable person full of qualities that others will value. If you don't love yourself, please reach out and find help. Take time to get to know all of you, not just those flaws that you focus on. Listen to the compliments, not only the criticisms. Learn a new skill and enjoy it, don't worry about being the best or being perfect at it. Look in the mirror and smile at yourself. To quote Kathryn Stockett's The Help, "You is kind. You is smart. You is important."
We're so sad to hear about yesterday's break-up violence incident at Winter Springs High School . Our thoughts are with the victim for a safe and quick recovery.
Teens, it's important to know that violence is never the answer. If you or a friend are in an unhealthy or abusive relationship and are needing help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us or SafeHouse (24/7 hotline: 407-330-3933) for additional resources.
Help B.R.A.V.E. raise awareness about domestic and dating violence by having open and honest conversations, with family and friends, about what it means to have a healthy relationship and a healthy break-up, free from violence and abuse. Together, we can make a difference!
Our mission is for every relationship in Seminole County to be violence free and for everyone to feel respected and safe in their relationships. <3
Click Here if you're interested in reading more about the incident.
Some describe summer time as being lazy and catching up on some much needed rest and relaxation, am I right?! It's a time to hang out and have some fun in the sun with family and friends! Or maybe your summer isn't as easy going since you're taking summer school classes or working hard to save some money for your first car or even college!
However your spending your summer, don't forget to take some time for yourself! Taking care of yourself is EXTREMELY important for your health and well-being! And what better way to unwind than with a good book and getting lost in a character's life for hours...
Soooooo check out some of our recommendations below!
B.R.A.V.E.'s TOP 10 BOOKS TO READ THIS SUMMER!
1) Bitter End by Jennifer Brown
2) In Love and in Danger: A Teen's Guide to Braking Free of Abusive Relationships by Barrie Levy
3) Live Through This by Mindi Scott
4) Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
5) Rage: A Love Story by Julie Ann Peters
6) Inexcusable by Chris Lynch
7) Breathing Underwater by Alex Finn
8) Bad Boy can be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
9) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
10) Dating Violence: True Stories of Hurt and Hope by John Hicks
Leave a review of the book you read in the comments below or let us know if we missed a book that should be on this list! We'd LOVE to hear what you think!
Wishing everyone a safe and happy summer!
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