Good Essay On Family Violence In Lindsay Lohan’s Broken Heart
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American songwriter and singer Lindsay Lohan’s song “Confessions of a Broken Heart” or also called “Father to Daughter” (2005) from her second album “A Little More Personal (Raw)” (2005) is a letter to her father, Michael Lohan. Having lived a turbulent life herself and having experienced family violence and the impact it has on a child’s soul and mind (Billson), Lindsey’s song is an example of the dramatic effect domestic violence has on the children; how family bonds are broken and how the children suffer from the absence of one of the parents. Lohan uses a plethora of means to send her message across to her audience, including images, lyrics, and music that create a powerful effect to everyone watching the video of her song. Unquestionably, domestic violence is a form of abuse and the child living through it exhibits various psychological problems, such as anxiety and depression, among others, which will be discussed in this paper.
The song Confessions of a Broken Heart shows a girl whose parents are having issues with one another. Obviously, the father is violent towards the mother and their young daughter lives in constant stress and despair, as she appears to be expecting that her parents’ conversation will soon evolve into something more serious and it will not be long before crying and violence occurs within the household. The girl screams behind closed doors, secluded in her room, but no one is listening to her. Her voice is too weak to be heard, although she is screaming herself out. She drowns her anger, frustration, and despair in tears and prays that it will all end without anybody getting hurt. She even calls for help, not only from above, but also from people around her. She phones someone; yet, no one gets there, at least not on time, before the father forces himself violently to the mother, leading the mother to take their child and leave. Research has shown that some people presume that a child is just being quiet, rather than experiencing emotional problems and considerable stress (Calder). This ignorance, increases the child’s need for isolation, elevating the emotional and psychological disturbances. Failing to recognize that a child needs help, especially in cases of domestic violence, combined with the absence of mature coping strategies of a child (compared to an adult) is what puts the child at further risk of experiencing clinical behaviors (Carlson). What is also noteworthy is that what is happening in the household is publicly seen as one of the walls of the house if made from glass, allowing everybody walking by to be able to take a look inside, see what it is all about, and hear everything. Interestingly, although there are so many people watching, listening, noticing, and talking about the proceedings in the house, no one interferes or at least try to help the arguing parents and their daughter living such a traumatic experience. Communities tend to believe that domestic abuse is a family matter and that no one should interfere in family matters. However, domestic abuse is against the law. Therefore, assaults within a family make it everyone’s business and are as much of a crime as offenses occurring outside the family. Indicatively, intimate partner violence costs more than eight billion dollars annually, in the United States (Center for Injury Prevention and Control).
Other than that; in the video clip, the girl cries and punches the walls and the door, but no one is paying any attention; not the public (whose sole focus is on what is happening in the living room where the parents quarrel and not the girl’s room) nor the parents that are too busy with their issues. In the end, what is left, is a girl waiting for the postman to bring a letter from her father; a letter that never arrives. After all is said and done, everyone’s life is moving forward except the child’s, that is always looking for the postman to bring any news from the parent that has chosen to take a different turn in life, leaving the child behind, to grow up with the leftovers of a terrible childhood.
Lindsay Lohan is well-known not only for her acting skills, but also for her personal life. She was always seen as the child that no parent would want their kid to be. From a very young age, she has been struggling with drug-related problems while her father, Michael Lohan was having problems of his own. He was involved in domestic violence with Lindsay’s mother, Dina, and was imprisoned, in May, 2005 for attempting assault and unlicensed driving (BBC NEWS). The particular video became Lindsay’s most public response to her father, who is obviously her intended audience. However, through her letter to her father, she, in fact, sends a message to her secondary audience, her fans and the people that will hear her song or watch her video, either on television or YouTube. That song seems to be her way to say that no matter what happens or what has occurred in the past, she will always wait for him to knock on her door or hear about him, and support him all the way.
In the video clip, the daughter seems to be anxious and in a bad state of mind. It has been evidenced that abused children exhibit a variety of psychological problems, including depression and anxiety (McLeer et al.). The effects persist into adolescence, which is why abused children are struggling with internalizing-related issues throughout their adulthood (Wolfe, Scott, Wekerle, & Pittman). They may also exhibit externalizing behavior problems, such as violence perpetration and delinquency (McCabe, Lucchini, Hough, Yeh, & Hazen). In Lindsay’s case, she has been having drug-related problems ever since she can remember herself. The fact that her entire life was so under society’s microscope, due to her early involvement with acting, made things worse (Billson). The public was constantly watching over her every step and the path her family was walking over the years. Perhaps, this is why the video clip shows people watching through a glass wall everything happening within the household; that is how Lindsay lived her childhood.
Domestic violence has a significant impact on the child, from many aspects. For example, children exposed to battering are always on guard and are waiting for the next violent episode to occur (Domestic Violence Roundtable). That is exactly what is happening in the girl starring in Lindsay’s video clip, who is supposed to be her sister. She opens the door of her room and with a terrified look in her eyes, she awaits for her parents’ burst, as is she knows that what will happen next is a violent event. These children never feel safe as they never know what will trigger the abuse and are always worried about their mother, themselves, their siblings (Domestic Violence Roundtable). They also feel powerless and worthless. Interestingly, the children than grow up with domestic abuse can look fine to the outside world and are expected to keep what is happening wiinthin their household a secret (Domestic Violence Roundtable). In Lindsay’s case that was not doable given the vast publicity of her life, from her early stages, which probably made things worse for her and her family to deal with their issues and, perhaps, figure things out, if there is even the slightest chance. However, her household looked really nice. They had a big TV, nice furniture, and other things that point at a family having a wealthy life even though the parents argue over whether the kids should see the father acting violently or not and the girl is crying their heart out in her room. In contrast, Lindsay’s room is dark and seems rather cold and distant; more like a bathroom, with only a few furniture, as a means to demonstrate her sadness. She wears a nice make-up and a fancy dress though and sends messages to people, in order not to expose her broken heart. Apparently, she does not want others to see what is going on inside her or make them change their mind about her being just a negative influence on their children. She is depicted as a child hurting inside; a good girl.
Through the repetition of particular phrases, such as “Daughter to father”, “I love you”, “I still want you”, “Did you ever love me?” and “Why would you have to go?”, Lindsay tries to express herself. Clearly, she both loves her father and seeks for his reassurance desperately. She wants to know whether he father loves her; if he ever loved her. In addition, she pronounces her support towards her father and even though her parents separated, she still wants to be part of her dad’s life and vice versa. It makes sense. Children want both of their parents in their life, and receiving negative support from one of the parents (in this case, the father), the child can experience more trauma symptoms, especially boys (Evans et al). What is more, children that have experienced domestic violence and are left with a single parent seem to be doing worse at school and see their academic performances drop significantly, compared to children that have both their parents in their life (New York Times). Taking that into consideration, there are also important economic factors that few have researched. It has been evidenced that abused children have considerably reduced academic achievement, hence are not as competent as other children their age. This incompetency results in reduced educational attainment, which leads to chronic unemployment and thus is a predictor of persistent poverty and recipiency (The New York Times). Also, children that grow up with a single parent, usually, lack educational advancement because the parent has to work to support the family, leaving the child unsupervised. If education advancement is the way out of poverty, the children of these families do not enough of it, which has long-term consequences for the well-being of the future family of that child (The New York Times).
That said; people tend to be judgmental of families with domestic violence and abused children. Lindsay tries to show that people should not judge her just because she is famous, and that everybody has their own obstacles in life. There have been instances when the school and the teachers can make the life of a child with a single parent miserable. For example, they implement initiatives such as “Breakfast with Dad” where each child should bring their dad at school and have breakfast with him, to children whose parents are divorced or separated and their father has nothing to do with them (Bamber). These children are stigmatized, which may be another reason they fail at school. Children want to feel they belong some place to feel safe and appreciated, and that they fit it. If they are in community that they do not feel part of, they may turn their backs on that community and stray to various other societies and groups. These groups of course, may as well succumb to illegal activities.
In the end of the music video, Lindsay Lohan shows up in the room with the glass window and sits by her family, as a means to show that family is always family, regardless of her father’s doings. Right or wrong, she will always support her father and forgive him, as long as he comes back to her. A letter from him, is enough to make things as they were before. The glass breaks, at that point, and she tries to shout her anger out towards ignorant people that watch her life like a movie. She provides the audience her simple, yet complex, story, and how domestic violence can have a detrimental effect on children that have to live violent incidents within their families. With powerful and emotional images and words charged with a plethora of sentiments, thoughts, and feelings, she shows the power of forgiveness alongside how much an abused child’s heart can bend, but not break.
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