Bittersweet but... That's a wrap on @sarahdaggar's #aVigilante. Time to shake this fierce woman off, though I hope I soaked up some of her badassery. This is a movie about strength (those scars are all from kicking serious ass), sacrifice, and love (the real kind). I'd like to thank the survivors of domestic violence who shared their stories with me, and helped me to understand what it means to be brave. And to the best film crew on Earth, you know how much I love you. I'm going to go cry now. ❤🎬❤ #femaledirected #femalewritten #femalerepresentin
Olivia Wilde shared a photo from the set of her forthcoming movie on Instagram, and it's intense. The movie, A Vigilante, wrapped filming this week. In the film, Wilde plays The Woman, a character who avenges survivors of domestic violence by ridding them of their abusers.
"Time to shake this fierce woman off, though I hope I soaked up some of her badassery," Wilde wrote. "This is a movie about strength (those scars are all from kicking serious ass), sacrifice, and love (the real kind)." The film is written and directed by Sarah Daggar Nickson.
"I'd like to thank the survivors of domestic violence who shared their stories with me, and helped me to understand what it means to be brave," Wilde's Insta post said. Wilde's character is likely a personification of a fantasy that many victims of domestic violence harbour, one where they can be free of the abuse they've suffered.
For many victims of abuse, the abuse doesn't stop once they've left their partner. In fact, when a woman leaves her abuser is one of the most dangerous times, and it's when they're most likely to be killed. This idea of a world without their abuser is one that will likely strike a chord with the 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men who are victims of domestic violence in their lifetimes. That statistic is just physical violence — according to the Centre For Disease Control, nearly half of all men and women in the U.S. will experience psychological aggression from a partner.
The idea behind A Vigilante may explore one extreme version of what imagined justice for domestic violence survivors might look like, but it's rooted in real circumstances: the criminal justice system all-too-often fails victims when they seek help. An ABC news segment reported that 70 percent of domestic violence calls do not end in prosecution. Not only that, for many victims who end up killing their abusers, they are doomed to spend the rest of their lives in prison for defending themselves. In California, a prison study found that 93 percent of the women who had killed their significant others were abused by them. In New York State, that number is 67 percent. In some cases, like Marissa Alexander's, she was sentenced to an extreme prison sentence for simply firing a warning shot into the ceiling to scare off her abuser, even though no one was injured. This reality makes the idea of vigilante justice seem not just appealing, but necessary.
The truth is that we need to find more ways to support survivors of domestic violence, and not just when they've left a situation. There are many reasons that people aren't able to leave, from financial need to fear that they will be harmed if they do. These challenges are compounded for more marginalised populations, like LGBTQ survivors and women of colour. And once they do manage to leave, their struggles are only just beginning. "When survivors do make the choice to leave, complications can drag on for years: custody battles, shared property, seeing each other in court," Liz Roberts, Deputy CEO and chief program officer of Safe Horizon told Refinery29. "Those steps are hard enough following any breakup; they’re 10 times harder when the abusive partner is using every tool he or she has to punish you or reassert control."
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.