Vickie Dailey is the author of the short story “Broken,” which was selected by emerging filmmaker Jeanette Li to serve as the basis for her short film. Come see this powerful duo and the product of their creative drives on March 23rd and Expect Empowerment.
“Broken” lay beaten and buried in a corner of my mind along with the rest of my memoir. The story came out to haunt me on occasions when something would trigger those dark days of my past. Yet, it was a story that begged to be told and the more I started to tell it, the more I needed to tell. I realized that perhaps I could make a difference by sharing this story with others. If I told what happened to me, would I make people aware of this travesty that’s all too often ignored by so many? Could I break the bonds of silence that so many victims of abuse are forced to endure?
Could I be their voice?
Something within me said yes. So I answered that call and sent “Broken” in to the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival. It was my way of saying to the world and to the abuser of my past: “Look what you did to me, and look at how I’m going to do something good with it.” I was elated when it was chosen.
Jeanette Li, my director, shared in my belief to tell this story honestly and with integrity. Re-entitling it “If You Loved Me” and putting her unique touches to the story, she gave it the gravity and depth required to take it to the next level while maintaining its essence and beauty. I truly believe when this story is seen on the big screen it will touch people, and they will take a piece of it home in their hearts. Maybe it will start a ripple effect and empower others to help victims of domestic violence. If by telling my story and, through the help of Jeanette bringing it to life, we make only one change in just one person’s life, then it’s all worth the telling.
Thus, “Empowerment” is the perfect word for our film and I give great big kudos to Jeanette for thinking of it. In her determination to empower women, she cast the perfect actors for the roles. Michael Kimmel and Marilyn Chung were excellent choices. Marilyn has an adorable quality and an innocent demeanor that I feel will make a difference with the audience as they will have more compassion for her. She embodied the role of a broken woman skillfully. Michael is a handsome young man who told me that he read the book, Why Does He Do That? to better prepare for the role and get in the mindset of his character. I talked with him about the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde traits that abusers often exhibit, relating how my abuser would grovel and beg for my forgiveness afterwards. I can’t wait to see how he pulls off the role, since I was not there for the filming of the violent scenes.
I did take part in the filming of the domestic violence center and enjoyed it immensely. What was supposed to be just a quick author cameo turned into my comforting two of the actors playing domestic violence center victims. Michelle Hlass and Shawn Collins gave solid and powerful performances that were honest and believable. Mark Meekings, the gentleman cast as the crooked police officer, even slightly resembled the police officer from my past who offered me special protection if I’d be his girlfriend.
Statistics tell us there’s a need for a story like this. DomesticViolence.org states that “one in three women have experienced or will experience domestic violence in her lifetime,” and “that every nine seconds in the United States a woman is assaulted or beaten” (domesticviolencestatistics.org). Additionally, “domestic violence is one of the most chronically underreported crimes. Only approximately one-quarter of all physical assaults, one-fifth of all rapes, and one-half of all stalkings perpetuated against females by intimate partners are reported to the police” (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, NCADV). And DomesticAbuseShelter.org states that “approximately 75% of women who are killed by their batterers are murdered when they attempt to leave or after they have left an abusive relationship”.
For both Jeanette and I, our goal is to give the abused woman a voice and to bring awareness to a subject that is all too often ignored and shoved under the rug. Instead of hiding it, we are showing the world the devastating effects of abuse and hoping to empower women.
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