Domestic Violence Education in Pop Culture: “CRIME AND PUNISHMENT” and “WAR AND PEACE”

“CRIME AND PUNISHMENT” and “WAR AND PEACE,” Roseanne, Season 5, Episodes 13 and 14 (1993)

The hit show “Roseanne” was no stranger to controversial topics, including teenage sex, unemployment, birth control, single parenting, and the average “blue collar” life in 1980s and 1990s Lanford, Illinois. The show addressed domestic violence in a two-part episode where it’s discovered that Jackie is being beaten by her boyfriend, Fisher when Darlene accidentally walks in on Jackie while she’s changing to go out. The two-part episode details the various excuses that arise when a relationship goes violent: unemployment, stress, victim blame, and economic straits. It also shows the decision-making process involved in deciding to leave an abusive relationship and features Dan, who despite any negative feelings he might have had toward Jackie at different points in the series, sets out to take care of Fisher himself and gets himself arrested. The show displayed strength, sensitivity, and a warm sense of humor injected into a topic that is literally life and death – and all the while made us think about the serious nature of the issue.

Dan: Bottom line Deej, it’s not okay to hit anyone, it’s NEVER okay to hit a woman, but it’s less not okay if you hit someone who’s hurt someone you love.
D.J: What if a woman hurts someone you love?
Dan: Are you at all interested in hearing where babies come from?


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